Nov 20
cat hiding in wallpaper

How To Keep Your Cat Calm When Moving House

My cat loves change. Said no one ever! Cats tend to like a predictable routine and familiar space but the reality is most cats will need to undergo a move of house at some stage in their life. So we know they won’t love it but how can we make the transition as seamless as possible? I’ve put together some steps to help, but planning is essential and it all starts a few weeks prior to the actual move.

  1. Get your kitty comfortable with the carrier
    Have it sitting out with the door open, try placing treats inside so she is tempted to go in, try feeding her meal in the carrier- starting slow next to the carrier and slowing placing the food further in over a couple of weeks. Don’t shut the cage let her wonder in and out.
  2. Routine
    Keep it the same or as consistent as possible leading up to the move, whilst packing and of course on arrival to your new abode.
  3. Make sure your fur kid cannot escape on moving day!
    This step is often forgotten, your cat knows all is not normal and fleeing might be their favoured option. Keep in a small room with food, water and litter tray and instructions on the door so everyone knows there’s a cat on the loose!
  4. Pheromones
    Feliway is a synthetic happy and calming pheromone for cats. It comes in a spray and a diffuser that plugs in to the outlet. I’d be using this on the carrier like cheap perfume! Pre, during and post move.
  5. New home
    Confine her to a quiet, smallish area in the new place initially. Open the carrier in the new spot and let her come out when she wants, keep the carrier in there. This is less stressful for your cat as they become familiar with their new space- allowing too much exploration will only be overwhelming. Preferably non carpeted, in case of inappropriate peeing or pooping in response to stress. This will be her safe spot and she should stay in here a number of days until she is showing that she is confident in this space and your unpacking is finished. Then you can slowly increase her freedom.
  6. Enrich her environment
    Plenty of spots to hide (cardboard boxes with an entry and an exit is a great trick), try cat grass for chewing. Favourite toys. You. Spend plenty of time with her, you may just sit and read, don’t put any pressure on her to come out until she’s ready.
  7. Same, Same
    Litter tray/s with the same substrate, same food bowl, same bedding, same mat, you get the idea.
  8. Medications
    If you have a very stressed or anxious cat it may be necessary to have medications prescribed by your veterinarian. These are best started pre move and really depends on the temperament of your kitty.

About The Author

Claire is a QLD graduate with 19 years experience as a neighbourhood Veterinarian in Australia and the UK. Animal lover and the founder of VetChat, born from a passion to help pet carers everywhere access trusted advice earlier, for healthier, happier pets. Grateful to be carer to her beautiful Red-dog.