A petite yet feisty cat who rules the roost and definitely calls all the shots. She may look innocent but she has a lot of attitude hiding behind those “butter wouldn’t melt” eyes! Gabby loves Dreamies, attacking rugs, chasing my feet and miaowing at 4-5am in the morning. Anything soft and fluffy is suitable to sleep on and baked beans are her favourite food to try and steal when she thinks I’m not looking.
Gabby is a rescue cat from The Mayflower Sanctuary in Bawtry. 99% of the time her temperament is placid and playful (unless you’re trying to get a tablet down her throat) and at eight years old Gabby isn’t showing any signs of slowing down. Gabby and I have been on a long adventure in the six years we’ve been together. She’s seen me go to college, uni, move house and move back home again. To say cats don’t like change and can often hold a grudge against their owners, I think I’ve fallen pretty lucky with Gabby as she still loves a cuddle at every given opportunity.
Up until around two months ago I lived with my parents and would be greeted by huge eyes, long whiskers and a sweet miaow at the top of the stairs when I got home from work. As I sat on the bottom stair to take off my shoes, Gabby would come running down the stairs to the hallway and shower me with head rubs and purrs. This was always one of the highlights of my day, so when I moved in with Kieron and left Gabby behind, it certainly wasn’t easy and life seemed quiet without the jingling of a cat collar in my ear 24/7. All of a sudden I found myself missing pussy cat cuddles before bedtime and her adorable little face greeting me every morning. Kieron had recently lost his own cat, Percy, and we had both found this hard to deal with. In a matter of weeks, we were faced with a big decision: do we move Gabby to Kieron’s house?
Any cat lover knows that moving a cat is one of the most stressful experiences they can go through. I spent many hours to-ing and fro-ing with my idea, considering every possible outcome and scenario in my head. It wasn’t a decision I took lightly and I tried to look at it from every angle to make sure Gabby was put first. Here are some of the questions I asked myself before we made our decision:
1. The road by the new house is a lot busier with faster traffic. Could Gabby still go outside?
2. Will there be any signs and smells still remaining from Percy? Would this be unsettling for her?
3. Would Gabby remain toilet trained? Stress can do funny things!
4. Would the whole experience be too stressful with new sights, sounds and smells?
4. What if Gabby doesn’t settle in?
5. Do we move her across gradually with small visits first or move everything all at once?
6. Do I need to speak to a cat expert first to see what they think?
The questions in my head were endless and it felt like mission impossible, however for all of the potential bad outcomes there were positives to go against them:
✔️ Gabby would have more company with Kieron and I.
✔️ No dogs live at Kieron’s house meaning more space for her to enjoy and fewer chances of being eaten.
✔️ A quieter lifestyle is often preferred by cats.
✔️ Gabby had dealt with change before during my time at uni and would most likely adapt quickly.
How could I make a decision for an animal? How could I make sure I was doing the best thing for Gabby rather than for myself?
In the end, the choice was taken out of my hands altogether when Gabby came home one day with a hole in her tummy. She had either gotten caught in something or (more likely) had a scrap with another cat. Gabby was acting out of character and hiding under the bed to get away from everyone which wasn’t the bright and bubbly cat we know. After a trip to the vets, it was clear that Gabby needed medication administering every morning and every night for the next three days. This was certainly a job for me to endure as Gabby runs circles around everyone else!
That night we moved Gabby’s essentials (litter tray, food, water, favourite toys, bed) to Kieron’s and got everything set up for her. Gabby waited patiently in her pet carrier whilst keeping her eyes on everything. She never made a sound and as soon as her new home was ready, we opened the door and she came straight out to inspect her new surroundings. After ten minutes of sniffing and head rubs, Gabby was quick to notice a bowl of biscuits on the floor and tucked straight in. Cue one happy little pussy cat! We gave it a week to get Gabby back to normal and finished all of her medication before Kieron and I made our final decision. It was inevitable that Gabby had settled into her new home and it felt like she had been there all along. We decided to keep Gabby with us.
It’s important to remember that all cats are different and while some can deal with change, others simply can’t. Having had Gabby for six years, I know her very well and after her trial week and past record I felt comfortable to move her into a new home. It was also important for Kieron and I to make sure we were both happy and settled with Gabby in order for this to work. Fortunately, we all get along perfectly and love being a family of three. Gabby hasn’t shown any signs of stress and loves the extra cuddles as Kieron works from home a couple of days a week. She has far more room to play and explore plus many additional cosy spots for a catnap. I think it’s fair to say that we made the best choice for Gabby and she’s loving her new home!
I hope this post helps anyone else going through the same experience as it’s not an easy decision to make. The hardest part for me was having the courage to make a decision and go for it. Even if Gabby hadn’t settled in we could have taken her back to my mum’s, however it still didn’t take the pressure off my shoulders. Here are my top tips for moving a cat to a new home:
- Gather their favourite toys, beds, blankets and other belongings. Take them to the new house if possible to introduce the new house scent to your cat gradually for a smooth transition.
- Spray the new home with a calming spray or catnip spray.
- Ensure your cat’s new home is ready before showing it to them. Food, water, litter tray and beds should all be in position ready for your cat to use.
- Make sure you feel calm and collected so your cat doesn’t enter the new home in a stressful environment. Keeping the surroundings quiet will help your cat to feel safe and secure.
- Make a couple of bolt holes for your cat to hide in. There are some great cat beds available at Pets At Home and other stores that provide the perfect hidey-hole.
- Show your cat where the litter tray is. Your cat may already be feeling stressed and nervous, therefore it’s a pretty crucial part of their new home at this stage!
Have you moved house with your cat? How did it go? I’d love to hear all about it as I’ll have to do it all again one day! More cat tales to follow soon to see how Gabby’s new routine develops.