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My Cat Is Hiding After a Move To a New Home, Should I Worry?

A cat hiding under a couch

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Dr. Paola Cuevas

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Moving isn’t just a stressful experience for humans. Pets can also feel stressed, especially because they may not initially understand that they’re permanently moving away from their old home.

So, if your cat is hiding after you’ve moved to a new home, you don’t have to worry too much. It’s normal behavior for cats to hide when they’re placed in a new environment or situation. Here’s what you can do to help your scared kitty as it becomes accustomed to its new home.

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5 Tips to Help a Scared Cat After a Move To a New Home

1. Stay Calm and Act Normal

Contrary to popular belief, cats are able to sense and recognize emotional signals from humans. So, there’s a good chance that they picked up on any stress that you’ve had during your move. They may not understand exactly what the cause of this stress was, which can make them feel more anxious in the uncertainty.

Therefore, one of the best things you can do for your cat is to remain calm and create a peaceful environment in your new home. You may be worried about your cat hiding, but this worry can cause cats to feel more uncertain or unsafe in their new surroundings.

cat hiding under furniture
Image Credit: PollyDot, Pixabay

2. Follow Your Usual Routine

Cats are very observant of their owners, so there’s a good chance that your cat’s watching your movements in the new home. If you can, try to be consistent with any previous routines you’ve had in your old home.

For example, if you had a consistent morning routine in your old home, try to deliberately transfer that routine to your new home. This repetition can show your cat that you’re doing the same routines in a new environment, which can make the new environment feel safer with time.


3. Place Your Cat’s Belongings in a Quiet Area

The whole living space may be too big of a transition for your cat. So, you can put your cat’s things in a quiet and safe area of the home. A smaller bedroom will be less daunting than a vast and open living room.

A small room for your cat can also be beneficial if you anticipate a lot of new furniture to come in after you’ve moved in with your cat. The additional foot traffic and drop-off of large and bulky items can be intimidating for your cat. So, the ability to hide in a secluded room from all the unknown actions can help your cat feel safer in its new home.

american short hair cat sitting
Image Credit: Puripat Lertpunyaroj, Shutterstock

4. Encourage Your Cat To Explore on Its Own

Don’t try to force your cat out of hiding. You can try to lure it out with toys and treats, but if your cat is adamant about staying hidden, it’s completely fine. Forcing your cat to do something it’s not comfortable with can make your cat feel even more unsafe and develop a negative association with your new home.


5. Act Reassuringly Towards Your Cat

There’s a good chance that your cat may have felt a little overlooked while you were busy with your move. Make sure to provide the proper amount of attention to your cat when in your new home.

Provide plenty of opportunities for your cat to play with its favorite toys with you. You can also encourage your cat to come out of hiding with some of its favorite treats.

divider-catWhen To Be Concerned

a grey kurilian bobtail on a cat tree
Image Credit: aksarah, Pixabay

It can take a cat a couple of weeks to start venturing out from hiding. If your cat’s eating fairly normally and using its litter box, you don’t have to worry too much. However, if you notice visible signs of significant distress, such as an unkempt coat, urine marking, and complete loss of appetite for several days, reach out to your veterinarian.

You can also enlist the help of a reputable cat behaviorist, who can help create an environment that feels safe for your cat.

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Tips for Preparing Your Cat for a Move

Many pet owners wish that they could just verbally explain to their pets about moving and have their pets understand them. However, this just isn’t possible. Even if your cat understood the concept of moving, it could still feel stressed out.

While a perfectly smooth move into a new home may not be possible, there are a few things you can try to do to make the transition easier for your cat.

Plan a Couple Visits to the New Home With Your Cat

If you’ve secured a new home and have early access to it before you completely move in, try to schedule some visits with your cat. These visits can help your cat become familiar with the new home. You can even place some of its favorite treats or let your cat have a meal in the new home to create a positive association with the new environment.

cat with pee pads in carrier
Image Credit: shamek, Shutterstock

Slowly Move Your Cat’s Belongings to the New Home

A gradual transition can be easier to handle than a sudden shift. As you have your cat visit the new home, bring some of its favorite toys with you and keep them there. Then, subsequent visits will have your cat’s favorite things waiting for it in the new home. You can even bring a spare litter box to the new home to make it more familiar to your cat.

Remain As Calm as Possible

Moves are notorious for being stressful, so it can be difficult to remain calm while you’re in the middle of one. Make sure to take care of your own mental and emotional well-being during this time.

Try to also set aside time that you can spend with your cat. If your cat’s a cuddler, allow space for your cat to snuggle up to you and rest. Do your best to keep regular play sessions in your daily schedule. Little things like these can keep your cat feeling reassured and less anxious throughout the moving process. divider-cat

Wrap Up

Moving to a new home can be challenging for both humans and pets. So, you can be easy on your cat if it spends its first couple of weeks hiding in its home. Some of the best things you can do during this time are to resume your usual routines and remain calm.

Eventually, your cat will most likely warm up to its new living space and act like its usual self again.


Featured Image Credit: Rawpixel.com, Shutterstock

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