If you own a cat, you may know that our feline friends are not fond of change.  Unfortunately, we can’t always give them the predictable lives they love, especially when it comes time to move to a new home.  This is a HUGE change for everyone, and it can be incredibly stressful on your cat, so it’s essential that you make your move with intention, and follow a plan.

Pre-move Preparations:

  • Bring out the carrier, and allow your cat to get used to it well before you start the moving process.  Try leaving it sitting out with the door open, with an inviting bed and some cat treats inside to encourage your kitty to enter it willingly.  Also try feeding your cat exclusively in the carrier.
  • Bring out the moving boxes a couple weeks before packing.  This allows your cat to become used to their presence, and will result in a calmer kitty come packing day.
  • Keep to a routine.  In the days prior to the move, try to maintain a feeding routine, this will be comforting to your cat.
  • Talk to your vet about anti-anxiety medication if you feel like your cat is easily stressed or nervous.

During the Move:

  • When the movers are loading up your belongings, close your cat in a quiet room with food, water, a bed and a litter box to prevent it from running out the door.
  • Make your cat’s breakfast a small one on moving day to prevent an upset stomach.
  • Keep your cat in his or her carrier while in transit, and only open the carrier when absolutely necessary.  You may want to soothe your cat during the journey, but they may try to dash out if they’re frightened.
  • Bring packing tape along to ensure that you’re prepared if the carrier needs any emergency repairs.

Settle In:

  • Cat-proof the new house by: tucking away electrical cords, plugging up nooks where your cat could get stuck, check all windows for secure screens, check for poisonous houseplants or pest-control poison left in the house.
  • Take your cat to a quiet room and set up your cat’s food and water dishes, litter box and bed before you open the carrier.  
  • Think about keeping your cat in this quiet room if possible for the first few days to allow him or her to get used to the sounds, smells and feel of the new place gradually.  Remember to spend time with your cat in this room to encourage him to explore.

Following this basic plan will not only prevent your cat from unnecessary trauma, but will also prevent stress-induced behaviors that can make a mess in your new home!