Cats can be very territorial, so when you move house with a cat, it can make them feel very unsettled. If they are allowed outside, they may even try to return to their old homes. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to make moving with a cat less stressful, for everyone involved.
Are you ready to move house with a cat?
Your cat is likely to be upset by all the activity involved in packing up your things and moving them out of the house. You might want to consider sending him/her away for a few days while you get on with the move, to a cattery or to the home of a friend. If this is not possible, perhaps you can confine your cat to one room while removals are going on. Make sure that everyone in the house knows not to let the cat out of the room. If he escapes while a lot of activity is going on, he might panic, and hide or run away. Either lock the door to the room or put a sign on the door warning people to keep it closed.
You might have noticed that cats rub their heads against things when they feel safe and relaxed. They are transferring scents known as pheromones, which humans can’t detect, to their surroundings. When you move house with a cat, you can help your cat to settle into a new home by using synthetic pheromone sprays and plug-in scent diffusers. Ask your vet about these. They work best if you use them in your old home for a few months before you move, and then carry on using them in the new one.
Settling into a new home
Once at your new home, restrict your cat to one or two rooms to begin with, to give him/her a chance to settle in. Put your cat’s bed, food and water bowls and any other familiar items you can think of in there so that he/she can recognise this as “home”. Once your cat seems relaxed and happy, you can gradually let them explore the rest of the house. Similarly, once they are relaxed you may want to upgrade some of your pet items. You should check out our pet water fountains to see if any would match the new decor of your home.
If your cat normally goes outside, you will need to keep him/her indoors at
your new home for a few weeks. Once they seem settled inside, which may take up to a month, you can try letting them outside. It’s a good idea to do this on a day when you going to be at home, and it’s probably best to do it in the morning, before feeding them, so that they are likely to come back indoors after a short time, for their food.
No going back!
If your new home is quite close to your old one, it might be a good idea to warn the people who move in there that your cat may turn up at their house. Ask them not to feed your cat or let her/him in. This will just make the transition to a new home more difficult.
So finally… Good luck with your move. We are sure that if you take the right measures, your cat will grow to love your new home. Please try your hardest to make the transition as calm as possible to avoid future issues with your cat.