your cat safely indoors on the day of your move
and in the new house until he is used to his
by Sue Cooper
develop strong bonds with their environment so house moves
are potentially stressful. Planning ahead will
ensure that the transition from one home to another goes smoothly.
After all, this is a traumatic time for you and one less worry
would be a good thing!
the removal van arrives it is advisable to place your cat
in one room - the ideal location would be
the cat carrier, cat bed, food bowl, water bowl and litter
tray in this room and ensure the door and windows
a notice on the door so that removal men and family know
that this door should be kept shut.
- When all other rooms have been emptied, the contents of
the bedroom can be placed in the van last. Before the furniture
is removed your cat should be placed in the cat carrier
and put safely in the car to make the journey to the new
home. Follow the advice below for transporting your cat.
bedroom furniture should be the first to be installed in
the new home.
a synthetic feline facial pheromone diffuser (a plug-in
Feliway device available from your veterinary practice)
in a floor level socket in the new room where your cat will
be temporarily confined. Once
the room is ready your cat can be placed inside with his
bed, food bowl, water bowl and litter tray and the door
shut. If possible a family member can sit in the room with
your cat for a while as he explores.
your cat some food.
the removal has been completed your cat can be allowed to
investigate the rest of the house one room
at a time.
is important to remain as calm as possible to signal to
your cat that it is a safe environment.
that all external doors and windows are shut.
cautious about allowing your cat unsupervised access to
the kitchen or utility room as particularly nervous
individuals will often seek refuge in narrow gaps behind
your cat is particularly anxious it may be advisable to
place him in a cattery the day before the move and collect
the day after you are established in your new home.
your cat is an anxious traveller you may wish to speak to
your veterinary surgeon before the journey; a
mild sedative may be prescribed.
your cat as normal but ensure the mealtime is at least three
hours before travelling.
your cat in a safe container, ie ,a cat basket or carrier.
the inside of the cat carrier with synthetic feline facial
pheromones (Feliway; Ceva - available from
your veterinary surgeon) half an hour before you place your
the carrier in a seat and secure with the seat belt, in
the well behind the seat or wedged safely on the
back seat so that it cannot move around.
not transport your cat in the removal van or in the boot
of the car.
it is a long journey you may want to stop and offer water
or a chance to use a cat tray, although most cats
will not be interested.
- If it is a hot day make sure the car is well ventilated;
never leave the cat inside a hot car if you stop for a break.
your cat to settle in
your cat indoors for at least two weeks to get used to the
small frequent meals.
routines adopted in your previous house to provide continuity
- Help your cat feel secure in his new home by spreading his
scent throughout the house. Take a soft cotton cloth (or
use lightweight cotton gloves) and rub your cat gently around
the cheeks and head to
collect the scent from glands around his face. Scrape this
cloth or glove against the corners of doorways, walls and
furniture at cat height to help your cat to become familiar
with his territory as quickly as possible. Repeat this process
daily until you start to see your cat rubbing against objects.
to use the synthetic feline facial pheromone diffuser and
rotate the device throughout the house, one room at a time.
care should be taken for the permanently indoor cat as a
new environment will be potentially unsettling.
your cat outside
your cat indoors for a couple of weeks to get used to the
sure your cat has some form of identification (a collar
with a quick release section to avoid getting caught
up) with his name, address and contact phone number.
(or additionally) ask your vet to microchip your cat to
ensure he can be returned if he gets
lost. If he is already microchipped, remember to inform
the registering company of your change of address and phone
your cat's vaccinations are up to date.
fitting a cat flap for ease of access outdoors when you
are out once your cat is settled. Make
sure it is an electronically or magnetically controlled
exclusive entry system to avoid the risk of strange cats
invading your home.
away any cats if you see them in your garden, your cat will
need all the help he can get to establish
territory as the ‘new cat on the block'
your cat to the outdoors gradually by initially opening
the door and going into the garden with
he is used to a harness then it would be useful to walk
him around the garden on a lead.
carry him outside, allow him to decide if he wants to explore.
keep the door open initially so that he can escape indoors
if something frightens him.
cats with a wider experience of change generally cope well;
timid cats may take time to adapt to
the new environment and should be accompanied outside until
they build up their confidence.
your cat from returning to his old home
your new home is nearby your cat may explore when he first
goes out and find familiar routes that take him back to his
old home. It is wise to warn the new occupiers that your cat
may return and ask them to contact
you if he is seen. It is important that they do not feed him
or encourage him in any way, this will merely confuse him.
If you have moved locally it would be beneficial to keep your
cat indoors as long as possible. However, this is rarely a
practical option since those cats likely to return to previous
hunting grounds will not relish being confined for such a
long period. Follow the advice above for settling your cat
into his new home; this will help, together with the use of
both synthetic and natural scents to make the environment
seem as familiar as possible. It may take many months of retrieval
from your old home before your cat eventually settles down.
If this process appears to be distressing him, he persistently
returns to his old home or traverses busy roads to get there
it may be kinder and safer if the new occupier or a friendly
neighbour agrees to adopt him.
is never ideal to change your cat's lifestyle from outdoor
to indoor but occasionally it is necessary and
house move takes place that requires him to be confined. If
your cat spends most of his time outside
it may be kinder to re-home him. If, however, your cat spends
little time outside then it may be
for him to be kept inside in the future. Indoor cats require
extra effort from the owner to
them to encourage exercise and avoid boredom. Suggestions
to enhance an indoor cat's
- Hiding dry food around the house to provide opportunities
plenty of high vantage points and scratching posts that
the cat can climb
predatory play sessions at least once a day
owners are fortunate enough to move to a property where they
can let their cat outside for the first time. The transition
from indoor to outdoor cat, if taken
gently, will enhance your cat's emotional wellbeing and enable
him to live a more natural life.
the guidelines for letting your cat outside but accept that
the process should be gradual. Many cats, under these circumstances,
may prefer to go outside only when you are there to provide
to a smaller property
you have a multi-cat household then your cats have become
used to living with the available space of your
home. Moving to a smaller property could potentially cause
some tension between the individuals. Limit the risk of antagonism
in the new home by providing sufficient resources, such as
- Food bowls
- High resting platforms (eg. wardrobes, cupboards, shelves)
- Private hiding places (eg, under the bed, bottom of wardrobe)
house is supposed to be one of life's most stressful experiences.
By helping your cat to settle calmly and with minimum problems,
the harmony of the new home can be established that bit more
Updated November 2008