How to move a cat to a new house

Written by corey m. mackenzie
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Cats are sensitive pets that do not like sudden changes in their environment. Some cats settle in a new house quickly; most cats, however, will take a week or more to adjust. Because cats are so sensitive to change, cat owners should take extra steps when moving a cat to a new house.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Cat carrier
  • Cat pheromone spray (optional)
  • Old toys with cat's scent and the old house's scent on them
  • An article of clothing that you've worn and not yet laundered
  • Other cat supplies (such as the food dish, water dish, litter box)

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  1. 1

    Designate one room of the new house to be a temporary enclosure for the cat. The cat should be contained at least for the first night in one room so that he can begin to get used to the smells of the new house.

  2. 2

    Place a blanket or another item with the cat's scent on it, and an unlaundered article of your clothing, in the new room. When your cat arrives, you want him to be as comfortable as possible. Familiar scents will help significantly. If you've purchased a spray bottle of cat pheromone spray (available at pet supply stores), spray some in the room before bringing the cat in. This spray helps cats relax.

  3. 3

    Place the cat in his carrier and take him to the new house. Place him in the designated room, with his food, water, litter box, and toys and leave him in that room overnight. Visit him when you can to comfort him, but make sure he does not escape.

  4. 4

    Let the cat out of the room and into the rest of the house. Supervise him so that he does not get out of the house. Allow him to roam around the new house. If necessary, spray some of the cat pheromone spray in several rooms to help keep him calm.

  5. 5

    Give the cat special treats and be extra loving towards him so that he associates the new house with good food and love.

Tips and warnings

  • It may take up to a week or more for the cat to settle in at the new home
  • After you've moved to the new home, do not let your cat outside until he has fully settled in the new home. And, when or if you do let your cat outside (which I do not recommend) make sure he is supervised. Cats will often try to find their way back to the old house--even if it is several hundred miles away.
  • A new house sometimes means new dangers for your cat. Be sure to walk through the house and the yard to make sure they are safe environments for your cat. In the home look for dangling cords and sharp objects in the walls or floors. Outside, check to make sure there aren’t plants, such as lilies, which are poisonous to cats. Also, check the garage and cellar to make sure the former owner did not leave mouse poison lying around.

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