Moving House With Your Cat

Moving house with your cat can be very stressful!.

Moving home with your cat can be extremely worrying.

Imagine being all packed and ready to go and no clue where your cats are.

Or you have your cats but the stress of moving has freaked them out.

You are worried that once they get to the new house they won’t settle.

Above all else, you are terrified your cats will go AWOL before, during or after the move.

Moving house is already a stressful experience. Worrying about your cats is enough to drive anyone to despair.

But what if I told you there is an easy system to make certain your cats are safe and sound?


With no chance of losing them. A stress-free move for both you and the cats.

I bet you would be interested.

Here’s how you can make moving house with cats as easy and one, two, three.

#1 Before the Move

Ever heard this golden nugget before?

Benjamin Franklin

"By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail. "

When it comes to moving house with your cat then this advice will serve you well. A little bit of preparation will save you stress and heartache down the line.

Keeping down the stress levels is essential for both you and your cat.

Being confined in a cat carrier or pet crate is not something most cats enjoy. My lot used to avoid carrying boxes like the plague. Until I used this simple trick.

Put the cat carrier down with a blanket in and the door wide open a week before you need them to use it. Start to feed them near the carrier. Move the food closer and closer to the carrier each day. Put down treats near and in the carrier. Before you know it they will be venturing in the carrier looking for treats.

Makes putting them in the carrier a whole lot easier when moving day arrives.

When we move house we arrange a new doctor and dentist. Imagine being ill or having excruciating tooth ache and having to sort out a new doctor or dentist.

Not fun.

Same goes for your cat and a vet. Sort out a new vet in advance of your move.

Now the idea is that your cat will not go missing when you move house. But if the worst happens it is best to be ready.


Be prepared for your cat getting lost with this three step checklist:

  • Check your cats microchip details are all up to date. A quick call the the microchip provider to confirm they have your current and new contact details could make all the difference to becoming reunited with your lost cat.
  • Same goes for your cats collar. Now if your cat becomes lost then make sure your up to date mobile number is on your cats collar.
  • Prepare a lost cat file with recent photos, description, names of local rescues etc. Then if your cat does become lost, at least you have everything you need to make lost posters and the numbers you need to get the word out.

Okay, I hear you. You want to prevent your cat getting lost in the first place.

So, in addition to cat proofing the new house in advance of the move by checking all windows, doors and floor boards etc. are all secure . . 

You also need to take some simple precautions during the move.

#2 During the Move

So the big day has arrived and you are moving house.


This is where the wheels can fall off and your cat gets stressed out or even gets lost.

Or if you follow my advice . . .

Your cat will be totally secure and chilled out. Let me explain.

Set up one room in the house where you can put your cat. A spare bedroom is good.

Give them their open carry box (you know, the one they now find treats in and like), litter tray, scratch posts, bed and toys. Give them access to the entire room, no need to confine them to a pen or carry box yet.

Keep up your normal schedule with them and go in and feed them at the usual times. Go and play with them. Just keep to your normal routine other than confine them to the one room.

But here’s the thing.

Value Bomb

Nobody other than you goes in the room. Put a note on the door to say ‘no entry, cat in room’. Go and tell everyone who is helping with the move not to go in that room.

Now once the rest of the house is packed up and ready to go it is time to go in and put your cat in your secure carry box.

Put your cat in your car. Not in the boot. And not in the removal truck. Keep your cat with you.

If this method is not doable then my advice is to consider putting your cat in a cattery overnight. This removes any possibility of escape during the move.

Getting your cat to your new home is just the first step.

The real work starts in the new house.

Let me explain.

#3 After the Move

So you have arrived at your new home. No doubt tired after a busy stressful day. Guess what?

So is your cat.

Your first job is to settle your cat in your new home. Confine your cat to a safe room, just as you did in your old house.

Give him food, water, litter tray, scratching post and toys.

Make sure you have cat proofed the room before you let him out of the carrier.

Put your ‘no entry, cat in room’ sign on the door and let everyone know that the safe room is out of bounds.

Unpack the rest of your belongings and settle in your new home.

After a few days of maintaining your cats usual feeding and play routine and letting your cat acclimatise you can then let him out into the rest of your house.


Beware though. You need to completely cat proof your home so there is zero chance of him escaping.

You might want to consider using calming remedies which will help bring down the stress levels for your cat. I have used the three calming products below and had success with all three but just wanted to let you know that although I do recommend them they are not a silver bullet or magic pill. They do help though.


