Cats are notoriously suspicious of change within their environment – even a newly carpeted room, replacement furniture or even a Christmas tree with baubles and presents can cause them unease. They are creatures of habit and do not cope well with change but with some planning and care you can avoid many of the problems, making your move less stressful for you both.
If your feel that your cat is particularly nervous and may not cope well with being present on moving day then you may choose to board him at a cattery for a few days over the moving period but this may, of course, be impractical if you are planning a long distance move.
Cats should always be transported in a suitable cat carrier. Leave the carrier in the house for a few days before your move, so that the cat becomes used to the sight and smell of it.
On the morning of the move put the cat in one room with all the doors and windows shut. This will keep him away from the upheaval of packing boxes and furniture moving. It will also save you from searching for him when it’s time to leave. Provide a litter tray, water and food (but don’t feed him just before travelling in case he is ill on the journey). Put a notice on the door to remind family members and the removers that the door should remain shut. Always communicate with your removal company that you have a pet and what you are doing to keep them safe and stress free.
When it’s time to go, put your cat in his carrier with a familiar blanket and transport him, properly secured with a seat belt, in the car – either wedged securely in the back or in the well behind the seats. Don’t put him in the removal van or the boot of the car.
Removal companies are not insured to transport any live animals.
You may be facing a long journey so remember to offer him water and the use of a litter tray at some point, though he may not be interested in either. When you take a break remember to leave a window open but never leave a cat in a parked car on a hot day as the inside temperature can rise very quickly.
On arrival at your new home Leave the cat in the carrier until you have one room set up to accommodate him. This should contain water, food and a litter tray. When the room is ready (all doors and windows shut and fireplaces blocked) let him out of the carrier. Make sure that you leave him with some familiar bedding and if it is a cold day and your heating is not yet on, a hot water bottle wrapped in a blanket. This should make him feel more secure.
Once the removal van has left and you are ready to collapse in a heap, let your cat out to explore a little. Maybe confine this to just a couple of rooms so that he is not totally overwhelmed.
Some cats settle into a new home straight away,, curl up in a favourite chair and never look back. Others take time to adjust to their new surroundings. Cats will rub their themselves on furniture, walls, doors etc to lay down their own scent, rubbing their own scent around the house increases their feeling of security.
Use food and a regular routine to help him settle in and feel more comfortable with the new surroundings. Small frequent meals will give you more contact initially and help to reassure your cat that all is well. He will relax because he will know what is going to happen and when.
Keep your cat inside for the first two or three weeks to give him time to learn the geography of his new home and to become accustomed to the smells. When you decide the time is right to let him out, dont feed him for a while so that he is hungry. If he already associates a particular sound (tapping a bowl or rattling a bag of biscuits) with food so much the better. Choose a quiet time to let him out in the garden, firstly ensuring that there are no other cats about. Go out with him and let him explore for a little while before calling him in for food. Repeat the exercise several times, allowing him to go a little further and for a while longer each time. Cats used to the outdoors generally cope well with a new territory to explore. Timid cats may take a little longer and should be accompanied as often as possible until their confidence builds.
Your cat should be microchipped or have some form of identification showing your new address and ‘phone number. Maybe not his name as that information may tempt someone make him their pet.If your cat is microchipped don’t forget to register your new address.
Above all remember to spend as much time as you can with him as this will help imprint in his mind that this is now your and his house.
To book your ‘ cat caring ‘ move you can find your nearest professional and accredited removal company by visiting