Moving home with your cat!

February 2017


If you’re a cat owner you’ll understand that cats have their routines and they tend to notice if you break them!

So when moving to a new home spare a thought for your feline friends.
They don’t understand why you’re suddenly packing up their favourite cushion or chair.
Or why the new surroundings they’ve been placed in are now home.

Take a look at the tips below to help keep your cats stress free when moving house!


Preparing for the move


When you’re moving to a new home with cats, each cat will pick up a sense of change before the actual moving day. Items being packed away, unfamiliar visitors, furniture being rearranged will be just some of the things the cat will notice. Along with sensing your own stress levels being a little high, your cat could possibly become a little more stressed out itself. All of which means more attention should be given to your cat in the days, even weeks leading up to removals day.

There are two options for moving day: booking your cat into a cattery or taking them with you as you move. Which one you choose depends on your own personal preference and your cat’s character, as every cat is different.

Booking your cat into a boarding cattery

If you book your cat into a boarding cattery for a few days, you won’t have to worry about them while you move. This may be the easiest solution for both of you, but you will need to organise it well in advance and make sure your cat’s vaccinations are up to date prior to moving

Keeping your cat with you

This option requires a bit more planning. What follows is just a guide and as everyone’s circumstances are different, you may need to alter parts of it to fit your own situation and your cat’s character.

First, allocate a room in your home that can be cleared of furniture a week or two before the move, this will be your designated ‘cat room’. At the same time, decide on a room in the new home where you can put your cat when you get there. Ideally, both rooms should be out of the way so your cat can be left undisturbed for as much of the move as possible.

About a week before the big day, start getting your cat used to ‘their’ room. Pop an additional sleeping place, litter tray, cat carrier and blanket in there. You could begin feeding them here too so they become really familiar with their ‘safe place’.

On the evening before the move, move their scratching post, toys and water bowl into the room and shut them in to make sure they don’t go missing. If you have more than one cat, make sure they have separate resources if possible, to help prevent further stress or any toileting accidents.

If you know your cats don’t enjoy each other’s company, it may be better to give them separate ‘safe rooms’. You could also use a synthetic form of facial pheromones, which are available from your vet. Feliway is available as a plug in diffuser or a spray. The scent helps to create a reassuring environment and may help to reduce stress.

The Cattery

If you are taking your cat to a cattery, do this the day before if possible, so they are away from all the commotion. If they are staying at home, keep them in their room, feed them a small meal, make sure they have fresh water, clean the litter tray and shut the door. Once you are ready to leave, you can put them into their carrier and load them into the car along with all of their belongings. Your cat may be less anxious if the carrier is sprayed with the synthetic facial pheromones a few minutes before placing your cat in the carrier. If they are prone to travel sickness it is worth withholding food for three to four hours before the journey.

The new House

You must be thinking “how can I introduce the cat to this new home?”. Once you have arrived at your new home, take them to their secure room with all their familiar bits and pieces. You might also like to give them something that smells of you, like an unwashed item of clothing, to help them settle. Provide them with something to eat, a box or something to hide in and make sure they have a litter tray. Then close the door and leave your cat alone for a while – tell the removal staff and the rest of the family which room your cat is in so they don’t disturb them or accidently let them out. You may also want to tack a sign on the door.

Settling In

It is a good idea to keep your cat in their new room for a few days; it can be overwhelming to have access to the whole of the house straight away. Most cats will let you know when they are ready to venture further and it very much depends on your cat’s individual character. However, when you let them see the rest of the house, make sure that all doors, windows and cat flaps are closed – they’re not ready for the outside world yet! Make sure they always have access to their ‘safe room’ in case they feel the need to retreat.

The great outdoors

As a general guide, it should be a month before you let your cat take its first steps outside. If you have a garden, then let this be the first space it explores. Accompany and and play with your cat if possible. If you aren’t moving that far, be aware your cat could try to get back to your old address. Inform the new owners about this if you feel it’s necessary.

After following these steps, in a short time, you’ll not only be happy and settled in your lovely new home, but you’ll have a relaxed house cat also.