When a cat feels safe in its environment, it will rub its head against furniture, walls or the bottom of the curtains, leaving substances called facial pheromones. Feliway is a synthetic copy of this pheromone and is proven to reassure and comfort cats, helping them to cope with changes in their environment.


Zylkene is a natural product derived from milk proteins that has been proven to help your cat or dog cope in times of stress and adapt to change. Can be used for short periods or continuously if needed.Zylkene is a revolutionary new product used to help cats and dogs cope with stress..                                        


A variation of the original stress relieving remedy available for more than 70 years contains a blend of the same five flower remedies found in Rescue Remedy in an alcohol free formula, ideal for cats. Rescue Remedy Pet is available in dropper format, allowing cat owners to easily administer it to cats.

If you want to allow your cats outdoors then it is vital that you keep in him for at least two weeks first. If you don’t your cat might not find his way home as he won’t recognise your new homes smells yet.

One great tip to help your cat make your new home his new home is to help him scent his house.

Take some used litter and sprinkle some all around your house in the garden. The smell will help him find his way home.

On the day you choose to let him explore outside

Pick a day that you are in all day and let him out just before the time you normally feed him. Keep your door open so when he does come home he is not locked out.

Put his food out ten to twenty minutes after you let him out and the call him.

Although your cat will be keen to explore outside he will also be keen to have his dinner.

Reminding him this is where he gets fed is a great way to show him where home is before he wanders off too far.

Final Words of Advice

Moving house with your cat need not be a stressful event for both you and your cat.

If you want to make sure cat is not stressed out by the move and does not go missing just remember this.

Do not treat you cat as an afterthought when you plan the move.

You are the only person that will do things properly.

Do not put any responsibility for your cat on the removal team or any helpers you have as they could make a mistake.

Be sure and sort out your cat yourself.

Moving house is hard for cats.

It is a big upheaval.

So reduce the stress levels as much as you can.

Take your time.

Keep your cat chilled out.


About the author

Ross writes extensively about cats and kittens and has been featured in magazines such as Your Cat and Our Cats and has also guest authored on newsletters for various cat organisations. He is also a guest speaker at cat seminars.

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  1. Hi Ross,
    This article is very helpful on moving house, we hope to move with our ten cats and possibly a litter of kittens in the next 18 months. I am already worrying about our Maine Coon, do you know anything which will help an extremely travel sick cat? She really is travel sick to the extreme, she doesn’t mind her cat carrier and will go in there any time willingly but as soon as she is in the car she frets, we don’t get off the drive without her crying and starting to drool, by the time we get to the vets 3 miles away she is drooling, sick and her heart is thumping, by the time we get home again she is just a sick heap in the carrier almost at the point of collapse.
    We are putting our house on the market next year and will be moving 120 miles away, I am really worried that she will die of heart failure by the time we get there. Can you suggest any remedies to help her please?

    1. Antihistamines can help as they have a sedative action but talk to your vet about this. Also talk to your veterinarian about Cerenia (maropitant citrate), a drug that was developed specifically for the prevention of car/motion sickness in dogs. It is also safe and effective in cats.

      Hope this helps.

  2. Thankyou very much Ross, this is a great help, I’ll copy your advice on the Antihistimines and Cerenia so I can mention them to the vet when the time comes. Thanks again, much appreciated. x

    1. If it is going to be a little while before you move house I would suggest a little bit of prevention rather than cure.

      Try and acclimatise your girl by trying the following. Start off with just putting her in a carrier in the house for a few weeks until she gets used to going in a carrier. Then move on to putting her in the car but without the car moving, in fact, don’t even switch the engine on. Then after getting her used to being in a carrier in a motionless car think about taking her on a very short journey. It is most likely anxiety related so by acclimatising her bit by bit you stand a very good chance of making the long journey when you move bearable.

  3. My cat is a 3 yr old shelter cat that we have had one year. He won’t go near his crate regardless of what I do. We have had to board him a couple of times and he was so upset that he literally became ill. He terrorized the ladies at the clinic where he was boarded. He scratched and bit the vet on his only trip for a checkup. He bites or scratches me at times when he is playing. He is a large cat that seems to be out of control. I love him dearly and do want to keep him forever. Help!

    1. Have you tried this?

      Put the cat carrier down with a blanket in and the door wide open a week before you need them to use it. Start to feed them near the carrier. Move the food closer and closer to the carrier each day. Put down treats near and in the carrier. Before you know it they will be venturing in the carrier looking for treats.

      Makes putting them in the carrier a whole lot easier when moving day arrives.

      He sounds as if he is scared. Unfortunately, there is no quick fix for this, you need to help him get over his fear.

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