Moving with a cat?


You’ve bought that new dream home or acquired that new dream job………but it’s in a new city, far from your current home.  On top of that, you have 2 dogs and 2 cats to consider in the move.  The dogs will follow you anywhere and be happy just because you’re there.  However, moving the cats can be a particularly stressful ordeal, for them as well as you. 

Although this can be difficult, it doesn’t have to be. It just takes some forethought and planning.  I have heard so many stories of people pulling into the driveway of their new home, opening the car door for the cat and never seeing the cat again. So sad.  They are frightened and just want to go back to their familiar home and neighborhood.

The first thing to consider is how to reduce the stress on the cat. If the cat has been an outdoor cat or indoor/outdoor cat, you should keep the cat in for a few days to a week before moving. To prevent the cat from running away, extra care should be given to keeping the cat confined to a private room while movers are loading household items, preferably with a companion person or other friendly pet.  Make sure the cat has the necessary water, food and litter box and that the door is kept closed.

When it comes time to physically move the cat, transport the cat in a familiar pet carrier.  If you have to buy a new pet carrier, buy it a week or two before the move.  Leave the carrier open in a place the cat normally spends time.  Inside the carrier, place some familiar things like toys, a cushion, etc.  The cat(s) will get used to seeing it and should go in and out, familiarizing itself with it and not associating it with anything negative.

Prior to the movers arriving at the new house, you should have set up a room with the cat’s familiar surroundings, such as a condo/tree, cat bed, litter box, food and water bowls and toys. A large note should be taped to the outside of the door of this room, stating “Do Not Enter”, to remind family members as well as the movers. Then, after all of the movers have left, open the door and let the cat roam around it’s new home.   It won’t take long, maybe a day or two, for the cat(s) to accept their new home.

Outside access should only be given with supervision until you are sure the cat has accepted the move and it’s new surroundings and won’t try to run back to the old house.  Even if your move is hundreds of miles from the old house, the cat doesn’t know that and may try to find it’s way back.  This is, most often, the reason people lose their cats after a move.

Consider making them “house cats”.  Outside cats typically live 1 to 5 years because of all of the dangers inherent to the outdoors.  A house cat typically lives 12 to 18 years and can live into their 20’s if properly cared for. Keep your precious companion beside you as long as you can.

Moving with a cat?