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Lessons from Your Cat: What Your Pet Can Teach You about Stress-Free Moving

Est. read time: 5 min.

No matter how much you prepare, moving is one of the most stressful things—for you and your pet.

You’ll have paperwork, finances, work, and packing to juggle, not to mention worrying about how your cat will adjust. Instead of stressing out and getting overwhelmed by your to-do list, take a few lessons from your wise little kitty. Thinking like a cat might just help you realize stress-free moving.

Lesson 1:  Be lazy (sometimes).

As moving day approaches, deciding what to pack up and what to leave out (so you can keep using your house and going to work) can be frustrating. "What clothes will I want to wear this week so I can pack the rest of them?" or "Where are all the towels? Did you just pack them all up?" Perhaps it would be easier to do as your cat prefers: procrastinate.

Who better than your cat to give you a lesson on laziness? Stop all that wrapping and packing and taping, and just let a few things be. Instead of packing up every last thing in each room, leave out a few things that will keep you sane and comfortable in your last days in your old house—and do the same for your cat. Leave Kitty's bedding, food and water bowls, litter box, and a few favorite toys in their usual places, to be packed last. It will make both of you feel calmer during the transition.

Lesson 2:  Curl up and chill out.

Moving isn't easy. You’re going to be busy all day, everyday—for weeks. You'll be sore from bending and lifting, and the general chaos around you will make it hard to think.

With that in mind, on your first night in your new home, take another lesson from your feline guide. Rather than unpacking ‘til you drop, pick one more box, get it done, then stop. Plug in the TV, order takeout, unbury the couch, and give your cat a lap. Take some time off your feet and enjoy your new spot. Not only will it reassure Kitty that things can and will go back to normal, but it will also give you a much-needed break. The boxes will still be there in the morning, so take a load off and do as your cat would.

Lesson 3:  Demand attention.

Whether it’s 4am or 4pm, when your cat needs something, he'll make sure you’re aware of it. Cold-nosed nudges, playful swats, and ear-piercing meows; your cat knows how to get your attention.

Moving is a lot of work and many tasks are hard to do alone. While it's never easy to ask someone to help with an unpleasant chore, channel your inner cat and do what you can to rally the troops. Call up your friends, call in your favors, or make new friends (free pizza!), and get things done. They might not know where you want each of your tchotchkes, or how you organize your books (categorical? alphabetical?), but they will be able to help you lift your dresser, unwrap dishes, and a million other tasks that need to get done. So take a hint from your cat, and ask for help when you need it.

Lesson 4:  Get comfortable anywhere.

One of cats’ most charming and enviable traits is their ability to curl up and sleep pretty much anywhere. A box, a bag, your basket of clean laundry—you name it, it can become a cozy cat bed.

Follow your cat’s lead for stress-free moving and learn to adapt, no matter where you end up. They may not like change, but they can certainly make the best of it. If you’ve sacrificed a larger home for a better location (or a cool loft in the city for a better school district for the kiddos in the 'burbs), embrace the unique charms of your new home and 'hood. Home isn’t just about where you live; it's about who you share your life with, and that includes your cat!

Lesson 5:  Have fun with it.

Now comes the long process of settling in. You're busy pulling things out of boxes, unwrapping them, and tossing newsprint aside. You try to find the perfect place for each thing and get as much done as possible each day. While you're immersed in the process of centering that painting over the couch or scouring the Internet for solutions to your layout problems, ask yourself, what would Kitty do?

Kitty is busy hiding in the forest of packing materials that coat the floor and popping out of yet another emptied box. Let your silly kitty remind you to enjoy your new home and that it doesn't matter if your house doesn't look perfect the first time around. It may take months to get things right, but that doesn't mean you can't have fun along the way.

Your cat may never help you pay the mortgage or unpack boxes, but Kitty might still be a big help during your move. Apply these lessons from the feline behavioral manual to get through moving with a lot less stress.