How to Move with Cats

How to Move with Cats: Advice for Cat Owners

Moving with cats can indeed present a unique set of challenges, particularly because of their profound bond with their familiar environment. Changes associated with a move can lead to stress and anxiety for our feline companions. However, with careful planning and thoughtful execution, you can successfully introduce your cat to a new home. This comprehensive guide will delve into practical strategies, providing cat owners with the necessary tools to ensure a successful and minimally stressful move with cats.

Top Tips on How to Move with Cats

A grey cat laying on a grey bed

Cats are naturally fiercely protective and extremely bonded to their surroundings.

Cats, by nature, are highly territorial creatures with a strong bond to their surroundings. This affinity isn’t just about physical space; it’s also about the scents, sounds, and routines associated with it. They have specific hiding spots, perching areas, and familiar paths that provide them with a sense of comfort and security. Disrupting this established territorial order by introducing a new environment can understandably cause a great deal of stress for your feline friend.

Changes in surroundings, especially when moving long-distance with your cat, aren’t just unfamiliar but can be perceived as potential threats by your pet. In such a new, distant setting, every aspect is uncharted territory – the sights, smells, and sounds are all different and could potentially harbor dangers. This unfamiliarity can strain your cat, triggering a range of spontaneous reactions from mild unease to full-blown anxiety, manifesting in behavioral changes. It is essential to keep this perspective in mind when planning to move with cats.

Pre-Move Preparations

A smiling woman holding a cat in her hands.

Before moving, create a safe space for your cat in your new house.

One crucial pre-move preparation is getting your cat used to the travel carrier. Many cats associate carriers with negative experiences like visits to the vet. Begin the habituation process weeks or even months before the move. Place the carrier in your cat’s favorite spot, leave the door open, and occasionally place treats or toys inside. This process transforms the carrier from a ‘scary box’ into a familiar and safe space. In time, your cat will start entering voluntarily, making the moving day experience less stressful.

Before embarking on the move:

  • Ensure your cat is in good health as part of your overall moving budget.
  • Schedule a visit to the vet for a complete check-up; this is particularly important for older cats or those with existing health conditions, as stress from moving can exacerbate these issues.
  • Also, focus on preparing a budget for a pet travel kit, including essentials like food, water, a litter box, spare litter, familiar blankets, and favorite toys.
  • If feasible and within your budget, set up a safe space for your cat at your new home beforehand.
  • This space, equipped with familiar objects like your cat’s bed and toys, will serve as a sanctuary amidst unfamiliar surroundings.

Moving Day: How to Ease the Stress for Your Cat

On the day of the move, it’s advisable to keep your cat in a quiet and secure area away from the hustle and bustle. This might be a small room or the bathroom, with the door shut and a sign reminding others to keep it closed. Inside this haven, make sure your cat has access to their carrier, water, food, and litter box. This environment shields your cat from the distress of seeing familiar items being removed and strangers coming in and out of the house.

Maintaining a semblance of normality on a moving day can do wonders for your cat’s anxiety. Stick to their regular feeding schedule and make time for play or cuddle sessions amid the chaos. This will reassure your cat that their needs will still be met despite the changes. Additionally, consider using cat-calming products such as pheromone sprays, diffusers, or collars. These synthetic feline facial pheromones can promote a sense of calm and security in your cat during this stressful time.

Settling into New Home: Tips for Helping Your Cat Adjust

A brown cat sitting in a box.

Patience is key when you prepare for a move with cats.

Once you’ve moved into the new home, gradually introducing your cat to its new environment is crucial. Start by keeping them in their safe room with familiar items for a few days, allowing them to adjust at their own pace. Gradually introduce them to the rest of the house one room at a time, monitoring their reactions. Remember, patience is key, and every cat will adapt at their speed.

Maintaining familiar routines can significantly help your cat adjust. Stick to the same feeding, play, and cuddle sessions as before. This sense of routine will offer comfort and stability. If your cat is used to outdoor access, be very cautious. It’s best to keep them indoors for a few weeks to establish the new home as their secure base. Once you begin to let them outside, accompany them until you’re confident they’re comfortable in their new outdoor environment.

When to Seek Professional Help

Whether you’re a seasoned pet parent or a first-time cat owner, it’s essential to be vigilant during the process of a move. Cats might exhibit signs of prolonged distress such as persistent hiding, loss of appetite, excessive vocalization, aggressive behavior, or litter box use issues. Should your cat display any of these signs for an extended period, it becomes crucial to seek professional help. Consult your vet or a certified animal behaviorist who can provide strategies to facilitate your cat’s transition and safeguard its well-being in the new home.


To successfully move with cats, you need a comprehensive plan. This includes understanding their perspective, preparing in advance, providing comfort on a moving day, helping them adjust to the new home, and recognizing when professional help is needed. Remember, patience is key throughout this process. We encourage you to share your experiences and additional tips for moving with cats in the comments section below.




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