Moving house with your cat

Moving house is stressful for any family – if you have a cat, there are even more things to worry about. However, good planning decreases the chances of anything going wrong.

Planning ahead

The following advice will help you to plan:

  • One option is to book your cat into a cattery while you move
  • Alternatively, a week before moving day, empty one room; familiarise your cat with this room
  • Get your cat microchipped/update her contact information
  • Have a new collar tag made
  • Find a cat carrier
  • Find and register with the Healthy Pet Club practice closest to your new house
  • Consider buying a pheromone diffuser and/or spray to use in your cat’s room/on the carrier.

Moving day

  • Place the new tag onto your cat’s collar
  • So that she can’t stray, put her in her designated room the night before the move with her water, bed, litter and toys
    • Close the windows, put a sign on the door and/or lock it
  • In the morning, feed her breakfast – but not too close to departure time
  • Line the carrier with something absorbent, put your cat into it - check out our blog on how to get your cat in a carry case -, and secure it in your car
  • If the journey is long, stop periodically to offer food and water; she may also need to use the litter tray – make sure she remains secure at this time
  • Ensure she doesn’t get too hot
  • Never leave her unattended in the car.

Once in your new home

  • Secure one room (windows closed, door sign, etc.)
  • Put your cat in this room with:
    • Food
    • Water
    • Toys
    • Bed
    • Scratching post
    • Unwashed item of your clothing
    • Box to hide in
    • Litter tray
  • Once the movers have gone, close all windows, doors and cat flaps; let your cat out to explore
  • Rub a cloth on her face; dab it at ‘cat height’ around the house to mark the house with her scent
  • A pheromone diffuser may also help her to relax
  • Initially, feed her small, frequent meals; otherwise, stick to her regular routine
  • If you haven’t moved far, ask the buyers of your old house to call you if your cat returns
    • Ask them not to feed her.

Letting your cat go outside

  • Don’t let her outside for at least 2 weeks
  • Before she goes out, fit her collar/tag
  • Choose a day when you aren’t going out
  • Don’t give her breakfast
  • Let her make her own way out; leave the door open
  • Feed her immediately when she comes home
  • Only let her out once/day, when she is hungry, for the first 2 weeks.

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