Cats are territorial creatures – the familiar nooks and crannies of the home give them a sense of comfort and security. Change can be stressful for cats, especially a shift in their environment. Because of this, moving house with your cat can be stressful for both of you. Below, Cat in a Flat gives our advice on how to manage this difficult time for your kitty.

Here are a few tips to ensure a smooth move to a new home with your cat.

1. Pack a kitty bag

Before moving home, gather together a collection of your cat’s favourite things and put them in an easy-to-find bag. That way, you can unpack them straight after the move and fill your new home with items your cat will find familiar and comforting. Cats will mark their territory, where they are the most comfortable, with their scent. That’s why your kitty will rub against furniture – and your legs! Having some items that smell of their old home immediately available should help reassure them they are safe.

It’s also a good idea to put your cat’s carry case out in a prominent place in the home a few weeks before the move. Most cats hate being confined and associate their case with stressful times like going to the vet. Placing the case in a neutral zone before moving home should help familiarise your cat with the case so it doesn’t seem like such a threat.

2. Secure your cat while the home move takes place

While the move is happening, put your cat in a secure room away from the commotion. Try and find Mr Whiskers a quiet, safe spot before you start moving furniture and the movers arrive. Tell your movers in advance that you’re moving with a cat and not to disturb their location. Unsettled cats might try and run away or hide so safely securing your cat is essential, whether they are an indoor or outdoor cat. Most cats also don’t like spending time in their carrier case, so a quiet room is an ideal secure location if you have space. Keep a collection of items familiar to your cat in the room, along with a litter tray, food and water.

Moving home with a cat

3. Keep your cat safe during the move

Most cats will be used to a short trip in a car from trips to the vets. If your cat gets travel sick, then restrict their food intake for a few hours before you set off. However, if you’re moving a long way and spending hours and hours in transit, then you might need to make special provisions for your cat. Talk to your vet on the best course of action if you are worried about travel times.  

Important: Never, ever let your cat loose in a moving vehicle as this can lead to accidents. Secure your cat’s travel case in the vehicle with a seat belt or by placing it in the footwell if there’s enough ventilation. Never leave your cat in a car, even in mild weather vehicles can quickly become extremely hot. 

4. Find a quiet room for your cat in your new home

When moving home with your cat, the first thing to do on the other side is to find a quiet room. Place your kitty in the room with her favourite toys, a worn item of your clothing and a calming Feliway Diffuser. Keep the door closed and let the familiar scents from the items in the kitty bag help keep your cat calm while you lug the furniture in. Ideally, you should keep your cat in this room for a few days to allow them to get used to their new environment. Try to unpack as much as you can before letting your kitty out into their new home. 

5. Update your cats microchip or tag

When moving home with your cat, update your cat’s microchip or tag information with your new address as soon as possible. Cat owners know how some kitties are secret escape artists. So even if you aren’t planning to let Mr Whiskers outside, update the information immediately. If your cat isn’t currently chipped or tagged, make sure to get this done before the move.

When moving home with your cat, keep as much as possible the same
When moving home with your cat, keep as much as possible the same

6. Let your cat explore their new home

Every cat is unique and will adjust to moving to a new home differently. Give them space and time to explore their new environment in their own way, whether that means running from room to room, or hiding under the bed for a few days. Maintain your cat’s routine as much as possible, and keep using the same litter, food and scratching post to make as much feel as familiar as possible. Make sure you reserve enough time to spend with your cat, including cuddle and playtime. Pay attention to your cat’s body language to see how they are coping. If they still seem nervous, give them the space they need to get comfortable.

7. Keep your cat indoors

After moving, keep your cat indoors for at least two weeks so that she is sure of her new home. When you’re ready to let your cat out for the first time, always stay nearby and do it just before feeding. If she’s hungry, you should be able to entice her back inside with tasty treats.

8. New neighbourhood, new cat sitters

As you familiarize yourself with your new neighbourhood, why not find out about local pet care services and cat sitters? It’s a great way to get to know your neighbours – the love for cats can be an easy subject to bond over.

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For more information on why you might need to book a cat sitter, read Cat in a Flat’s blog here

Some useful links when moving with your cat

https://www.purina.co.uk/cats/behaviour-and-training/moving-and-travelling/moving-house-with-your-cat

https://icatcare.org/advice/moving-house-with-your-cat/

https://www.cats.org.uk/help-and-advice/home-and-environment/moving-home-with-your-cat