How to Keep Your Indoor Cat from Running Away When You Move to a New House
Moving into a new home is stressful enough but doing so with a cat can add even more stress to the situation. Cats don’t handle change well, and they’re natural escape artists. This means that moving to a new house can easily lead to your feline friend running away.
But with a little preparation, you can keep your indoor cat safe and inside when you move into a new house. Here are a few tips to help prevent your cat from running away when you move:
Why Does Your Cat Want to Run Away?
Cats are creatures of habit, and changes to their normal way of life are very stressful for them. Moving into a new home is one of the biggest changes that can happen to your cat, and this stress can even cause an indoor-only cat to want to flee.
Many times, especially if you’ve moved to another home nearby, your cat may try to run back to their previous house. Cats are territorial, and until they’ve established a strong bond with their new home, they’ll still associate their old house with food, shelter, and safety.
6 Ways to Keep Your Cat from Running Away
If you’re planning a move with your cat soon, here are 6 ways to keep your indoor cat safe and prevent them from escaping your new home.
1. Fit Your Cat with an ID Collar and Microchip
While you don’t want your cat to run away, it’s always a good idea to be prepared for the worst. Before you move, get your cat comfortable with wearing a collar and an ID tag. Make sure the ID tag has your new address and an up-to-date phone number where you can be reached.
The best option is to also have your cat microchipped and the information on the chip updated to your new address. Your cat may slip out of their collar if they run away, but they can’t get rid of their microchip.
2. Leave Your Cat in Their Carrier at First
Transport your cat to their new home in a carrier that they’re comfortable with. Make sure they have enough room inside to move around and put a blanket, item of clothing, or something else with a familiar smell inside.
When you get to the new home, don’t let your cat out of the carrier yet. Instead, put them in a safe location away from the stress and noise of the movers and keep them in their carrier while you finish bringing boxes and furniture into the house.
Cats can easily slip out of an open door amid the moving chaos, especially if they’re scared by noise and new people. That’s why it’s best to keep them in an enclosed carrier until you can supervise them.
3. Set Up a Safe Room with Familiar Smells
Once you’ve moved everything into your home, set up a designated room for your cat to stay in. You’ll want to include all of the essentials in this room, including food, water, and a litter box. It’s also important to fill the room with familiar items from your previous home. Add items like cat trees, toys, and bedding that all carry familiar scents to help your kitty feel safe.
When you’re ready, release your cat from their carrier and let them explore. But keep them confined to their safe room while they get used to the transition. Spend time with them in this temporary room to help them feel more comfortable until they’re ready to explore more.
4. Block Off All Escape Routes
Make sure that all possible escape routes are blocked off, not just in your cat’s safe room but everywhere in the house. Accidents can happen and your cat may get out of their safe room, so it’s vital to prepare ahead of time.
Check that all these spots are closed, sealed, or otherwise blocked off from your cat:
5. Slowly Allow Access to the Rest of the House
After your cat has had time to get used to their safe room and they seem to be behaving more normally, you can slowly open up access to other rooms in the house.
Take this room-by-room and watch your cat’s body language to determine when they’re ready to explore a new area. Too much freedom at once can be overwhelming, so make sure to go at your cat’s pace.
Feed your cat small meals or extra treats in all these new areas to start building positive associations with their new home. The quicker they get to know their new house, the less likely they are to run away and try to return to their old home.
6. Maintain Your Usual Routines
Routines give your cat a sense of safety and security, and they’re also something familiar that they associate with their old house.
It may be tough with the hectic nature of moving, but try to maintain the same feeding and play schedules that your cat is accustomed to. You should also take extra care not to change anything else about your cat’s routine – like the type of food or litter that they use.
The more consistency you can give your cat, the easier it will be for them to adjust to their new home. And that means a reduced chance of them running away.
7. Consider Pheromone Diffusers
If your cat still seems anxious following the move, pheromone sprays and diffusers can be a good way to keep them calm. Pheromone sprays mimic feline facial pheromones that cats use to mark their territories, and they can be useful for creating a more reassuring environment in the new house.
In addition, make sure to consult with your veterinarian about your cat’s anxiety. They will be able to suggest additional methods – like medications or behavioral therapies – that may help your cat feel more comfortable in their new home.
Make Moving with Your Cat as Easy as Possible
The most important thing you can do when you move with your cat is to minimize their stress in whatever way possible. By following the tips above, you can help them adjust to their new surroundings and minimize the risk that they’ll run away in search of their old home.
Remember, moving can be incredibly stressful for cats, so be patient and take things at your cat’s pace. With a little bit of time and effort, you’ll have a happy and content feline by your side in no time!