Cat Anxious After Moving: Helping Your Cat Adjust

Are you planning a move this year, but do you have a cat that you have to take into account? Then it is important not only to prepare yourself well, but it is also important to inform yourself well. Unfortunately, the process can sometimes be extremely slow when the cat leaves its familiar living environment and has to get used to the new territory.

How do you deal with anxious cats?

Not every cat is the same. One cat doesn't have to get used to at all, while the other cat has a lot of trouble getting used to the new environment. In general, the critters are known for not being able to handle change well. A visit to the vet is often too much for the critters themselves.

A cat likes control and when they can no longer sit safely between their familiar things, you will notice this. This can cause a lot of stress, which can cause your cat to behave very differently.

Prepare your cat for the move

A moving cat so can be very difficult. These critters are known to have an attitude and are often seen as strange creatures by people. Moving the cat itself and everything that comes with it can also be extremely stressful for you as the owner and stressful events are of course never fun.

If you don't handle your cat's move properly, it can even prevent it from persistently returning to its old home.

Temporarily letting your cat live with strange cats and several cats

Many people think that their cat is safer when it is cozy in a shelter. This of course differs per cat, but it is true that cats often enjoy themselves in a professional shelter.

When you bring the cat to a shelter, the cat can comfortably wait for the entire move. For example, during the move in the old house, the animal will not notice much of the move. Sometimes a shelter may even prove necessary. Think of a cat that has difficulty getting used to its new environment. Of course he can't use any extra stress. The cat is in a much nicer place at a shelter.

When you are finally the new residents of the new house, you can let the cat get used to it. The cat may be shocked at first when it sees the new home, but if you guide the animal well and give it the necessary attention, this should certainly work out.

Be mindful of your cat

A cat therefore likes control and that is why a cat always wants to know where it stands. These critters also feel a lot of things, so when you as the owner are stressed, your cat will sense this. So try to pay close attention to your feelings and what you radiate so that you don't confuse the animal even more.

Recognize the behavior

A cat that has to deal with sudden stress can show the following behavior:

  • Always licking his mouth
  • Excessive fur licking
  • Always lift the leg
  • Get a shudder on his back
  • Shake off
  • Vibrate
  • Panting
  • Yawn often

Other health problems

If your cat suffers from stress for a longer period of time, this can cause health problems. These can be things like:

  • Various diseases
  • Diarrhea or vomiting
  • Serious behavioral problems
  • Bald spots
  • Chewing whiskers or paws
  • Eating foreign objects

Why does a cat show deviant behavior when stressed?

When your cat lives in a protected environment, the cat is surrounded by a nice and reliable feeling. When one moves to a new living environment, it can therefore become extremely restless. You want your cat to get used to this quickly, but it is important that you give the animal enough time for this. If you do not do this, the abnormal behavior and health problems can become increasingly serious.

brown Scottish fold in brown thick-pile blanket

Moving a cat is difficult

If you see cats you will not think so, but they are very sensitive animals and this is exactly why moving these animals is so difficult. Yes, of course this does not have to be the case with every cat because there are of course still different cats with different characters, but it is generally the case that cats just get restless with change.

Do you have a shy cat or insecure cat? Then, as the owner, you should of course take this into account. A real outdoor cat, for example, can suffer less from the move than a house cat.

Doesn't such a reception cause stress?

You can safely leave your cat at a shelter.. provided it is a professional shelter, of course. The staff of a professional shelter is specialized in taking care of cats and this is often no problem for them.


The shelter will schedule an intake interview with you so that everything can be discussed properly. Furthermore, the staff also often ask you to provide a soft cotton cloth to prevent unwanted behavior. If necessary, spray some pheromones on the wipes so that the cat has familiar and natural scents with it.

Chip your cat

If you decide to take your cat to a shelter, microchipping your cat is necessary. This is mandatory at most reception centers in the Netherlands. Is your cat chipped? Then of course you don't have to worry about anything. However, it is important not to forget to pass on the new address to the vet or database.

If necessary, you can inform the new residents about this for the old home. Then they also know where they stand when your cat walks back to the old house.

Let the cat get used to it slowly

During the move, cats not only cause stress for themselves, but also for you as the owner. They probably don't care much about this because you as the owner also mess up their familiar routine.

Letting your cat get used to it is very important. This way you prevent your cat from getting scared. If your cat thinks it's all bad, it may just happen that you have to let the cat in from now on.

Make sure that all doors and windows are properly closed and that they remain closed. This way, not only can the jug not run away, but also no strange cats can enter through the openings.

You can reassure a nervous cat with small things. For example, you can put the old lying baskets, hammocks, litter boxes and toys in a room of the new home. Hide kibble dry food so your cat can hunt for it and you two can play together.

The moving day itself

You can set up a cat room yourself on the moving day and lock your cat in this room, as it were. This may sound very intense, but of course it is not at all. The room actually becomes its own room with all the nice stuff. Put a litter box in the room, give the cat food and drink and make sure there are enough toys in the room. Make sure that the doors and windows remain closed so that the cat cannot escape.

It is of course also best to move the items from the room in which you have locked your cat last. When the time comes and the stuff from the last room has to be moved, you can calmly put the cat in his crate and place it in the car. Is the new home nearby? Fortunately, you don't have to drive too far, but if you have to cover a longer distance, it is important to give your cat the necessary attention.

In the new home, it is best to unload the furniture from this last room first so that you can immediately put together a new room. This will then become your cat's temporary shelter. Do you have a pheromone spray left? Then you can use it again because the reassuring pheromones from the spray will make your cat calmer. It can also be nice if a new family member stays in the room while the cat explores its new environment.

Try to watch your cat's diet. It is important not to give your cat too much food because the stress can cause your cat to eat more and cause it to vomit. Slowly stopping this is therefore wise. Once the move is over, you can calmly let the cat get used to its new environment.

Is your cat used to everything already?

You know your cat best, so you can also feel best when your cat is used to everything. One cat is a bit faster at this while the other is hardly used to everything after 5 weeks.

Give your cat at least two weeks to get used to its new environment. A move is one of the most stressful events in his life, so of course he needs time for this. Most cats need 2 weeks, but in general vets recommend between 2 and 6 weeks.

As soon as you notice that your cats are getting used to it and everything is over, you can leave the cats outside.

When can your cat go outside?

As you have read before, you know your cat best and when you notice that it is ready, your cat can gradually become acquainted with the outside environment. Do you have a garden? Then you can open the door so that the cat can go outside at its own pace. Never force your cat to go outside and let him decide for himself. In the beginning, leave the door open so that the cat can run inside if something startles him.

Do you see many other cats in the vicinity of your house or garden? Then make sure you chase these away so you can't be confronted with this in the beginning. After all, it is not his old home and defining a new territory does take the necessary time and energy.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does a cat have to get used to a new home?

It is important to give your cat enough time to get used to it. Therefore, always give your cat at least 2 weeks to get used to the new environment.

Is moving bad for a cat?

Moving is not necessarily bad for a cat, but it can cause a lot of stress, which is of course not fun. Especially not for a cat.

Can a cat say goodbye?

Some cats do and some cats don't. So this completely depends on your cat.

How do you make a cat less anxious?

Above all, leave your frightened cat alone and provide a calm and safe place.

How long does it take for a cat to get used to it?

It often takes 2 to 6 weeks for your cat to get used to the new home and environment.