Several million families move to new homes every year, and though I do not subscribe to the view that cats care for their homes more than their owners, they do become very attached to their surroundings and finding themselves in an unknown place can prove a disturbing or alarming experience.
Cats, with that uncanny sixth sense of theirs, usually know that all is not as usual from the day that you first start your packing; they may even complicate matters, if given the chance, by disappearing for a few days as if trying to delay your careful plans, so try not to alter puss’s routine, and keep him under close surveillance at this time.
On moving day, give puss a sedative, obtained beforehand from your veterinary surgeon, or your local People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals. Place the cat in a basket, or other suitable container, with a soft rug in the bottom and sufficient ventilation, and put the basket in a quiet place, away from the noise and the bustle.
On arrival at the new house, again place the cat, still in its basket, in a quiet spot. When the bustle has died down, release the cat into a secure room, give it a meal and provide it with a sanitary tray. It should be kept indoors for a few days, being allowed to wander round the house, and become familiar with its new surroundings, and reassured that although it is in a different place, the people and household objects are the same.
There has long been an old wives’ tale that, if you butter a cat’s feet, it will settle in a new home; the theory being that, the fastidious cat, intent on licking its paws clean, will become oblivious to its surroundings. Try it, if you like!
What you should also do is purchase an elasticated cat collar. Some folk fear that, if the cat gets caught up in a branch, the wearing of a collar may cause strangulation, but the risk is negligible, for the elastic stretches sufficiently to free puss, or dislodge the collar itself. The benefit outweighs the danger, for an identification cylinder can be attached which unscrews to allow insertion of a slip with your name and telephone number – invaluable if puss should get lost or stray. The slip generally has a print-out of the words: ‘Reward offered’. How do you value the return of a much loved puss? I always write the word: GENEROUS!