How to Move with A Cat

icon June 8, 2024

Moving to a new home is a significant life event that can be both exciting and stressful. When you have a cat, the process becomes even more complex. Cats are known for their sensitivity to changes in their environment, making the transition to a new home potentially challenging for them. This article aims to provide a comprehensive guide on how to move with a cat, covering topics such as moving across the country, handling long-distance moves, calming a stressed cat after moving, recognizing signs of stress, understanding if moving is stressful for cats, and knowing how long it typically takes for a cat to adjust to a new home.

Preparing for the Move

1. Veterinary Check-Up

Before you start packing, schedule a visit to the vet. Ensure your cat is healthy and up-to-date on vaccinations. This is also an excellent opportunity to discuss any concerns you have about the move and get advice on managing stress and travel safety.

2. Get the Right Supplies

You'll need a sturdy and comfortable cat carrier, familiar bedding, food, water, and litter supplies. If your cat isn’t used to the carrier, start acclimating them to it weeks before the move by leaving it open with treats and toys inside.

3. Create a Safe Space

In your current home, set up a small, quiet room where your cat can stay while you pack and move things around. This will help minimize their exposure to the chaos and noise of moving preparations.

How to Move with a Cat

1. Moving Day Strategies

On moving day, confine your cat to their safe space until everything is loaded and ready. This prevents escape and keeps them safe from the commotion. Once you’re ready to leave, place your cat in the carrier and secure it in your vehicle where it won’t slide or fall.

2. In the Vehicle

During the journey, keep the car temperature comfortable and avoid loud music. Occasionally talk to your cat to reassure them. Avoid opening the carrier unless absolutely necessary and always ensure the environment is secure before doing so.

How to Move a Cat Across Country

1. Planning the Route

Plan your route with frequent stops to check on your cat, offer water, and allow them to use a portable litter box if they need to. Research pet-friendly hotels if you’re staying overnight.

2. Air Travel Considerations

If flying, choose a pet-friendly airline and familiarize yourself with their pet travel policies. Ensure the carrier meets airline requirements and label it with your contact information. Sedatives should only be used if recommended by your vet.

3. Long-Distance Car Travel

For long car trips, maintain a regular feeding and hydration schedule. Never leave your cat alone in the car, as temperatures can become dangerous quickly. Consider investing in a travel litter box and take breaks to allow your cat to use it.

How to Calm a Stressed Cat After Moving

1. Create a Safe Room

Set up a quiet room in your new home with your cat’s essentials: bed, food, water, litter box, and toys. Allow them to explore this space at their own pace before gradually introducing them to the rest of the house.

2. Maintain a Routine

Stick to your cat’s usual feeding, play, and sleep schedules to provide a sense of normalcy. Routine helps reassure your cat that despite the new surroundings, some things remain the same.

3. Provide Familiar Scents

Place items with familiar scents, such as your cat’s favorite blanket or your own clothing, in their space. This can help them feel more secure and comforted in the new environment.

Signs of Stress in Cats( After Moving)

1. Behavioral Changes

Common signs of stress in cats include:


reduced appetite

excessive grooming

increased vocalization

Some cats may become more aggressive or withdrawn

2. Physical Symptoms

Stress can also manifest physically with symptoms like:

vomiting, diarrhea

changes in litter box habits

In severe cases, cats might develop urinary tract issues

Is Moving Stressful for Cats?

Yes, moving is inherently stressful for most cats due to their territorial nature and aversion to change. The disruption of their environment and routine can cause significant anxiety. Understanding this and taking proactive steps to minimize stress can help your cat cope better with the transition.

How Long Does It Take a Cat to Adjust After Moving?

The adjustment period for a cat after moving varies. Some cats may start exploring their new home within a few days, while others might take weeks or even months to fully acclimate. Factors influencing this include the cat’s temperament, age, and the effort made to provide a comforting and stable environment.

Signs Your Cat is Adjusting After Moving

1. Exploration:

Your cat begins to explore the new environment more confidently, moving beyond their initial safe space.

2. Normal Eating Habits:
Your cat resumes their regular eating and drinking habits, indicating they feel secure.

3. Playfulness:
Engaging in play and showing interest in toys is a good sign your cat is becoming comfortable.

4. Affection:
Seeking out attention, cuddling, or rubbing against you suggests your cat feels more at ease.

5. Grooming:
Returning to their normal grooming routine indicates reduced stress levels.

6. Litter Box Use:
Regular and consistent use of the litter box shows your cat is settling in and feeling safe.

7. Relaxed Posture:
Your cat begins to display relaxed body language, such as stretching out, lying on their back, or purring.

8. Curiosity:
Demonstrating curiosity about new sounds and sights, without showing fear, is a positive sign of adjustment.

9. Reduced Hiding:
Spending less time hiding and more time in open areas of the home indicates increased confidence.

10. Routine Participation:
Your cat participates in their usual routines, such as following you around the house or sitting in their favorite spots.


Moving with a cat requires careful planning and consideration to ensure their safety and well-being. By preparing in advance, maintaining a consistent routine, and being attentive to signs of stress, you can help your feline friend transition more smoothly to their new home. Remember, patience is key. Give your cat the time they need to adjust, and soon enough, they’ll feel comfortable and secure in their new surroundings.

Also Read: Signs Your New Cat Is Adjusting

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