Moving with your cat: advice from an “educator”

Moving is sometimes an anxiety-provoking situation for cats, pets that are particularly attached to their environment. Daniel Filion, Mondou’s educator and partner, offers simple and effective solutions for moving with your cat and helping it make the transition to its new home.

A specialist in feline behaviour

Since it was founded in 2007, the Éduchateur initiative has been helping cat owners understand and solve their feline’s behavioural problems using a rigorous and consistent scientific approach. In partnership with the Mondou company since 2009, Mr. Filion’s foundation was born out of a lack of professional resources in feline behavior: “When Éduchateur was created, there were only two veterinary behaviorists in Quebec,” he says. In fact, the company conducts more than 300 telephone and in-person consultations per year.

In addition to providing accessible and proven solutions, Mr. Filion’s foundation aims to educate cat owners in order to reduce the number of abandonments or euthanasias. “With a team in Quebec and another in France, Éduchateur is the largest feline behaviorist firm in the world,” says Filion.

Moving with your cat

There are several effective tips to make moving your cat easier. According to Filion, one of the most important things to watch out for is the cat’s location during the move: “With all the movement and coming and going, cats can become very anxious and may try to escape from the home,” explains Filion. To avoid the worst, keep your cat in a closed room such as the bathroom during the move. Leave personal items such as litter boxes and toys with your cat, and be sure to leave a clearly marked piece of cardboard on the door of the room where the cat is staying. This way, the movers will know that the door is not to be opened.

Ensuring your cat is safely transported from the old home to the new one may ease the pet’s nervousness: “You don’t want to carry the cat in its arms or awkwardly in a cardboard box,” says the co-founder of Éduchateur. The cat should be transported in a carrier designed for this purpose. Be aware of these signs of depression in cats.

Adapting to the new home

Once you arrive at your new home, it is important to wait until all the movers have left before letting your cat walk around. Also, try to place most of your furniture where it will stay to reinforce your pet’s sense of security. “We then let the cat explore at will, but we’ll do so with treats placed throughout the house,” says Filion. That way, every time the cat turns a corner, it finds a treat.” This technique, which uses the principle of pleasant association, encourages the cat to explore its new home while feeling like it’s on familiar territory.

Finally, for cats that are used to going outside, it’s very important to wait a minimum of 3 weeks – possibly up to 3 months – before letting the animal out. “This is often the time when people are encouraged to keep their cats indoors for good, especially when we know that the life expectancy of cats is tripled when they live indoors. We also reduce our vet bill by 3 times”, explains Mr. Filion.