How long to keep a cat indoors after moving?

A move itself can be very difficult, but when you have a cat this can all become a bit more difficult. However, it is not necessary to make it very difficult for yourself and you can easily move the cat when you make small adjustments. This way the cat can get used to it in peace.

Moving is a stressful event

Moving a cat can be very complicated. Of course we do not mean that the cat itself is difficult to move, because that is of course not the case. You can of course simply transport them in a basket or special bench, but everything that comes with this is what we are actually talking about. Cats need to be given the necessary attention and proper guidance during stressful events.

Keep an eye on the cat for now

Yes, not every cat is the same. One cat can be very shy and sit high in the tree because of the slightest thing, while the other cat is a bit more relaxed. However, stress in cats is a normal reaction to exciting events because cats generally do not like change very much. Fortunately, this is often short-lived, but unfortunately it sometimes happens that a cat can suffer from this for a longer period of time. And when this happens it can be very unhealthy.

Preparing your cat

Cats are animals that like control. It's in their nature to be in control of situations. They really want this, but sometimes this doesn't work out and this can cause stress. Even if the cat only has the feeling that he has no control, this will cause enormous stress.


A cat is an animal that wants to know where it stands. That is why it is very important for an owner to be predictable in your reaction. Even during a move when you, as the owner, experience a lot of stress. Try not to let the cat feel this. If your cat does feel this or notices that you are sometimes a bit unclear in your response, this can confuse the cat and of course you don't want this.

What to do during the move – strange cats & other cats

To prepare your cat as well as possible, you may want to opt for a temporary shelter. For example, there are several cats and different cats together and they can have a good time with the proper guidance of professional caretakers. This way the cat can comfortably wait for the move and the cat can temporarily disappear from all the chaos.

Doesn't a cat find the shelter annoying?

Specialized caretakers always work in a shelter for cats. Cats are therefore no problem for them. They know exactly how to take care of the cats and how to deal with the cats. Everything will be discussed with you during the first appointment. To prevent unwanted behavior, you are often asked to give your cat a soft cotton cloth. The cloth then has familiar and natural scents that allow your cat to reassure itself.

Is your cat chipped?

At a shelter, chipping your cat is mandatory, so keep this in mind. Of course you don't want the cat to be refused because it isn't chipped. Is your cat chipped? Then of course you don't have to worry about anything and it is only important to pass on the change of address to the vet or database in time.

Transporting your cat has an impact – moving your cat

Introduce your cat to the transport basket or crate well in advance. For example, you can start playing with the basket and cat a few weeks in advance. There is also a special pheromone spray. If necessary, spray some of this spray in the crate or basket so that it can have a positive effect on your cat.

Therefore, always make sure that your cat's familiar routine remains the same until the very last moment and that they can enjoy the old house with familiar scents for a long time to come. Your side also sees a lot of new things in your new home, so in this case you can first set up one of the rooms as the new room for the cat so that it can get used to it. Put his old and familiar toys, basket and food and drink in the room and give him enough time to get used to his new environment.

The day of the move

You may now think a lot about the cat and getting used to its new environment, but it is also important that you still give a lot of attention to the cat in the old house. For example, it is best to lock the cat in a room with all its favorite beds, hammocks, litter boxes and toys. Don't forget his water and food bowl. This way the cat can play in the room and he will not notice the move.

Moving last

It is therefore best to move the room your cat is in last. Leave all belongings in the room until the last minute. This is actually a temporary shelter for your cat. In this case, the cat surrounds itself with familiar things and as long as it lives in its own protected environment, it can play peacefully. Is your cat scared? Then you can also spray the pheromone spray we told you about in the room. The reassuring pheromones from the spray make your cat calmer.

If there is an extra family member who has some spare time, he or she may be able to stay in the room. Of course, the cat does not have to be alone all the time. Also in the new home it is nice if someone is with him in the 'safe room' while he explores his new environment.

Make sure that you close all windows properly and also make sure that all windows remain closed! Otherwise, there is a chance that you will walk away. You may not think this will happen anytime soon, but unfortunately it's common for a cat to run back or want to walk back to the old house. And of course you don't want to keep the cat completely inside from now on. Especially not when it comes to a real outdoor cat.

Don't eat too much

Don't give your cat too much food on moving day, because all the stress can cause the cat to eat more than necessary that day, which can cause it to vomit later in the new home. Of course you want to prevent this and that is why it is best to give the cat less food.

Have your cats gotten used to it?

Cats cause stress for themselves during a move, but also for their owners. It is therefore very important to give the cats enough time to get used to the situation. Especially when you have a shy cat or insecure cat, getting your cat used to it is the most important thing there is.

Make it as fun as possible

One cat can get used to it faster than another cat. One cat is used to everything after 1 week, while the other cat can hardly get used to it. As owner, you know your cat best, of course, and you, as owner, can feel this best. What is recommended as standard is to keep your cat indoors for at least two weeks to a maximum of 6 weeks so that it can get used to its new environment. Most cats need 2 weeks, but again… you know your cat best.

If you have a nervous cat, you can calm it down by playing small games with it. Hide kibble dry food in the new home so that you can play together, for example.

When can your cat go outside?

When you see cats you don't actually think they are those stress balls, do you? But now you know that this really is the case. Have you let your cat get used to it for 2 weeks and do you think it can go outside already? Then you can of course start with this. If you're concerned that your cat is going to run into the old house, you may be able to notify the new residents so they can contact you if this happens.

Do it gradually

Letting your cat look forward to it may not be much fun, but if you make sure that the cat gets used to it quickly, it will also be able to go outside faster. If your cat persists in returning to its old home, this is of course not a good signal and stopping this slowly is the best option. Your cat should be given enough time to get used to the new environment.

Help out

Gradually introduce your cat to the outside of your home. Let him walk out on his own and never pick him up! The cat must be able to decide for itself what to do. If he wants to go outside, that's possible, but if he doesn't want to yet, it's wise to wait a little longer. In the beginning, always leave the door open so that the cat can come in when he wants to.

Frequently Asked Questions

How does a cat know its way home?

Cats always remember where they walk near home and they also use scents so that they can easily find their way back home!

Is moving bad for a cat?

A move can cause a lot of stress for your cat and that is why it is important to move with a good checklist.

How do you know a cat feels at home?

As soon as your cat feels at home, he will adopt a relaxed attitude. For example, he sleeps comfortably with his paws under his body.

What to do if your cat doesn't come back?

If your cat does not return, contact the vet and animal ambulance. If necessary, you can also visit the shelter. And maybe the neighbors saw something!

Why can't your cat go to bed with you?

Cats can spread worm eggs, ticks or fleas and of course you don't want this in your bed.