Moving with a cat can be difficult. They are very smart and curious creatures, but most importantly they are territorial. When you change the environment of your cat they become confused. You need to help them understand that the new territory is now their home, where they eat and get love and care. They need the time to become familiar with at least some of their new territory, and time to make to become comfortable before expanding it. If you simply bring your cat to your new home without taking the proper steps often they’ll often just run away in search of the territory that is familiar to them. Use the steps below to make sure they have as little stress as possible during the move. If you have a dog go check out these 7 tips for moving with a dog.
- Allow your cat time to get used to the carrier.
- Keep your cat’s daily routine as consistent as possible.
- Use anti-anxiety meds for skittish cats.
- Keep your cat in a closed room.
- Feed your cat a small breakfast on move day.
- Don’t open your cat’s carrier in transit.
- Cat-proof the new house.
- Keep your cat in one room.
- Slowly move the litter box to its permanent spot.
Before the Move
Introduce your cat to her carrier by leaving it out so they can explore it. You want your cat to have a positive relationship with this carrier, so place a comfy bed inside and occasionally add some catnip or treats. Later, start feeding your cat in the carrier. If your cat is reluctant to enter the carrier to eat, start by just placing his dish next to it. After a few days, put the dish just inside the carrier, right near the opening. Then, over a week or two, gradually move the dish toward the back of the carrier so your cat has to step a little further inside each day. Eventually, place the dish at the very back of the carrier so your cat must go all the way into it to eat.
Stick closely to her regular schedule for feeding, playtime and attention. A feeder with a timer can be helpful to make sure your cat eats at the same time each day.
If your cat is very skittish, nervous or easily stressed, speak to your vet about using anti-anxiety medication to make the moving process easier on her.
Movers will be going in and out of your house all day, to prevent your cat from dashing out the door while movers are moving your stuff, close her in a bathroom with food, water, a bed and a litter box. Place a sign on the door asking the movers to keep the door shut. Such as “DON’T OPEN! CAT INSIDE!” in large, red, clear writing.
To reduce the changes of your cat having an upset stomach on move day only feed your cat a very small breakfast. Your cat might be a little hungry, but she will be fine and reduce the chance of your cat throwing up.
It is easy to want to help soothe your cat especially when your cat is meowing and scratching at her carrier. But, while in transit, resist the urge to open your cat’s carrier. No matter how well behaved your cat usually is, a scared cat may try to dash out. Only open the carrier in a secure area and when absolutely necessary. Also, carry a roll of packing tape in case the carrier needs some emergency repairs along the way.
After the Move
Keep your cat safe by tucking away all electrical cords, arrange furniture in an open way to make sure cats can’t get stuck, ensure all windows have secure screens, remove all things that can be poisonous to your cat like certain houseplants and pest-control poison traps.
Immediately take your cat to a room that will remain relatively quiet. Before opening the carrier, set up your cat’s food and water dishes, litter box and bed. Place some cat treats around the room to encourage your cat to explore. Keep your cat in this one “home-base” room for the first several days in the new house. This will allow your cat to gradually get used to the sights, sounds and smells of your new home without feeling overwhelmed. Keeping your cat in one room will also make it easy for her to find her litter box, food and water. Spend time with your cat in her home-base room, at first doing low-key activities like reading or watching TV. When she begins to explore, offer your cat attention, treats and playtime. When the majority of unpacking is over, gradually give your cat access to the rest of the house, one room at a time. If it’s not possible to close doors to limit his access, closely supervise your cat during short exploration sessions.
Provide a second litter box where you’ll want to keep one permanently. Keep the box available in the home-base room for at least a few weeks. Once your cat has settled in, you can remove that box. If you don’t want to spend money on an extra litter box, you can gradually transfer it to a preferable location. To make sure your cat doesn’t lose track of where it is, move the box just a foot or so away from the home-base room and toward your preferred location each day.