6 Tips When Moving with a Cat


Cats are territorial and when happy, love their living space. They know where every cushion goes. They know how the sun hits that one couch in the morning. They know when you snack on biltong. They know when it’s vet time (and disappear). And they know when it is package time because they sure love them boxes. So, while you enjoy the contents, kitty hides, sits, sleeps and plays in the box.

This also means when you are planning to move the boxes may initially be very exciting for kitty. All these amazing forts all over their kingdom… and with amazing weird treasures. But soon the excitement will be replaced with good old kitty intuition and suspicion. And here the “meow-fin” issues begin.

Often cats either go missing just before the move, during the move or equally scary…after the move. And if they don’t go missing, they can be highly stressed during the whole process. Here are some top tips to assist your kitty to have a smooth move.

#1 The Carrier

If you don’t have a carrier, it’s important that you get one and familiarise kitty with the carrier. Get a nice fluffy blankie that stays in the carrier and cover it in lashings of catnip spray. Have this carrier available for kitty to climb in and get used to. This way your kitty always has a safe and familiar space no matter their street address.

The carrier will also allow you to manage the kitty when the physical move happens. This is mostly when kitties skedaddle.

#2 Kitty Pheromone Diffusers

Kitty pheromone diffusers are great aids for cats going through stressful situations like moves. All you do is plug in the pheromone diffusers a week or so before you start packing and then re-plug the diffusers in your new place as soon as you arrive.

You also get pheromone sprays that you can spray on your cat’s bedding, carrier etc. for a more concentrated hit of pheromones.

Our testimony: this helped us during a difficult situation of integrating a ten-year-old cat into an established (and dominant) household of four adult cats. We used Feliway with great success (I haven’t tried anything else so can’t comment on other products). We just Googled it (“cat pheromone diffuser online South Africa”) and purchased it from an online Pet Shop (ePETstore.co.za). I have seen it at the Vet too. Anyway, it helped just take the edge off the situation.

So how does Feliway work? According to Feliway website, the pheromones send happy messages” to cats and helps them feel safe and secure at home. Using feline natural reassuring messages helps cats adjust to the pace of modern life, encourages happiness and helps prevent negative behaviour.

#3 Classical Music

Some might think this is a crazy (cat lady) suggestion but it seems to work. If you don’t believe it – go to YouTube and see how many relaxing playlists there are for kitties and reconsider it. Also, why not try it and see for yourself? Simply play calming classical music in the background as you move from one place to the next.

Our testimony: we have played some of these playlists before to calm down a stressed and fearful cat. It didn’t take more than a few minutes for the agitated cat to settle down and comfortably nap in the same space.

#4 The Vet

If there is one sentiment that is highlighted throughout all the Sparkle Paws and Glitter Trails posts, it is this – always chat to a vet. Vets are an awesome resource and offer an array of insights (if not – get a new vet) and can, where necessary, provide you with sedatives or introduce you to products that may help you during the move and the adjustment to new circumstances.

#5 Comfort Zone

Cats tend to disappear when moves start or the night before when everything is ready-set-go. Therefore, whether your kitty is an indoor cat or not, it is highly recommended that you keep your cats inside or locked-in the house with their food, water, litter box and bed. Then on the day of the big move, as soon as you start thinking of loading boxes to a vehicle, either isolate your kitty in a room that someone can’t by accident open or place your cat in its carrier ready to move.

It may seem cruel, but these circumstances can result in your cat either getting hurt during the move or they bolt and hide due to fear. Some owners have reported they never saw their furry-half again after he/she bolted during the move ☹.

Highly recommended: we highly recommend that you either take your cat to the kennels during the duration of the move or board them at your vet for the day. Alternatively, take them to a fellow fur-parent that can keep them secure in a room with their litterbox, food, bed etc. until you have moved into your new place. This way the trauma, stress and logistics of the move don’t impact your furries.

#6 Keep Your Kitty In

When you arrive at your new place be sensitive to your kitty. They will want to go back to their territory (your previous place) and many have very successfully gone back – crossing highways, busy intersections and many kilometres. So, when you move, keep your cat in for a while just so that they familiarise themselves with the new space. Have them use a litterbox in the new home and establish their scent on all their surrounds. When you do eventually allow your cats out and if you have not invested in Cat Fencing (read more below), make sure you place the litterbox outside just so that your cat has some sense of where home is.

Our testimony: we received a cat from someone who needed to move into frail care; so, technically the cat moved (we didn’t). We kept the cat in the house for a month with a litterbox, food, catnip, toys, blankies etc. This cat was an outdoor cat and never used a litterbox but quickly adapted and bonded with our home. After a month, the cat saw our house as home-sweet-home and was let outdoors to explore with no issues.

A month may seem long and may not be possible for everyone, but we recommend that you rather be conservative (even when your cat whines your ears-off to go out) than be sorry.

Do you have any tips that have worked for you and your cats during a move or during a stressful time? Please share in the comments below or on Social Media so that you can help empower other pet owners. Plus, it is always nice to know that someone values your blogs enough to comment.

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One thought on “6 Tips When Moving with a Cat

  1. We adopted two adult cats and moved them to our home; they stayed in a locked room most of the day, but we’d let them roam in the entire house whenever we could during their initial “lock-down” period. This helped them adjust quickly.

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