Who hates change more than people? Cats! These creatures of habit absolutely hate change. My lease was coming to an end and it was time for that dreaded thing to happen…moving. I am here to tell you how to move a cat to a new home stress free and painlessly. I am about explain how to keep cats calm during your move. Like I always say, happy cat, happy home.
Easy Does It!
The term easy does it is classic, but also a really good catch phrase when it comes to moving your cat to a new home. I really try to put myself in my cats paws, and understand just how he is wired. What he will like and dislike, it will better help ease stressful situations if I know how it will affect him.
I hate change, hate it. It’s uncomfortable, terrifying, and a pain in the cat butt. Packing, cleaning, moving vans, unloading, unpacking more cleaning…it seems like a never ending feat.
The best way to start to warm your cat up to the move, is to ease your way into it. Don’t just show up with boxes like a whirlwind and do a full upheaval of the house all in 24 hours. Prep your kitty for change.
Step 1 – The Pre-Move
How does your cat react when he or she sees their carrier being pulled out of the closet? I thought so. My advice for the pre-move is to take the cat carrier out a week prior to the move and leave the door open with one of their favorite blankets folded up as a bed inside. Let them get used to it being out and that it’s not a sign of instant panic and run for the nearest hiding spot.
Although you may be a stress ball and feel unsettled, make sure to keep your kitties routine just as structured as it usually is it.
Cats are probably the smartest animals on the planet, so they will know right away if something is “off” you can’t trick trixie! Feed your cat at the same time as usual, don’t move their dish to a new spot and especially don’t move their liter box to a new location.
Grab some empty boxes and leave them around the house before you even start to pack. My cat thought he hit the cardboard box lottery when I came home with them. He jumped inside each one to inspect it and make sure it was fit for my stuff. He slept in some boxes and jumped in and out of them. Silvio tried stuffing his big-boned body in tinier boxes, which made for great footage, don’t tell him I have black cat mail on him!
Some cat owners I know have gone to the vet if their cat is particularly skittish and got them anti-anxiety medication to help aid in their moments of stress.
I am not really an advocate of this, I would highly recommend CBD oils for cats as a soothing agent that is all natural and healthy for your kitty, and will in turn keep them more calm during the move.
The U-Haul Has Arrived
It’s moving day, and your cat senses all kinds of fear and danger. They know they’ll be shoved in the crate and taken somewhere like the vet or worse a new home! Take a deep breath, you and kitty will be just fine if you continue to follow these steps on moving a cat to a new home.
The first thing your cat will want to do is run for the hills while the front door is open with movers coming in and out. Like an inmate trying to make a jail break, kitty will be planning and plotting ways to escape.
I suggest putting your cat in a room and closing the door while the movers work on the rest of the house. I always move Uncle Sil’s water, food dish, and liter box into the room that I keep him shut off in. You may even want to warn the movers your cat is in there and to leave that door shut for the time being.
Once again I suggest keeping your kitties routine even on moving day. Feed and water your cat in the morning as you do every other morning. It will be helpful for your cat to have some food in his belly to avoid an upset tummy or as I call it “ponch”.
At this point your cat may be happy to get into his crate, because he wouldn’t want to be left behind. Who would wake up at 4 a.m. and feed him, or brush and pet and love on him. Your royalty will want to follow you to wherever his new throne is going to be moved to. If your cat puts up a fight getting into the crate, go-slow and grab some treats and pet and lure him over and then snatch him up and toss him in.
Your cat won’t be happy about being in a crate or in a car, but please leave the cat carrier door shut at all times. I know it’s tempting to want to soothe mittens when he’s wailing and drooling in his crate, but don’t. It’s prison break text book manipulation 101. Don’t fall for it.
Home Sweet New Home
You’re in! Congratulations on your new home or apartment. More importantly congratulations for moving a cat to a new home with grace and dignity! Cheers to you.
I know you’re eager to let your cat out of the crate. Pause. I can’t stress this next part enough:
Always always always set up your cat’s food and water dish or fountain, and cat box first. Consider it your kitties house-warming gift. A way for them to get acquainted with their new home and feel safe, calm and more at ease with this new transition.
Protect your furniture! I touch more upon this in my why do cats scratch the furniture article. Set up your cat’s scratching post, cat condo or cat tree by the same piece of furniture you had it next to in your previous home. Scatter your kitties favorite toys around the house as well to let them know they are home sweet new home.
The cat carrier tip: don’t just open the cat carrier door in the middle of the chaos, movers, and mania. Take your cat to a quiet room, and let that be their first introduction to the new home. Change is hard for your cat, but adding loud noises and strangers into the mix is no.
My cat Uncle Sil is not a shy guy, so he adapts rather well to new settings. I have worked hard at providing him a trustworthy living environment, so that helps him be more outgoing and social. I practice what I preach and of course follow all my own guidelines which have proven to work wonders in moving a cat to a new home.
If your cat is more timid and skittish, start off by introducing your kitty to one room. Let them get comfortable in that one room and explore and rub their scent all over it. Go room by room over the course of several days. Baby steps for your baby.
Make sure to settle yourself into that new safe room with your cat. Read a book, watch NetFilx, sip some catnip tea. This is great way for your cat to know that you live here now, and that you are comfortable here, so they should be too.
After a while your cat will get more and more comfortable and explore all the nooks and crannies that your new home has to offer. At the end of the day your cat will be so thankful you have provided them a whole new territory to mark and call their own.
Ease and Comfort of Your New Home
If you follow these tips on moving a cat to a new home I ensure you it will keep your cat calm, feline safe and happy.
Remember the three stages of the move:
- The pre-move
- The move
- Settling in
Take the whole process one step at a time, and remember easy does it! Change doesn’t have to be as scary or painful as we make it out to be. Go slow, and keep your cat comfortable, and at ease during your move. Why? Because all nine cat lives matter!
I would be happy to answer any questions you might have, leave a comment below and I will get back to you purrromptly!
Happy cat of nine tails to you!
Yours in Kitty Health,
Founder of The Cat Chronicles