About authors

Image of partner

Nathalie Sari - Tiertraining & Verhaltensberatung

This article was written by TOBALIE in cooperation with Nathalie Sari - Tiertraining & Verhaltensberatung

The move to a new home is imminent and you are worried that your beloved pet will not tolerate the relocation well? Especially cats are not very happy when they have to leave their familiar environment. How can you help your pet to make the move with cat, dog and co. as stress-free as possible? 

Difference dog and cat

It should be mentioned in advance that every animal is an individual with individual needs, habits and behaviours. That is  why you can not say that cats have difficulties when moving to a new housing and dogs do not. Moving can be extremely stressful for dogs as well. On the other hand, there are cats for whom a move causes little to no problems. 

Nevertheless, it is more common for cats (both outdoor and indoor) to find it more difficult than dogs to cope with change and, above all, a change of location. Among other things, this may have to do with their distinctive territorial behaviour. In addition, cats are creatures of habit that appreciate daily routines. Although daily routines are also important for dogs, they are usually more adaptable, because they are more often led into new situations than cats. But as said, this is assuming the majority, exceptions prove the rule. 

Dogs, on the other hand, are usually more relaxed when it comes to leaving their familiar surroundings. Although they are also creatures of habit who feel comfortable in their familiar home, the proximity of the reference person can help dogs as social creatures with the possible stress of moving. Of course, this also applies to cats, who can feel safer and more secure in the presence of their loved one. 

So, not every cat and dog reacts the same way to a change of residence. However, if you notice some behavioural or physical reactions in your darling, then you should react. Even if you know in advance that your pet will certainly have big problems with the situation, the following points can be quite helpful. 

Tip: It is beneficial for both dogs and cats to practice relaxing in unfamiliar surroundings. So take your pet to a friend’s house every now and then and spend the day there. Reward your darling for calm behaviour. This will save you a lot of stress when you move to another flat or house.

Banner App

Moving with cat and dog: The preparation

As with so many things in life, good preparation is very important. Good planning can help your pet immensely to survive the unfamiliar situation as stress-free as possible. So what can you do ahead of time?

  • Obtain consents: In the worst case scenario, your pet would have to move again after only a short time if your new landlord says no to pets.  If your cat is used to being outdoors, you should also consult your (direct) neighbours in good time to see if they have any objections. For this, of course, the possibility must be given to let your kitten outside. 
  • Check conditions: Are there, for example, exercise areas for your dog in the vicinity of the new home? Are there veterinarians in the area? Yes, you should also ask yourself these questions in advance. Take a look at our map.
  • Safety first: The new apartment is on the 5th floor, has a balcony or similar and your cat is not used to the height? Then you should definitely take precautions in advance (cat fences, fences in gardens, etc.). 
  • Training: If your cat is very afraid of the transport box, it is definitely useful to positively condition the box in advance. Also (long) car rides can be an enormous stress factor for dogs and cats. These and other situations can be “tested” in advance. If you have questions about this, you can contact an animal trainer
  • Help from nature: Meanwhile, there are some natural tools that can make the stressful move easier for your beloved pet. Valerian, or CBD drops, for example, can have an anxiety-relieving and calming effect. In very severe cases, you can also ask your veterinarian about calming medications. 
  • Good planning: The relocation of your pet should, if possible, not take too much time, such as waiting for a long time in a transport box. The faster and more structured the process, the less stress for your beloved friend. Especially very anxious animals will benefit from this.
  • Hire a pet sitter: If possible, you can leave your pet in the care of another person on the moving day and only bring him to the “made home” afterwards.
  • Prepare the new home: If the possibility exists, the new home should be already cleaned (attention: No poisonous cleaning products) and animal-fair furnished. This is the best way to move in. Tips for furnishing can be found here: Dog home or cat home
  • Get to know the surroundings: You can take your dog for a walk in the new surroundings weeks before the move. Possible neighbour dogs can also be sniffed on neutral ground best. This will make him feel more comfortable later on. If your cat is used to the leash, you can also explore the new surroundings with him step by step. 

Moving with cat or dog: On the day itself

Everything is prepared and planned, now the day of the move can come. Even on the day itself, you can follow some things to make it as comfortable as possible for your pet.

  • Keep a routine: Do you go for a walk at the same time every day or always feed your kitty or dog after you get up? Then keep that routine the same on moving day.
  • Keep calm: Most animals are true masters at sensing human emotions. The more stress you give off, the more stressed your pet may feel.
  • Less food during the day itself: Very anxious or stressed animals in particular can be prone to nausea and vomiting. Especially if the car ride or the like is longer, a full stomach can be rather counterproductive.
  • Always fulfill their needs: Make sure your pet always has access to fresh water. The litter box should also always be accessible. Schedule times for walks. Of course, attention and the opportunity to retreat should never be neglected. 
  • Sequence: Either you have a care, or you leave your darling a cozy place in the old home, where he may stay until the end. Only when the new home is ready, your darling may move along with his favourite things. Avoid leaving your pet alone in unfamiliar surroundings or leading it back and forth unnecessarily.  
  • Always be there: Leaving your pet alone in its new home or confining it to another room can cause additional stress for many animals. It’s best to stay close to your darling at all times that day or have your pet in care, otherwise your pet may not love the new home as much. 

Tips for a stress-free new home

The move has gone more or less well? Then it’s time to get used to the new circumstances. What can you do to help your pet in this regard?

  • Have patience: Even the most anxious cat and the most nervous dog will get used to the new place of residence over time. This is where your patience and empathy is needed. Give your darling the time he/she needs to explore the new home. Pressure usually accomplishes the opposite. 
  • Start small: Some animals, and especially cats, benefit from being allowed to explore their new home bit by bit. This works best if your pet first finds all his familiar things like toys, sleeping place, food and drinking bowl, litter box, scratching post, etc. in one room. Then, over time, you can make the territory accessible piecemeal, room by room.
  • Free-rangers should wait: If your cat has been used to outdoor access, it is recommended to wait until she can go outside. Only when the new home is accepted as a new safe territory, your darling may go outside. The first time under supervision of course.
  • Explore the area: Dogs are usually more uncomplicated in this respect, but it is still important to get to know the surroundings first. An extensive walk in your new place of residence can help your dog to make new friends faster.
  • Change of data: Don’t forget to register your pet with your household insurance and update the microchip data.  
Cat between a lot of boxes


Moving with a cat or dog can could be a big problem. Especially cats are usually more sensitive to the change of location as they are not used to being in strange places. But also for some dogs such a move can mean enormous stress. Fortunately, there are some things you can do as an owner to help your darling. So all two, human and pet, will feel quickly comfortable in their new home.