How to Relocate Your Cat to a New Home


Moving to a new home can be an exciting event, but the process can also cause much stress and anxiety to everyone involved, including household pets. Cats, especially, would be quite difficult to relocate. They are territorial by nature and aren’t easily adaptable to change. It’s not uncommon for cats to run away or disappear as soon as they’ve moved into a new home as they tend to wander off in such situations in search of a much more familiar environment. It is, however, possible to relocate your cat to a new home, with a little care and preparation on your part.

Before Moving to the New House

1. Update your cat’s identification tag.

Once it’s been established that you’re moving to a new house, update your pet cats’ identification collar tags of the new home address. Include your mobile phone number as well. Attach the updated tags to your pet’s collar before moving day so that you’re prepared in case he sees an opportunity to escape and makes a run for it. If your cat has been microchipped, have the microchipping company update your pets’ details on the database.


2. Get him comfortable in a carrier.

Relocating your cat to a new home would be a lot easier using a cat carrier. It’s getting your cat comfortable enough to stay in a carrier that would be the tricky part. Days before the big move, introduce the cat carrier to your pet by feeding him near the open carrier and putting his toys and blankets inside. Steadily offer treats near, on top of, and inside the carrier until he gets comfortable enough to take his meals inside.


3. Keep him in a “safe room.”

Weeks or days before the move, your house would be a busy place, with the movers and family members moving around and about. It would help to reduce your cat’s stress by placing him in a “safe room” where no one is allowed to enter or disturb until the final boxes and furniture have been removed from the house. You may empty this room ahead of time before the movers arrive. Place the cat carrier in the room, some familiar toys, his litter box, and a couple of boxes he could play with. Make sure that the room is properly ventilated and the windows securely closed.


4. Plan transport arrangements.

A car-safe cat carrier would be necessary for moving an outdoor or an indoor cat to a new home. Before moving day, your cat should be familiar and comfortable enough with its carrier that he can sit calmly inside while in the car on your way to your new home.  If your cat is highly anxious, your vet may be able to prescribe a mild sedative. Consult him a few days before moving day to see if it’s needed.


5. Cat-proof your new home.

Before you transport the cat, you should first ensure that your new home would be a safe and secure place to keep your pet cat. You’d want to make your cat feel at home as soon as possible, so check for any corners where he might get stuck or objects lying around that may be harmful. Close windows and check for any openings big enough for your cat to squeeze through. You can prepare a separate room that would serve as the “introduction room” to the house before the cat is allowed to roam on its own.

After Moving to the New House

1. Keep your cat in an “introduction room.”

When moving an outdoor or indoor cat to a new home, keep him in a safe room for at least a week after the move before allowing him to explore outside. Get the room ready before the cat’s arrival with familiar items like food and water bowls, toys, blankets, and litter box. On moving day, place the cat carrier inside the room with the door open to let the cat get used to the new surroundings. Don’t allow him out of the safe room until after the movers have gone. When you’ve properly settled in, you can let the cat venture out of the room and get to know the new house one room at a time. You may consider cat pheromone sprays or dispensers to help ease the transition.


2. Stick to your normal routine.

Do your best to stick to your cat’s regular feeding and playtimes to keep a sense of normalcy. During the moving period, you may be kept busy unpacking, organizing stuff, and running on errands. It’s important that you continue giving your cat the same amount of attention he was given before the move.


3. Allow for supervised outdoor time.

A week after you’ve moved to a new house, you may allow an outdoor cat to explore the yard and the neighborhood under close supervision. It’s easier if your cat has been leash-trained. If not, learn how to walk your cat on a leash with these cat leash training tips. Don’t allow your cat to go out alone within the first week. Only let him out on his own if you sense that your pet has formed a sort of territorial bond with the new house. When the right time comes, it would be better to not feed him before he goes so he comes back immediately when he gets hungry.


4. Be generous with meals and treats.

To establish the new house as cat territory, your pet should see it as a steady “source of food.” Serve him small meals several times a day. This would help him more easily associate the new home with meal times. One to two weeks after the move, before allowing your outdoor cat to venture out, let it fast for 8-12 hours before it goes out. 


5. Talk to occupants of your old home.

Relocated cats have a huge tendency to try to and escape to find their way back to their old home, especially if it’s close by. Call the new occupants and ask that they refrain from feeding your cat or giving it any attention.  Even old neighbors who used to talk to and feed your cat should behave the same way to discourage your cat from coming back.

 Here is a step by step infographic to understand better how to move with cats 

Getting a cat used to a new home can be quite tricky and it definitely takes some time. But whether you’re moving an indoor cat or an outdoor cat to a new home, follow these steps to make the process easier and faster, for the both of you. Also, remember to stay close to your cat throughout the transition period. Shower it with love and attention to let it know that the new house is as safe and that it’s home.


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