OK, you’ve moved to your new home; now what to do with the cat?

  • First, make sure you cat-proof the new house. Tuck away electrical cords, plug up nooks where a cat could get stuck, make sure that all windows have secure screens and confirm that no pest-control poison traps have been left anywhere in the house. Immediately take your cat to a room that will remain relatively quiet. Before opening the carrier, set up your cat’s food and water dishes, litter box and bed. Place some cat treats around the room to encourage your cat to explore.
  • Keep your cat in this “home-base” room for his first several days in the new house. This will allow him to gradually get used to the sights, sounds and smells of his new home without feeling overwhelmed. Keeping your cat in one room will also make it easy for him to find his litter box, food and water.
  • Spend time with your cat in his home-base room, at first doing low-key activities like reading or watching TV. When he begins to explore, offer your cat attention, treats and playtime.
  • When the flurry of unpacking is over, gradually give your cat access to the rest of the house, one room at a time. If it’s not possible to close doors to limit his access, closely supervise your cat during short exploration sessions.
  • Provide a second litter box where you’ll want to keep one permanently. Keep the box available in the home-base room for at least a few weeks. Once your cat has settled in, you can remove that box. Alternatively, you can keep the home-base litter box but gradually transfer it to a preferable location.

A major worry when moving with a cat is what will happen when they first venture outside their new home. There are never any guarantees that a cat will not decide to try and find his way back home, but you can reduce this happening:

  • Try and keep your cat inside for the first three weeks. This is not always possible and some cats adjust to their new surroundings much quicker than others. Only you as its owner will recognize if your cat is relaxed enough in the new home to allow them to go outside for the first time.
  • Let them out just before meal times, and then you can call them back with their favorite food.
  • Go outside with your cat and stay with them for a while. This will help your cat feel secure. If your cat doesn’t want to follow you out, do not force them to go.
  • Leave the door open so that your cat can return to the house when they want to. It might be a bit scary out there at first.
  • Keep the first few times they go out short. This will build up the bond to the new home.

Always make sure your cat is wearing a tag on its collar with your name and phone number. Check the rules in your new city regarding whether your cat needs to have a license and/or rabies vaccination and whether they must wear those tags on their collar. You may wish to look into a microchip for kitty as well.

How about our readers? Any tips for moving a cat to a new home? Have a great photo of your cat moving?

Again, thanks to WEBMD/Pets for the great cat tips!