Moving with cats? The best tips

Are you moving soon with cats? A move is usually fun because you are entering a new chapter in your life, but unfortunately a move can also cause a lot of stress. You have to arrange everything first! Matters related to the old home, matters related to the new home, your personal matters, but also those of your family or pets.

Why is your cat stressed during the move?

As you have read before, it is possible that your pet can handle stress, but if this is not the case, this is of course very annoying. Not only for the pet, but also for the owners.

Cats can experience stress during a move, because they are animals that like control. It is in their nature to want to have some control over situations. Even if it's just their feeling. If your pet can't do this or even just has the feeling that he can't, this can cause enormous stress. Also others moving pets requires a special approach.

Changes and unpredictable reactions

A pet therefore wants to know where it stands. Therefore, always be predictable in your response. Even during your move when you experience a lot of stress yourself. When you as owner are stressed, your pet can sense this and take over this feeling. Constantly changing reactions or ambiguity can confuse your pet, so pay close attention to this. This way the cat always knows what to do.. when he doesn't remember this it can go wrong.

Recognize stress in your cat

You can recognize a cat that is experiencing (sudden) stress by:

  • He keeps licking his mouth
  • He always has his paw
  • He gets a shudder through his back
  • He shakes himself off
  • He's going to shake
  • He's panting
  • He yawns more often

When your pet experiences long-term stress, it can also cause other problems such as:

  • Illnesses, such as diarrhea or vomiting
  • Behavioral problems
  • Bald spots due to excessive licking of the fur
  • Abnormal behavior such as chewing on their whiskers or paws. Eating foreign objects can also occur.
Free Box Cute photo and picture

Why does a cat show deviant behavior?

The abnormal behavior is a reaction to the stress your cat is experiencing. Exhibiting this type of behavior releases opioids that calm your cat down. With this, a cat ensures that it can still calm down a bit despite the situation. However, it is unfortunately true that this can be quite addictive. This allows the deviant behavior to worsen over time.

Preparing your cat for the move

Moving a cat in particular can be very difficult. Not necessarily moving the cat itself, but everything that comes with it. Cats are super sweet pets, but when they don't understand stressful events, they can become less fun. When a cat experiences too much stress because it has to leave its old territory, it can even prevent the cat from running away! It is really very important to properly handle a move with cats and cats.

Of course, not every cat is the same. One cat can handle anything, but the other can be high in the tree with one small tap. In general, stress in cats is a normal reaction to exciting events or change. This can even be a visit to the vet or the birth of a new family member. Stress in cats can be short-lived, but unfortunately some cats can also suffer from this for a longer period of time. When this continues, it is very unhealthy.

Make sure your cat can get used to the transport basket or crate well in advance. You can start playing with the basket and cat a few weeks in advance. For example, you can put kibble in the basket so that the cat can find it. If you have previously used the basket or bench for less pleasant things such as a visit to the vet, you can also choose to spray the basket in advance with a special pheromone spray. You can do this for a few days and it is said to have a positive effect on cats.

Temporarily letting your cat live with other cats

To prevent a cat from becoming restless, many Dutch people choose to house their cat well in time at a temporary shelter. This way your cat has several cats around it and the cat can comfortably wait for the move. When the move is over and you are the new residents of the new home, you can pick up the cat and let the cat get used to the new environment. This way, the cat will not be immediately frightened when it sees the new home and this way you also have more time to give your cat the necessary attention.

Doesn't a cat find the shelter scary?

You can safely leave your cat with a professional shelter that specializes in cat-sitting. Strange cats are no problem for the employees of a shelter because they know exactly what the critters want and how they can best accommodate them. Of course they have the necessary experience with this. Everything will be discussed with you during the intake and you can also raise your concerns. Furthermore, to prevent unwanted behavior, it is usually asked to provide a soft cotton cloth for the cat. This may be necessary so that the cat can feel reassured by the reassuring pheromones that come from the cloth. The familiar and natural scents of the cloth is of course something that reminds the cat of home and this often has a positive effect on a cat.


Please note that microchipping a cat is often mandatory at a shelter, so keep this in mind. Is your cat chipped? Then you don't have to worry about anything anymore and you only have to arrange everything with the shelter. If your cat is already chipped, it is wise to pass on the change of address to the vet or relevant database in time.

