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By Jamie Stowell
11th May 2022

moving home? how to help your cat survive the stress

Reviewed by Dr. Ailsa Rutherford
Wednesday 11th May 2022

Moving is stressful for everyone involved, but moving with a cat can add another layer of stress to the situation.

Cats are naturally territorial, and they love to stick to a consistent daily routine. Moving disrupts their usual way of life, and many cats don’t handle this change very well. They may start urinating in strange places or even try to find their way back to the last house.

Read on to learn how to help minimise your cat’s stress while moving and keep them calm and safe.

7 Tips to Minimize Your Cat’s Stress When Moving

1. Maintain Your Cat’s Routine

With so much already changing around them, it’s important to keep as much of your cat’s current routine in place as possible.

While move-in day is likely to be the most stressful part for your cat, the lead-up to moving can also be stressful. Packing your things, cleaning, and moving furniture all changes the looks and smells that your cat is used to in their territory.

Make an effort to continue their usual playtimes and mealtimes, not just on move-in day but in the lead-up to the move as well.

2. Get Your Cat Comfortable with Their Carrier

Your cat will need to be transported from one house to the other on move-in day, so they will need to be put in their carrier.

For many cats, their carrier comes out only when it’s time for the vet — because of this, just seeing the cat carrier can cause anxiety in your cat.

The best way to combat this is with regular, positive exposure to the cat carrier. You want to make the cat carrier into a safe, relaxing place for your cat.

Leave the carrier in an area your cat frequents and leave the door open. You can also put a bed or blanket inside the carrier to make it more comfortable and capture more of your cat’s scent. You can also spray a pheromone spray in the carrier (do this at least 30min before allowing your cat in there to allow the alcohol component to evaporate), which may help make your cat feel comfortable.

With some cats, it may help to start feeding them in the carrier (leaving the door open) before moving day.

Start this training at least a few weeks before the move.

3. Feed Your Cat Small Meals on Moving Day

When moving day finally arrives, your cat is bound to be stressed. Not only will they be changing environments, but there are likely to be strangers coming in and out of the house.

Sometimes, stress and anxiety can manifest themselves in tummy issues for your cat, and your cat may even vomit during the day, especially if they have to be in the car for a long drive.

To help manage your cat’s upset stomach, keep their meals small unless they have specific medical conditions that require a strict diet. Check with your vet before you alter your cat’s feeding routine.

4. Reduce Your Cat’s Anxiety with Hemp Seed Oil

Hemp seed oil could help your cat relax and make moving easier for both of you. It works with your cat’s endocannabinoid system to naturally calm your cat’s stress responses, making them more comfortable.

Many cats are picky when accepting unfamiliar tastes and smells, so you may need to be creative with how you give it to your cat. Some cats are happy to take it with food – something strong tasting such as tuna. For other more fussy felines, you might need to squeeze a couple of drops directly into their mouth.

More on the health benefits of hemp seed oil in our article Hemp Seed Oil Benefits.

Talk to your vet about hemp CBD oil if your cat experiences severe anxiety and stress.

5. Leave Your Cat in Their Carrier at First for Safety

When you get your cat to your new home, don’t let them out of the cat carrier right away. Place them in a safe, quiet spot away from the noise and stress while you or the movers finish bringing the boxes and furniture inside.

Because you’ve worked to make the cat carrier a safe place for your cat that carries their scent, this can help ease them into a new environment without overwhelming them.

It can also be tough to supervise your cat amid the moving chaos. Cats are fast and sneaky and can easily slip out of an open door without someone noticing, especially if they’re anxious to return to their old, familiar environment.

Keeping your cat in their carrier will keep them safe and contained until you can adequately supervise their behaviour.

6. Set Up a Safe Room with Familiar Smells

Once the movers have gone, and all your furniture and boxes are in your new home, you’ll want to set up a safe room for your cat.

Make sure your cat has everything they need inside the room, like food, water, and a litter box. Then, add in furniture, blankets, or beds they had at the last house. These items still carry familiar smells that can help make their new space feel more like home.

Check the room over for potential escape routes. Make sure all the windows are secure, and there are no fireplaces, vents, or other spaces where your cat can slip out.

Once the room is set up and ready, let your cat out of their carrier. Keep them in this room until they’ve had a chance to settle and adjust to the new space. Feed them, play with them, and spend time with them in this space to help make the transition easier.

7. Slowly Introduce Your Cat to the House

Once your cat has enough time to adjust to their safe room, you can start introducing them to other parts of the house. You’ll know your cat is ready to explore when they’ve begun to act more like their usual self again.

Slowly introduce your cat to your home room-by-room, giving them access to only one room at a time. Monitor your cat’s behaviour and watch their body language closely. If they seem excited and ready to explore further, you can take them into a new area.

Make Moving Day Easier with BUDDYPET Marley. 

The most important thing you can do for your cat during the moving process is to minimise their stress as much as possible. This will help make the transition to a new environment easier and help them bond to their new home quicker.

BUDDYPET Marley is 100% raw, pure, cold-pressed Tasmanian hemp seed oil and it could help naturally ease your cat’s anxiety to make their moving day a breeze.


Photo by Paul Hanaoka on Unsplash

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