Moving With Cats: How to Relocate Your Feline Friend

When you first laid eyes on her, you just knew—this was the kitten you had been waiting for your entire life. Everything about her was perfect. Her fur was the loveliest shade of grey, her nose was pretty and pink and her meows sounded like music to your ears.

For weeks you rattled your brain trying to figure out what you were going to name her — Jenni-furr, Oprah Whisker, Clawdia, Cat Benatar, Katy Purry.But then, one day, as you were petting her paws, you were awestruck by how soft and cuddly they were. Suddenly, it hit you… (not the paw, the name).

Her name was to be Misses Cuddle Mittens.

Your relationship with Misses Cuddle Mittens (Mittens for short) was an absolute fairy-tail, until the day you gave her the bad news — the two of you had to move to a new home in a new state. She took the news the way you would expect a cat to take it. She hissed and batted at your hand not once, not twice, but five times before running under your bed.

Now you’re sitting in front of your laptop nursing your bloody, bandage-covered hand, but you haven’t given up… not on Mittens. You type into Google as hot tears stream down your face—”moving cats to a new home.”

You begin to think to yourself, Misses Cuddle Mitten’s paws aren’t so cuddly after all.

Moving Cats to a New Home

Cats are creatures of habit, so moving can be extremely stressful for them. And when your furry friend is stressed out, she can do some pretty unpleasant things (like you may have already discovered). Like using the restroom in places you would prefer her not to—nobody likes sliding their foot into a shoe-full of lukewarm cat pee.

Fortunately, here at Bellhops, we aren’t just experts when it comes to moving your belongings. We also know a thing or two about moving your beloved feline friend.

In this article, we have outlined three easy steps to consider when moving with cats:

  1. Preparing to Move With Your Cat
  2. Moving With Your Cat
  3. How to Introduce a Cat to a New Home

Follow these steps closely before, during, and after your move and you shouldn’t have anything to worry about… unless you happen to be the owner of an especially persnickety kitty.

Step 1: Preparing to Move With Your Cat

Not unlike most things in life, successfully moving cats to a new home comes down to preparation. As long as you are putting in the necessary work before the big move, the transition shouldn’t be too difficult on Mittens.

To begin, it is important to allow your cat time to get used to the carrier that you will move him/her in. Leave the carrier sitting out for a couple weeks leading up to the move with the door open and a comfy bed inside. As the days progress, place your cat’s feeding bowl further and further back within the carrier so that eventually he/she will have to go all the way inside to eat.

Also, if time allows it, consider putting out your moving boxes a few weeks before the actual move. This will give your cat time to get used to its changing surroundings.

Step 2: Moving With Your Cat

Moving cat.

The actual move itself is the most stressful part of moving with your cat. After all, this is when the most change is taking place. Between big boxes, loud noises and movers coming and going, it can be a bit overwhelming on Misses Cuddle Mittens.

During the actual move, we recommend feeding your cat a very light breakfast in case of an unhappy stomach and then placing her in the bathroom with her water, bed, and litterbox. Shut the door and put a sign on the door so movers don’t open it by mistake.

The closed bathroom will give your cat a quiet sequestered space away from the unfamiliar faces, boxes, and sounds.

During the commute to your new home or apartment, make sure you keep your cat in her carrier. While you may be tempted to open it up to soothe your upset cat, don’t—a frightened cat is more prone to attack and try to escape. The last thing you need during a 3-hour drive is an angry kitty on the loose.

Also, it might not be a bad idea to pack some extra duct tape. You cat’s claws could cause some damage to the carrier during the drive, which may need some emergency patching. Better safe than sorry.

Side note: when it comes to moving a Cat’s Litter Box, be sure to clean it out before the big move… you’d be surprised by how many people forget to do this. It can make for a smelly trip.

Step 3: How to Introduce a Cat to a New Home

Okay, so your cat (and hopefully you) made it to the new place in one piece. Which is great, but unfortunately, your work isn’t over. Not just yet.

You still need to help your cat get used to its new home. Before opening its carrier and letting it loose, be sure to cat-proof everything. Ensure that all the windows and doors are shut, poisonous houseplants are removed and electrical cords are nicely tucked away.

Now, take your cat to a quiet room and shut the door. For the next week, keep your cat in this room with its food, bed, and toys. Once it is back to its normal self, then and only then, allow it to explore the rest of the house. To ease the adjustment to this room (and the rest of the house) consider introducing some familiar scents into the house. One common trick is to take a sock and rub it around your cat’s mouth to gather her facial pheromones. Then take that sock and rub it on various items around your house. The presence of her own facial pheromones will make your cat think that she has been there before and make her transition much smoother.

As we all know, cats can be pretty contrary animals. So, there is always a slim chance that it takes them longer than expected to adjust to their new surroundings. Below, you will find a few ways you can ease the anxiety of your stressed out kitty.

How to Calm Down a Cat

Calming down a stressed-out cat can be extremely difficult. But, here are a few tips we recommend when dealing with an anxious kitty:

  1. Play with your cat on a higher surface, so that she doesn’t feel threatened by you. Imagine if someone 10x your size was trying to pet you. It might be just a little stressful.
  2. Don’t keep it confined to a room after it has calmed down. While cats need their quiet time, they also like to explore.
  3. Don’t mistake anxiousness for aggression. Cats don’t hiss because they are angry, often times they hiss as a warning to say, “Yo, I don’t like that…”
  4. Get your cat on a routine. While cats are definitely adventurous explorers, they are also creatures of habit. Make sure you put together a routine that your cat can grow accustomed to.
  5. Get your cat some anxiety medication. There is nothing wrong with medicating your cat for a little while to ease the transition. If you notice that it is having difficulty adjusting, call in some anxiety meds from your vet.

A Few Cat Jokes Before We Depart

Chill cat

What do you call a mountain of kittens? A meowtain.

Why are cats so good at video games? Because they have nine lives.

Alright, enough of that. Hopefully, you’ve found some helpful tips within this article that you can apply to make Mitten’s life a little easier during the big move.

Moving with cats isn’t always easy, but it is definitely rewarding once they are all settled in. While there’s a lot in this article about moving with your cat, everything we have discussed comes down to one thing: Be thoughtful when it comes moving with cats. As long as you think ahead about how your cat is going to process the move, you should be just fine.

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