Tips for Moving When You Have Cat(s)

Moving can be hard on pets, and cats certainly present specific challenges during a move. The good news is that with some advanced planning, there’s quite a bit that you can do to help your cat get through the move as smoothly as possible.

Just as you physically prepare for your move long before the actual moving day, you can also spend that time helping prepare your cat. And after moving day, there are also steps you can take to help your cat transition to his or her new home:

  • If you have an outdoor cat, begin limiting outdoor time at least a week before the move, and keep your cat indoors only for several days before your move. Cats can get nervous around all of the boxes, and may decide to stay away from home for a few days. The last thing you need on moving day is a missing cat!
  • Before you move into your new home, be sure it’s been cleaned thoroughly, particularly if the previous owners or renters had pets. Cats are very territorial and sensitive to smells, and can get upset or even mark their territory if they smell other animals. Getting any carpets professionally cleaned can go a long way toward making your cat comfortable.
  • On moving day, keep your cat either locked in a room that the movers will empty last, or in the carrier to ensure that your cat doesn’t run outside while the moving truck is being loaded. At the new house, keep your cat in the carrier until you have a room set up for the cat – preferably the room where the litter box(es) will be. The litter box is absolutely the first thing you want your cat to investigate in your new home.
  • Just like people, all cats have different personalities. Some cats adjust to the stress of moving by becoming more affectionate. Some will prefer to be left alone while they spend time investigating every nook and cranny of their new home. Some may lose their appetite for a few days. There is a wide range of normal reactions to moving from a cat, and usually there is no need for concern. If your cat’s behavior doesn’t go back to normal after several days, though, it may be time for a trip to the veterinarian.
  • If you have an outdoor cat, wait until behavior has returned to normal before allowing any outdoor exploration. A good rule of thumb is to keep your cat indoors for at least a week after the move, allowing your cat to get used to one thing at a time.

Moving can be a stressful time for everyone, pets included. But with some advanced planning, you can make the transition easy on your cat, which will make things easier for you.