Tips on How to Move Cats to a New Home

Post Published on March 21, 2014 | Last Updated on August 20, 2019 by Jenny

Trigg in the Kennel Cab® Fashion Pet CarrierHave you ever done a major move with your cats?  What tips and suggestions can you offer to reader Jackie?

Jackie writes, “We have two Ragdoll cats – they are 8 years old and are half brothers.  We have had them since they were 12 weeks old.  My husband and I are getting ready to downsize from a large home to a smaller one.  However, we may be moving into a rental home before that happens because our home sold so fast, we haven’t been able to find our next one quite yet.

I am worried about my cats – not only in the actual move from one house to the other, but also how they will do with all the transition. Especially because they have only ever known one home their entire life (well, with the exception of our vacation home that we go to in the summers).

I would appreciate any advice and tips your readers can give in regards to how to move a cat.  Thank you in advance.”


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9 thoughts on “Tips on How to Move Cats to a New Home

  1. patricia says:

    thanks for your comment michelle. that is what i have done in the past too and it seemed like it worked fine. i’m starting to feel like it’s maybe me that is stressed out more during moves than the cats are. though i do worry about them missing their surroundings here. they just made friends with a neighbors cat (they adore her)but again, i may just be projecting. my father was in the military so i moved close to every year for a large part of my life and it was always hard. i had to leave people i was just getting to know, had to start ANOTHER new school, had to drive across the country with my parents fighting and us kids fighting, had to deal with moving all out stuff in yet another new place. i think i still get all that anxiety brought back up every time i move and my cats will adjust probably better than i will. gawd i hate moving!! hahaha

  2. Michelle says:

    When I moved from a small house to a very large house with one cat and 3 dogs, I just let them all go on their own once we got to the new house. My cat did just fine…Sure, at first, he went into the bedroom where all the smells are and slept/hid under the bed, but he fell into the routine like a champ…Previous to that move, He and another cat I had at the time moved from an apartment to my 1st starter home. Again, I set them loose!!! And….THEY did just fine!
    Until I adopted my first Ragdoll from a rescue did I ever hear of confining them to a bathroom for a few days…which I did do… but you wonder if all this is really necessary? Just sayin…

  3. patricia says:

    wow this is perfect timing for me as i am getting ready to move and i’m panicking too about how my cats will do. they have lived in this area for a long time and i know it will be hard for them. what i would like to know is when people took their cats to the new place. did you do it before the movers came or were they the last thing you transported? in the past i have found my cats were more stressed out seeing things being taken out. i think i may take them to the new place first and get them situated so they don’t have to see stuff leaving the house. i couldn’t put all three of them in my bathroom here, there would be a fight, my bathroom is tiny. moving is a pain as it is without worrying about your babies. i want to make it as easy as i possibly can.

    • Teresa says:

      If you have one room that you can put them in and move them last, they might do better. I gave some things in my post above that help with stress like the calming collar and calming herbs. They really do work. If you don’t have a specific place for them to go like in a closed off room where it is large enough so they don’t fight, you might want to think about boarding them for that one day if you have a cat boarding place that you like to use maybe when you go on vacation, etc. Then you can just take them straight from there to their new home after the movers are done with all the strange noises of moving. If you do board them, it is most helpful if you leave an article of your clothing with your scent on it in the carrier/cage with them so they will feel comforted. When you get to the new house, just put them in one room and open the carrier and they will come out and explore as they feel more comfortable.
      Know it is a worry, but it will be OK and you will all be happy at your new place in just a short while. Best wishes!

  4. Denise Grande says:

    Jackie, I don’t think they will be as freaked out as you think. Cats love to explore. Before I bring them into the new house, have a room set up with their beds, toys, scratching post, food water and litter box (although put litter box as far away from food as possible). When you bring them in, put them in the room and let them come out of their carriers on their own. I would stay with them in that room and talk to them and see how they are… get on their level. See if they will play a bit. I’d spend as much time with them as possible. You can close the door or leave it open and see if they wander out to explore. It may take some time for them to get used to everything but as long as you are there with them and comfort them and play with them, they should be ok. You can also let them explore a room at a time but make sure most of their comforting things are already there so they have a familiar scent. I’d leave the cat carriers open just in case they get spooked they can go back in it. I’m sure they will be fine!!! Good Luck and let us know how you made out! Hope you find a new home soon!

  5. Teresa says:

    Yes, thanks for writing and knowing that you care so much for your babies that you don’t want them stressed out. You DON’T have to just deal with it because there are a few steps you can take to make the transition less frightening and ward off any behavior problems that might crop up later because of their moving insecurities.
    1) There are a few herbal meds on the market you can get from the petstore or from the Only Natural Pet Store that are made specifically for calming and reassurance of a pet when they are insecure.
    2) Have also used the Sentry Calming collar for Cats from Petco, but you should know that this takes a few days to work but it is effective if you don’t want to give them any meds.
    3) Put an article of your own clothing in their carrier with them to move to the new house so that they have the old scent together with them.
    4) Put them in only one room to begin with together with their carriers so they have a safe place to retreat and can also smell your scent on your clothing piece inside the carrier.
    5) Give them short times where they can explore the rest of their new environment together with you as they tolerate it. Cats are individuals just like people and they have different levels of comfort. So, whatever they can tolerate and then back to their safe room.
    6) Try to sleep in the same room with them the first night and stay as long as you can with them during the day when everything is brand new. They will take cues from you and get braver to explore as they get more relaxed.
    Just a few simple things and your move will be fine. As long as you are there, things will be fine as long as you take it slow. If they seem overly stressed when exploring the new house, just go back to the one room and keep on expanding their searching little by little until they get more at ease. Good luck and much happiness in your new house. ♥

  6. Lynn E. says:

    I just went through this very thing 4 months ago with my two Rags 9 and 10 years old. After giving the situation MAJOR THOUGHTS, from putting them in a kennel for a couple of days to medicating them, here’s what I did:

    On the day of the move I put them both in a bathroom with litter food and water with signs for the movers not to open the door. Eight long hours later, I hauled them in my car and transported them to the new bathroom with litter, food and water. After the movers left (another 6 hours) I let them have the run of the place and they were both so dang happy to be out of a bathroom there was little to no adjustment. I totally worked myself into a panic weeks prior to move for nothing. When it got right down to it, I decided that whatever place my cats were I was going to be in the same location.

    Best of luck.

  7. Cindy says:

    When I inherited my 2 Raggies from my brother (son was allergic), they were 9 months old. I put them in a crate large enough to hold them both and drove for 7 hours to get them home (not a quiet drive). I then kept them in the same room for a few days with items from my brother’s house that were familiar to them (smell included – important), then slowly introduced them to the rest of the house and pets. Keeping familiar items and smells should help them adjust to both moves. Hope this helps.

  8. Ragdoll Mommy says:

    Yay, I love these kinds of posts!

    How we move with our four cats (two Ragdolls and two mutts), is to put Star and Saphira (the mutts) in their cat carrier and put Nico and Anya on their harness and leashes (Ragdoll cats). Then put all the kitties in one room with the door closed for 2-3 days.

    Hope this helped. 😉

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