Tip for moving with an outdoor cat so they don’t run away

Our question this week was:

I am moving 100 miles from my present location. What can I do to help my cats with this move so they don’t run away?

Debra Parker


Hi – thanks for your email. Here are a few tips to help you transition your indoor/outdoor cats to a new location.

In general, the rule of thumb is if your cats are outdoor cats; don’t let them outside for at least three weeks if possible. Let them learn the new house, its sounds and layout and let them associate you and the new home with safety and food. They can also get familiar with the new scents in the house and around the house.

As your cats become more comfortable in the new home, open the windows and screen doors (make sure the screens are secure) to allow them to smell the outside environment.

As you eventually allow them to go out, go out with them. If possible, keep them on a leash as they explore their immediate environment then put them back in. Gradually give them more independence, as they seem comfortable and familiar with their outdoor environment.

Always make sure their identification is up to date. This also goes for indoor only cats – you would be surprised how many indoor cats get out in the move by people going in and out and these poor cats have NO clue where they are and they don’t have a collar, tag or microchip! Get new collar tags with your current address and phone number.

Because collars can fall off, the safest course is to also microchip your cat and make sure the contact information is updated. You must contact the microchipping company to update the database with your new information.

An article that might be helpful to you is Moving with Your Cat.

Best of luck!

Dr. Debra

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