Day of the move, moving your cat

When you will move you will notice well in advance that moving with cats can be complicated. Yes, fortunately this does not directly apply to every cat because there are still different cats with different characters, but the fact that a cat becomes restless during a move is something that often happens in general. Especially when it concerns a shy cat or insecure cat. But as the owner, you already know this in advance, so you can respond well to this.

There are little things you can do to reassure your nervous cat. Hide kibble dry food in your new home so that you can play with the cat and the cat can get used to the new environment with you. We have briefly summarized it now, but we would also like to explain step by step in this article how you can best approach all of this, so read on!

Before it moving company arrives with the moving van, it is useful to lock your cat in a room well in advance. Locking up sounds very intense, but of course you have to make it cozy in the room. In addition to putting the basket or crate in the room, make sure you put his food and water bowl in the room along with the litter box. Furthermore, not only should the windows remain closed, but also leave the door closed.

The furniture from the last room

It is therefore best to move the furniture in the 'safe' room your cat is in last. When you with it moving the furniture out of this room, you can put the cat in its crate and place it in the car. In the new home, it is wise to unload the furniture from this last room first and place it in a new room. This will be your cat's new temporary shelter. Some brands of the pheromone spray we told you about earlier also have a pheromone diffuser. You can place this in the socket. The comforting pheromones from the diffuser make your cat a little calmer. When the room is decorated you can place the cat in the room. It is also nicer for a cat if a family member can stay in the room with him while he explores the new environment.

By the way, don't give your cat too much food, because stress can cause it to eat more than necessary, which can lead to vomiting. When the move is over later in the day, you can quietly introduce the cat to the rest of the house. Don't let your cat notice the stress you experience yourself and radiate a calm energy to your cat. Let him know that the new environment is safe. Play with your cat and give him some tasty treats.

Transporting your cat

During a move, cats not only cause stress for themselves, but also for their owners. They probably don't mind this, because you suddenly mess up their familiar routine in their eyes. And let change of routine be just something that a cat can handle very badly.

Let your cat get used to it slowly

It is important to let your cat get used to it slowly, because you don't want your cat to become afraid of its new environment. When this happens, you may have to let the cat in from now on because of the behavioral problems that come with it. Gradually introduce your cat to the new home. Make sure that the windows are closed properly and that the windows remain closed! That way the cat can't run away. Running away you think now? Yes, unfortunately, after a move it sometimes happens that a cat walks back or wants to walk to the old home.

Get your cat used to its new home. Is your cat used to it?

For some cats, getting used to the new environment can be quick, but for some cats the process is extremely slow. You know your cat best, so you can feel this best yourself. It is important to keep your cat indoors for at least two weeks to allow it to get used to its new environment. Most cats need 2 weeks, but in general between 2 and 6 weeks is recommended.

Once you notice that your cats have gotten used to living in the new home, you can let the cat out.

Let your cat outside

It takes at least 2 weeks for your cat to adapt and, as you have read before, it takes even longer for some cats. You as the owner can feel this best yourself. You will notice over time when your cat has fully adapted to the new environment. This way you also know exactly when the time is right to let the cat outside.

Gradually introduce your cat to the outdoor environment. First, go explore the garden together a few times. What you really should never do is lift the jug and carry it outside. Let the cat decide what it wants at all times. If the cat wants to go outside, it can go outside and if it doesn't, it doesn't have to. In the beginning, leave the door open so that you can quickly escape inside if he is startled by something. This way the cat can calmly build confidence.

Are there other cats in the garden? Chase it away quickly because your cat must first get used to the environment before it can conquer its new territory.

Prevent your cat from running back to the old house

Cats really need time to get used to the new environment. If you do not take this into account, there is a good chance that your cat will run away. So keep this in mind and prevent your cat from walking back to the old house.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is moving bad for a cat?

A move is not necessarily bad for a cat, but it can cause a lot of stress. It is therefore important that the cat is properly supervised.

How long does it take for a cat to feel at home?

It can take about 2 to 6, but sometimes also 8 weeks before a cat feels at home. Therefore, give the cat enough time for this.

Is it bad to leave your cat alone?

Leaving a cat alone too often or for too long can cause separation anxiety.

Why does my cat meow after moving?

Cats can meow excessively as a result of stress. In this case, try to give a cat the necessary attention.

How does a cat know where it lives?

A cat not only remembers where it has walked, but it also uses the smells. As a result, a cat always knows the way back home.