Letting your cat outside after moving house should be approached gradually, allowing your cat to settle into the new environment. Here are some tips on making it less stressful.
Keep your cat inside for at least two weeks to get used to the new house.
Ensure that your cat has some form of identification such as:
- o a quick-release collar (with name, address, contact number)
- o a microchip (remember to update the microchip company with your new address)
- Ensure your cat’s vaccinations are up to date.
- Consider fitting a cat flap to allow outdoor access once your cat is settled (ideally magnetically or microchip controlled to avoid other cats entering the house).
- Chase away cats if you see them in your garden to help your cat establish its territory.
Introduce your cat to the outdoors gradually:
- Start by opening the door and letting your cat find their way out, go together into the garden.
- If your cat has a harness then it may be useful to walk your cat around the garden on a lead.
- Do not carry your cat outside, allow them to decide if they want to explore.
- Keep the door open initially so that your cat can return indoors easily.
- Timid cats may take more time to adapt to a new environment and should be accompanied outside until they build up their confidence.
Preventing your cat from returning to his old home:
Help your cat to settle in by:
- Provide small frequent meals
- Maintain routines adopted in previous house to provide continuity
- Continue to use feline facial pheromone diffuser (Feliway)
- If your old home is nearby, your cat may find familiar routes that take it back.
Warn the new occupiers that your cat may return:
- Ask them to contact you if they see your cat nearby.
- Ask that they do not feed it or encourage it as this would be confusing for your cat
- It is beneficial to keep you cat inside for as long as possible if you have moved locally, however this may not be practical for many cats.
- If you cat becomes too stressed and persistently returns to your old home, or crosses busy roads to get there, it may be kinder and safer to see if the new occupier or neighbours agree to adopt it.
- Be aware that it can take months for a cat to get completely settled in a new environment.