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How can I help my cat adjust to a new home?

Cats can find moving to a new home stressful. There are measures you can take to reduce that stress and ensure a smooth transition ​[1]​.

  • Travel – Provide safety and stress relief in the form of a suitable cat carrier with familiar bedding (e.g., favourite blanket).
  • Security – Make sure that all doors and windows are shut and that any other escape routes, are blocked. Update your details on the microchip registry, at the local veterinary clinic and on your cat’s identification tag, so if your cat goes missing, they can be returned to you.
  • Prepare a room for your cat – Slowly ease them into their new home by confining your cat to one room in the house for a couple of days with everything they need (e.g., a comfortable bed, favourite blanket and toys, scratching post, litter tray, food, water).
  • Gentle encouragement – Release your cat in the prepared room when the household is as quiet as possible, and sit with them while they explore their new space. Encourage them to explore by hiding small amounts of dry food.
  • Exploring the rest of their new home – Over the next few days, make more areas available to them.
  • Enrichment – Enrichment involves mentally and physically stimulating activities that engage an animal’s mind, body, and senses (e.g., smell, taste, sound, smell, touch). Ensuring that your cat can engage with enrichment items and activities will help them have positive experiences, and cope with any potential stress.
  • Introducing unfamiliar animals – If your cat is meeting unfamiliar animals for the first time, ensure they have separate resources, and introduce them gradually. For more information see the Knowledgebase articles listed below.
  • Pheromone spray or pheromone diffusers made specifically for cats may help make your cat feel calmer as they adjust to their new environment.

The RSPCA encourages owners to keep their cats contained to their property. Keeping a cat contained is especially important when moving to a new home because your cat will be unfamiliar with the area. See the RSPCA Guide on Keeping Your Cat Safe and Happy at Home for more information.


​​[1] Horowitz D, Pike A (2016) Introducing a new cat into a household. Feline Behavioural Health and Welfare.

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Updated on March 3, 2023
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