Moving with Cats: Transitioning to a New Home

Once you’ve finally arrived at your new home, it’s time to start getting your cat acclimated to the new space. As overwhelming and stressful as the packing and actual drive to your new location was, there’s still an entirely unknown and potentially terrifying place to for him or her to now adjust to. Here are a few tips to help make your feline friend start feeling at home.

To start, place your cat and carrier in a secluded room of the home, somewhere that can easily be closed off and secured so that there is not going to be a lot of noise and commotion to frighten him or her. Make sure that the room is “cat proof,” and that there are no broken screens or other means of escape or potential hazards like pest poisons or loose electrical wiring. Then set up your cat’s litter and food dishes and leave the room with the carrier door open so that your cat can feel free to come out and explore the space at their leisure.

Cat in New HomeWhile you start unpacking in your new place, periodically check in on your cat to see how he or she is doing. For the first few hours, at least – and sometimes even days for particularly shy cats – keep your cat confined to the single room space. This will let them develop confidence in their surroundings before branching out into the new areas of the home. The same pheromone collar or spray that you may have used for moving can also help your kitty during this time. The soothing scents will relax your cat, making them feel more comfortable even in this new and stressful situation.

As you transition into allowing your friend back into the full apartment or house, start by encouraging your cat to relax during low-key activities like lounging in the living room or bedroom. Provide treats as your cat begins to explore new areas to encourage the exploration and make your cat feel more comfortable. As this confidence builds, you can also start to move the litter box and food and water dishes to a permanent home – just make sure your cat knows where they are.

It may still several weeks before your cat is truly comfortable in your new home. As new spaces and features are discovered, they may spark reactions from your cat. For example, the first time you use a garbage disposal the noise may freak out your feline friend, or using a ceiling fan – especially if you never had them in your prior place – may spark an instinctual fear response in your cat. Be patient, and don’t force your cat into uncomfortable situations as this can lead them to retreat into hiding. Let your cat explore on their own, and with time and encouragement from you, they’ll soon return to their former self.