If you’re moving an older cat to a new home, there is no reason why it can’t go smoothly – but you’ll need to carefully plan and execute a few things.
It’s no secret that cats do not like major changes in their daily routines, and this is particularly true of older cats.
Still, I’ve pulled it off a couple of times and my cats settled in just fine.
Here are 7 tips and things you need to be aware of when moving an older cat to a new home:
7 Tips When Moving an Older Cat to a New Home
1. Make the Journey as Stress-Free as Possible
The journey itself to the new home might be the most stressful part of the whole experience for your cat, so it’s important to make it as smooth and stress-free as possible.
If your cat is used to traveling in a carrier then great – this will make things much easier.
If not, give them a couple of days to get familiar with their carrier by placing it near where they sleep.
When it’s time to move, put one of their blankets in the carrier and get them to your new home as quickly, and as smoothly as possible.
Related – Read for tips on the best size carrier and how to travel without a carrier in a car.
2. Set up One Room Where Your Cat Can Be Alone
When you first arrive at your new home, set up one room where your cat can be alone and safe.
This will be their haven during the move, and somewhere they can retreat to when things get a little overwhelming.
Fill the room with all of their things – food, water, litter box, bedding, toys – anything that they’ll need.
Cats are cats, they may not use it. But it was a huge factor in helping my cats settle in when we moved house, so I know it works.
3. Leave Them to Explore Their New Surroundings when They Want To
Once your cat is settled in their room, it’s important that you leave them to explore their new surroundings when they’re ready.
Do not force them out – let them come to you when they’re ready.
If you have other pets, keep them away from the door of your cat’s room so they don’t feel like they’re being trapped.
Cats like to ‘map’ out their surroundings on their own time. They’ll then start to increase how far they roam each day.
4. Ask Your Vet About Using a Pheromone Diffuser
If your cat is finding the whole experience a little overwhelming, I recommend speaking to your vet about using a pheromone diffuser.
These little devices plug into the wall and release calming chemicals into the air and can help ease your cat’s anxiety.
They’re completely safe to use – I’ve used them with success – and are worth considering if you think it might help your cat relax.
5. Try and Avoid Any Loud Noise or Further Disruption
Once your cat is starting to feel settled, try and avoid any loud noise or further disruption.
This means no more moving furniture around, no banging of doors, and definitely no construction work!
If you can help it, try and keep things as calm as possible so your cat doesn’t get stressed again.
All it takes is for one loud bang to spook a cat and make them withdraw into smaller space and associate being freaked out by their new surroundings.
6. Make Sure They Can’t Escape for At Least Two Weeks
If your cat is an outdoor cat, the minimum you should keep them indoors for is two weeks.
This gives them time to adjust to their new surroundings and get used to the idea that this is their new home.
It also helps them bond with you and your family as they’ll be spending more time inside.
If you have an indoor cat, make sure all the windows and doors are closed and there is no way for them to get outside.
I’m sure you’ve heard stories about cats finding their way back to their old homes, even traveling several miles to do so.
It does happen, but a bigger risk is that your cat will be confused and simply get lost.
Related – Signs to look out for that you have a happy indoor cat!
7. Help Them Establish a New Routine
One of the best things you can do for your cat is help them establish a new routine they’re comfortable with.
Cats are creatures of habit and love routine, so the sooner they can get into one in their new home, the better.
Feeding times, playtime, bedtime – try and stick to their usual schedule as much as possible.
Don’t treat them too differently. I know it’s upsetting if your cat is clearly out of sorts from the move, but trust me – it’ll turn out OK in time.
Moving house with an older cat can be stressful (for you and your cat), but there are things you can do to make it easier for them.
The most important thing is to give them time to adjust and not force anything.
They’ll come around eventually, I promise! Just give them some love and patience and they’ll be back to their old selves in no time at all.
Moving is stressful for cats, both young and old. It affects every cat differently, but I’ve never met a cat that was OK with being uprooted and dropped off in a new home with new surroundings!
Cats can get depressed after moving, and it’s more common in older cats. You need to keep a close eye on your cat, and in particular, make sure they are eating and drinking enough.
There is no set timeframe for a cat to adjust to their new surroundings. Generally speaking, it can take older cats weeks, or even months to adjust to a new home.
Image credits – Photo by Jonas Jaeken on Unsplash