First, cat-proof the new house. Tuck away electrical cords,
plug up nooks where a cat could get stuck, make sure that all windows have
secure screens, remove any poisonous houseplants and confirm that no
pest-control poison traps have been left anywhere in the house.
Immediately take your cat to a room that will remain
relatively quiet. Before opening the carrier, set up your cat’s food and water
dishes, litter box and bed. Place some cat treats around the room to encourage
your cat to explore.
Keep your cat in this one “home-base” room for his first
several days in the new house. This will allow him to gradually get used to the
sights, sounds and smells of his new home without feeling overwhelmed. Keeping
your cat in one room will also make it easy for him to find his litter box,
food and water. If you’re adding a new cat to a home where there are existing
pets, please see Introducing Your Dog
to a New Cat or Introducing
Your Cat to a New Cat.
Spend time with your cat in his home-base room, at first doing
low-key activities like reading or watching TV. When he begins to explore,
offer your cat attention, treats and playtime.
When the flurry of unpacking is over, gradually give your cat
access to the rest of the house, one room at a time. If it’s not possible to
close doors to limit his access, closely supervise your cat during short
Provide a second litter box where you’ll want to keep one
permanently. Keep the box available in the home-base room for at least a few
weeks. Once your cat has settled in, you can remove that box. Alternatively,
you can keep the home-base litter box but gradually transfer it to a preferable
location. To make sure your cat doesn’t lose track of where it is, move the box
just a foot or so away from the home-base room and toward your preferred
location each day.