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Published: Dec 16, 2011

Moving with a cat can be challenging, as a change in routine can cause stress or anxiety.  Cats are very territorial and often seem to find it difficult to accept a new space as their own.  According to VCA, moving with an outdoor cat can pose more of a challenge than with an indoor feline, as sometimes outdoor cats will try to run away—back to their old neighborhood. In many cases, it doesn't matter how far away the new house is from the old, the cat may still wander in pursuit of its old stomping grounds.

Before the move, get the cat an identification collar with your new address and phone number. Talk to your vet about getting the cat microchipped.  These identification devices are inserted under the skin and contain owner contact information.  They allow shelters to locate owners if an animal is brought in from the streets.

Once at the new house, keep the cat in its carrier in one room until all familiar items are unpacked. Then let the cat out, but keep it confined to the room.  Leave the door to the carrier open to give the cat a safe place to go if it gets overwhelmed.  This is important because excess stress may result in a sick cat. After all boxes have been brought in and the house is settled, let the cat out of the room to embrace the new surroundings. Make sure to give it lots of extra attention to let it know it’s here to stay.

When you feel the cat has adjusted to its new home, you can try to bring it outside, though always supervised. Use your own judgment as to when or if, you think it can be left outside alone.