Cats are creatures of habit and they love routine. So moving to a new home can be very upsetting for cats.
But if you take the time to understand how cats view their surroundings and you take the time to prepare your cat for the move then your cat can transition to a new home easily.
If you are moving with a cat there are lots of things that you can do to make the move easier for you and for the cat so that you can both be happy in your new home.
Getting Cozy In The Carrier
When you know that you’re going to be moving you should start preparing to make your cat as comfortable as possible. Even if it seems like it’s too early to start getting things ready for your cat it isn’t. The more time you can give your cat adjust the easier the transition will be.
It doesn’t matter if you’re moving around the corner or across the country.
Start by getting your cat used to being in their carrier. If you don’t already have a roomy and inviting carrier get one. If you’re going to be flying with your cat make sure that the carrier you buy is airline approved to fit under the seat.
To get your cat used to being in the carrier start by leaving it open and setting it down in a place where the cat feels comfortable, like next to the couch or near their cat tree.
Leave it there.
Let the cat get comfortable with it. Place a cozy bed, a towel, or a tee shirt that has your scent on it inside. Your cat will sniff the carrier and examine it.
Eventually the cat will go inside and lie down. Encourage this behavior. You can leave treats or toys in there to make it even more attractive to your cat. The goal is for the cat to be totally comfortable being in the carrier.
If you’re going to be flying with your cat or moving a long distance it’s an excellent idea to leash train your cat. Take some time to get your cat used to wearing a safety harness and a leash.
When you move put the leash and harness on your cat before you put your cat in the carrier for the move. That way if something happens and your cat gets loose you can easily grab the leash and make sure that your cat doesn’t get scared and run away.
Getting The New Home Ready
It may not always be possible to get the new home ready for your cat before you move the cat (or cats).
But it will help your cat feel comfortable in the new home more quickly if you can move some of the items that they are familiar with and have scent marked to the new home so that they are already in place when the cat arrives.
Moving your cat’s cat trees, beds, and toys to the new home and putting them in the same positions that they were in can help your cat feel more secure in the new home.
For example, if you had the cat’s scratching post next to the couch at your old home put it next to the couch in your new one. Or if you always had a cat bed on top of a certain dresser before put that bed on that dresser in the new home.
It’s also a good idea to pick one small room, like a guest bathroom or laundry room, to put the cat in when you first arrive at the new home. That will give your cat a quiet place out of the way to adjust while you unpack, deal with the movers, and handle the rest of the move.
Once you have decided what room to use as a kitty room put a litterbox in there that that the cat has used before. The familiar scent will be reassuring to your cat.
You should also put some towels or blankets, a bowl of water, and a small dish of food in that room. That way it will be all set up and ready when you get to the new home with the cat.
If you can’t move your cat’s items into the home before you bring the cat there unpack them as quickly as you can.
In the meantime put out some towels, blankets, and clothing from the previous home so that your cat will smell your scent and the scent of home in the new home.
You can also spray a pheromone spray or plug in a pheromone diffuser to help calm your cat. The pheromone spray and diffuser contain the same pheromones that mother cats use to calm their kittens. Those pheromones will tell the cat that the space is a safe place.
On Moving Day
Keep in mind that on the day of the move your cat is going to be very stressed out and a little disoriented. It’s a good idea to put a puppy training pad in the bottom of the carrier in case your cat gets motion sickness or urinates in the carrier.
When you get to the new home put the carrier down in the room that you have prepared for the cat. Open the carrier but let the cat come out whenever it feels comfortable.
Don’t force it to come out of the carrier.
As you do other things the cat will most likely come out of the carrier and explore the room. Having items in the room that are familiar and smell like your cat will help the cat feel comfortable.
Keep the cat in the room until everything is moved in and the move is complete. Unpack your cat’s beds, toys, and other items first. Put them around the home. If your cat is relaxed, sleeping, or seems at ease you can open the door and let the cat explore more of the new home.
But if your cat is anxious or seems scared keep it in the small room until it seems comfortable.
Be very reassuring to your cat. Pet them and give them treats. Speak to them in a calm and reassuring manner. In no time your cat should be comfortable in the new home.
Finally, if you have an outdoor cat, here are some tips specifically for handling the challenges of moving with an outdoor cat.