Cats are creatures of habit and they hate change; this is why they particularly resent moving house. Buttering the paws to prevent them going back to their old home is an old but slightly discredited trick. The best procedure is to shut the cat in a secure room with windows and fireplaces sealed to prevent escape. It can sit and watch carefully and calculatingly as all the furniture is moved into the van, knowing full well that this is not a few cases of clothes signifying a short break for a holiday. When all the furniture has been loaded, and assuming there is to be one journey only, the cat should be placed in a secure basket or cat box and taken with the family in the van or car and immediately released in an equally secure room in the new house with food, milk and water and a litter tray and kept there for around a week.
It is difficult to specify how long this period should be since cats identifying closely with their human owners will take less time to settle down than those that have enjoyed a relatively independent existence. The old rule of thumb was that a cat should be kept in its ‘prison’ in the new home for three weeks, but this may be unnecessarily long for extremely affectionate cats who believe that home is where the catfood is. Most important of all, however, is to pay-particular attention to comforting and petting the animal as a form of reassurance. This, coupled with a slightly over-generous portion of food at meal times, will perhaps encourage a reluctant acceptance of the new surroundings.