Need Advice on Moving with Cats!


TCS Member
Thread starter
Apr 14, 2012
So the time for my big move is quickly approaching- less than a week away! I think I have finalized my plan for my two precious felines but I would love any advice from those who have successfully moved with cats before. 

Logistically, we are moving from a one bedroom (750sq/ft) to another one bedroom (800sq/ft). Because of this, I don't see a way to have them present for the actual move. I thought about confining them to the bathroom in each place but I worry that just the noise is going to freak them out, and the risk of them bolting when someone inevitably has to pee is just too high. So, as of now, the plan is that the day before I will take them over to my Dad's house and get them set up with all their necessities. They will be confined to one large room so I hope it will be big enough for them to run around and play but small enough that it isn't too overwhelming. As soon as we get their stuff set up at the new place we will go get them and move them back. They should only be at my Dad's for two days maximum. I know this is going to be extremely stressful for them but I do think it will be less stressful than being confined to a small bathroom or their carriers all day. That said, I am all ears if someone has a reason why I should do it differently! 

Aside from what to physically do with them during the move, my big questions/concerns are these:

- The place we are in now has been the only home they have ever known. Ella has been here since she was 13 weeks (now she's 4) and Diego was actually born here. So, I'm super worried about how they will adjust to a new environment. Does anyone have any tips or suggestions on how to make things any easier on them?

- Once we get them to the new place, how should I best introduce them to it? I have read it's best to confine them to just one room to start and then slowly expand their area, but again, it's just a one bedroom apartment. If I did that it means they would have to be in the bedroom and that eventually I would have to move their litterbox, ect out of there to a new spot. Is it best to draw it out and move their stuff twice or just get it all set up and let them have free reign from the beginning? 

- Has anyone tried or had any success with a Thundershirt? Diego already suffers from some serious anxiety and I want to do whatever I can to try and minimize his stress. Anyone think this is worth trying, or has anyone had success with other products? I have tried a feliway calming diffuser in the past and not noticed any change in his anxiety level. 

I really appreciate any tips/suggestions that anyone has. I've never moved with cats before and just want to try and do what is best for them! 

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TCS Member
Super Cat
Jan 6, 2014
Great White North
We bought in 1983. Before we actually moved our stuff, we brought the cat over with us, and all three of us explored the empty house together. The next time he saw the house, all of our stuff had been moved in. The cat and the plants and a few other precious items were the last to move. So, the house was somewhat familiar and the stuff was very familiar. This was a very adventurous cat, though. Not much phased him.


TCS Member
Top Cat
Jul 6, 2012
Last few times l moved l left the cats behind on the moving trip (furniture) and went back for them when we were done.

l set them up in one bedroom with litter, food and water. With a sign on the door not to open, and barricaded closed with the last chair to be loaded on the truck.

The days before the move l made sure absolutely everything was out of that room except the cats - the bed, dressers, clothes, curtains, pictures, everything. Then on the morning of the move l barricaded them in. All the noise and chaos was then outside their room - they could hear it but they weren't part of it. So we loaded, drove to the new house, unloaded, returned the moving truck, then went back for the cats, carriers, and stuff.

l figured it would be less stressful on them to be in exposed to the strange noise in their own territory rather than on the new house end, otherwise l would have moved them first and barricaded them into a bedroom there.

My cats were pretty adventurous too, they seemed to really enjoy exploring the new house. l had Tanner and Thai the first time and they seemed to switch personalities after the move 
 Sounds odd, l know, but it stuck. l didn't confine mine. l put the boxes side by side in the unused bedroom, closed the basement door, and left it to them to decide.

Good luck with your move.