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Moving house can be stressful for us and our cats. Take a look at our top tips on how to make your move hassle free.

Moving house with your cat: what to do

Moving is a really big change, and anyone with a feline friend knows they prefer routine and familiarity. Planning ahead will help to make the move smoother for you and your moggy – take a look at our video about moving home with your cat:

How to get your cat used to a new house

Moving can be overwhelming for cats. Some owners prefer to put their cat in a cattery during the actual move so they aren’t as stressed, but this is entirely down to each individual and what your cat would prefer as some can find catteries stressful. If this is something you’re considering, book your cat in from the day before your move so it’s one less thing to worry about on the day.

If you choose not to put your cat in a cattery, allocate them a room in each house. On moving day, settle them in their room. Give them a small meal and plenty of fresh water, and make sure their litter tray is fresh and clean.

When you’re ready, you can collect your cat from their room and put them in their carrier. If they get travel sick, try to avoid feeding them for around four hours before you travel.

When you get to the new house, take your cat to their new room. Make sure there are blankets and beds that have their smell on in there, and that they have access to fresh water and a clean litter tray. If they’re worried and don’t want to come out of their carrier, don’t force them. Just leave the door open and they’ll come out when they’re ready.

You should keep your cat in their room for the first few days in the new house. This will help them to settle in (and gives you a chance to unpack). When they are ready, let them explore the rest of the house at their own pace. Make sure you leave their door open when they start to go into the rest of the house so they have somewhere safe to run to if they feel overwhelmed.

You can read more about introducing your cat to new surroundings in our guide on bringing your cat home.

Moving house with an outdoor cat

If your cat is usually an outdoor cat, you might be worried about them getting confused or running away after you move.

It’s important to keep your cat indoors for a while when you move to a new house – just as you would if you were bringing them home for the first time. Around three to four weeks should be plenty.

Remember to update their microchip details with your new address, so when they do go out you’re more likely to be reunited if they get lost.

When you do let your cat out for the first time, you should:

  • let them out just before a meal – a hungry cat is less likely to stray too far
  • go outside first if they’re hesitant. Don’t force them out if they don’t want to go
  • leave the door open, even if they’ve always used a cat flap
  • start with small periods and build up. It might take them a while to get confident in their new home

Until your cat is ready for the outdoors, make sure you have plenty of litter trays in your house and clean them out regularly.

Moving house with an older cat

Older cats might struggle more with big changes and suffer with stress more than they might if they were younger. It’s important to take everything very slow with an older cat.

If you’re planning to move them on the day, put them in their room at your current house a few days before the big move to give them time to adjust to being in there. This should also mean they avoid a lot of the packing stress. Remember to sit with them often if they like company.

You should use pheromone diffusers and sprays throughout the move to help keep your cat calm. You can get wipes and sprays that are ideal for carriers and blankets, whereas a plug-in diffuser is perfect to put in their room.

When you move to the new house, follow our tips above and keep an eye on your older cat to make sure they are settling in OK. Keep an eye out for any signs of stress and give your vet a call if you think they’re unwell.

Have a check-up with your vet before the move and ask them for any advice. They can give you suggestions tailored to your pet. Don’t leave this until the day before, especially if your cat finds vet visits stressful.

Our top tips for a stress-free move

There are lots of thigs you can do to make moving with your cat as stress-free for the both of you as possible.

  1. Plan ahead. Plan your whole move before you actually come to moving. This might sound obvious, but if you’re organised and calm on the day it’ll help your cat stay calm, too.
  2. Have space for you cat. When you move, you’ll need to allocate a room at your current house and the new house for your cat to be in. This will help them feel happy and safe.
  3. Make sure they have toys and enrichment. Remember, a cat being kept to a room for a few days, or a cat used to having outside access being kept in for three weeks, may find it a bit frustrating having their space restricted. It is important to ensure you are increasing the enrichment provided for your cat during this time
  4. Get a secure carrier. To avoid any escapes, make sure you have a good cat carrier that your cat is used to and happy with. Read more on choosing a cat carrier in our guide.
  5. Use a plug-in diffuser. On the run up to the big move, all the packing and change can be stressful for cats. Try using a plug-in diffuser during this time to help keep your cat calm. You can purchase a pheromone diffuser through our partners, Ceva.
  6. Consider a cattery. You know your cat best. If you think they’d be happier in a cattery while you move, then book them in. Remember to make sure their vaccinations are up to date. Read more about vaccinations in our free guide.
  7. Help them settle in. For the first few days in your new home, it’s a good idea to keep your cat in one room for a few days as it can be overwhelming for them to have access to the whole house at first. You might want to use a plug-in diffuser at your new home, too, to help them relax into their environment. Make sure they are surrounded by things that smell familiar, such as blankets and their favourite bed.
  8. Register with a vet. If you need to change vets, you should do this in plenty of time before your move so that your new vet has all of your cat’s medical records. Read our advice on finding a good vet.
  9. Update their microchip. As soon as you’ve moved, make sure you update your cat’s microchip details in case of any escapes.

Read more tips on keeping your cat stress-free in our guide.

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