How to Make Moving Easy on Your Cat

Lisa Selvaggio
by Lisa Selvaggio
It’s time to get your move on. Before you pack up your belongings, make the move easier on your cat with these tips.

Cats are creatures of habit, so moving to a new house could be stressful. Following some simple steps can make the transition as smooth and easy as possible, as well as reduce the risk of your pet hiding, attempting to escape, excessively crying, exhibiting unwanted behaviors, or showing aggression, depression, or fear.

Before You Move:

  • Since your cat will be moving to his new home in his carrier, make him as comfortable with that carrier as possible. This can be difficult if he already has a negative association with it and tends to get stressed from merely seeing it.

    You can help make your kitty comfortable with his carrier by leaving it out in one of the rooms where your cat spends a lot of time. Place a comfortable little bed inside and leave the door open. You can even place some treats inside so your cat can find them and realize he can go into the carrier without fear. Then you can move on to actually feeding your kitty near the carrier and then inside the carrier.

Related: What Is Feline Group Scent?

  • Another step you can take involves placing your moving boxes in view a couple of weeks before you begin packing. Your kitty should get used to them, but if your pet is still nervous once you start packing, you can allow him to spend some quiet time in a room where you can close the door so he can feel safe.
  • To get your cat used to traveling in your car, place him in the carrier and sit in the car with him for a few minutes without driving. Do this for a few days, giving him a treat each time, before graduating to driving short distances and providing a reward, and then driving the distance to your new home. This could help him prepare for the ride on moving day so he won’t be as stressed.
  • Maintain a stable routine with your kitty, feeding him and playing with him at the usual times. And if you notice that your cat is becoming increasingly uneasy, consider talking to your vet about anti-anxiety remedies that will make the transition easier.
  • It’s also a great idea to purchase a collar with ID tag for your kitty if he doesn’t already have one, just in case he gets away during the move.

During the Move:

  • To reduce the risk that your kitty will suffer from stomach upset on the day of the move, only feed him a small breakfast.

Related: How to Care for an Orphaned Kitten

  • If your cat seems very stressed on moving day, you can try anti-anxiety remedies that your vet recommended, or you can give feline pheromones a try, as these may help calm your kitty down. Spray the pheromones in the carrier, in the car, and in the cat room at your new home.
  • When you arrive at your new house, place your cat in a bedroom or a bathroom with water, food, his litter box, toys, scratching post, and his bed so he doesn’t end up escaping, particularly while movers are bringing boxes and furniture into your home. Put a sign on the door so everyone knows to keep it closed.

After You’ve Moved:

  • Give your cat time to explore just one room in your new home. Simply place the carrier on the floor and open the door to let him decide when he’s ready to come out. Having his familiar food bowls and toys around will help him realize he’s safe until he’s ready to see the rest of the house.
  • Cat-proof your new house before letting your pet out of his room. You can, for example, make sure all of the window screens are secure, remove toxic plants and other potential hazards, and cover nooks where your kitty could get stuck.
  • Spend as much time as possible with your pet in his room until you’ve totally unpacked and he’s ready to check out the rest of the house. It’s a good idea to watch your cat as he explores until he’s totally comfortable.

Once everyone has settled in and you’ve moved your cat’s belongings throughout the house, he’ll begin scenting his new territory to claim it as his own, and you’ll be able to enjoy your new abode together.

Lisa Selvaggio
Lisa Selvaggio

Lisa Selvaggio is a freelance writer and editor, and our resident cats-pert, with certifications in pet nutrition and pet first aid. She enjoys producing content that helps people understand animals better so they can give their pets a safe and happy home.

More by Lisa Selvaggio