5 Easy Ways to Help an Older Cat Adjust to a New Home

A curious cat peeks out of a cardboard box.

At some point in our lives, some of us will move to a new home. You could be moving because of a new job or because you can finally afford that dream house you’ve been saving on! Whichever the case, your cat doesn’t seem to share your excitement about getting a new place. Now you want to know how to help an older cat adjust to a new home.

Aside from how to help them adjust, some important questions are how long can cats adjust to their new homes? If your cat shows signs of being afraid or anxious, how can you help a scared cat adjust to a new home? Let’s explore the answers to these questions and find out the best way to help our furry pets!

How to help an older cat adjust to a new home

To help older cats adjust to a new home, you need to make sure first that everything is settled in terms of their paperwork. Make sure that your cat is microchipped and send the details to the microchip registrar. This will be a great help in extreme cases when you lose your cat in the new neighborhood.

Once you’ve settled in your new place, allow the cat to explore and adapt to the new home. Give them some time and be patient. Like people, cats usually take some time to get adjusted to the new space.

At this point, you can’t tell how long a cat will adjust to the new home. However, by making your interactions positive, it can help your cat build a feeling of trust and positivity.

5 Easy Ways to Help an Older Cat Adjust to a New Home

Try assigning your cat to a small area. Sometimes, allowing the cat free access to an entire house can be overwhelming which can contribute to feelings of anxiety. Set up a comfortable area with the cat’s litter tray, food, water bowl, and bed. You can also give the cat a cardboard box which can be a place where they can hide when they feel scared.

When bringing the cat to the new home, bring her directly to the new room. Don’t force the cat out of the carrier, instead, try to gently coax them out using treats or a soft voice. Avoid eye contact to signal to them that you are not threatening.

Consider using a cat pheromone like Feliway to calm and comfort them. It is artificial feel-good facial pheromones that you can rub against items and places that the cats are fond of. This will help your cat further adjust to the new home.

How long does it take a cat to adjust to a new home

cat to adjust to a new home

It truly depends on a lot of factors to determine how long a cat will adjust to a new home. Many pet owners suggest a timeframe between two and five days. However, you must consider your own cat’s personality and what the new environment has to offer to your pet.

Cats need a place that is calm, tranquil, and a place that they can feel safe. Cats are territorial creatures and they usually wouldn’t take kindly to moving them away from a place they’ve considered their property.

Change is not something that cats easily welcome. Many cats resort to hiding and even running away if they feel overwhelmed. Other cats would choose to voice out their dissatisfaction by excessive vocalization or avoiding their litter box.

However, with patience and a lot of effort, it’s not impossible for cats to eventually assimilate to their new surroundings. Be mindful of your cat’s behavior and always interact with them in a positive manner. Understand your cat’s history and take note of their unique quirks and personality.

Find out what they enjoy the most. Do they like spending time outdoors? Are they more comfortable being cuddled? What food do they like? Are they anxious around other pets or children? These factors will greatly dictate how long it takes a cat to adjust to a new home. The more they are provided comfort and safety, the faster they will adjust to their new home.

How to help a scared cat adjust to a new home

How to help a scared cat adjust to a new home

Once you move to a new house, sometimes it’s unavoidable to have in your hands a fearful cat. Your pet has been taken away from a comfortable place and into a strange new one which can be a very daunting experience even to people.

To help older and more relaxed cats adjust to a new home, you must provide reassurance of routine and comfort. On the other hand, to help a scared cat adjust to a new home, reassurance of safety and security comes first. As much as you can, try to keep other pets away from your cat, at least during the first few days. Other pets, particularly dogs can trigger the self-preservation instincts of your cat and may cause it to run away.

When dealing with scared cats, try to slowly boost their confidence. After confining her to a small and safe space, begin introducing other parts of the house. Let your cat familiarize the new place at their own pace. Coax your cat with treats and by moving their food bowl until they finally show signs of confidence when walking around the room.

Help a scared cat adjust to a new home by establishing some routine. Create a schedule you can follow like a consistent time for mealtime and playtime. Cats would become less fearful and anxious if they are used to a regular meal schedule. Making food a predictable occurrence will give your cat a sense of stability and safety. This way you can enable a scared cat to develop trust.

How to tell if a cat is adjusting to a new home

Know that we have some idea of how long a cat adjusts to a new home, it’s time to know if what you’re doing is working and if your cat is adjusting well. After a few weeks of settling down in your new house and doing your best to keep your cat comfortable, it is important to check if your cat still feels anxious or afraid of the new house. Below are some signs that your cat is doing well in adjusting to your new place:

Happy sounds

Happy sounds

While cats are usually silent most of the time, they do show satisfaction or express happiness through distinct sounds. The most obvious sign that your cat is happy is when you see it purring. Other sounds of course are chirruping and meowing. Cats often engage humans to meow when they feel especially active, energized, and happy.

Eating regularly

cat eating regularly

While we know that a well-fed cat is a happy cat, it also works the other way. Cats with a healthy appetite are an indicator that your cat is content and in a good mood. Conversely, a cat that’s not eating regularly can be a sign that something is wrong and a visit to the vet may be needed.

Using the litter box

Using the litter box

Happy cats are often more adept at using the litter box. These pets are very hygienic and thrive when their surroundings are clean. Anxious or scared cats usually pee outside the box.

Playful and active

Playful and active

This is where cats are like people. Whenever a cat is playful and active, it’s a sure indication that they’re happy and content. When you see your cat playing with their toys, it would mean that they’ve grown accustomed to the area. Anxious cats tend to hide and refuse invitations to play.


How to help a scared cat adjust to a new home

And perhaps the most intimate sign that your cats are happy is when they show affection by interacting with you while relaxing. Your cat has probably adjusted to your new home if you can see them enjoying snuggles and cuddles with you or even when they sit on your laps when you’re relaxing. When your cat sleeps with you on your bed, it means they trust you and are comfortable with you.


Cats are like most people. They are frightened of big changes. You must understand that while moving from one place to another may be natural or exciting for us humans, the experience can be a harrowing ordeal for our feline friends. Help older cats adjust to a new home by giving care, love, and stability to them. To help a scared cat adjust to a new home, you must reassure them with kindness and safety. While some cats can adjust between two to five days, some may take longer than that. Be patient and gentle with your cat because eventually, they’ll be able to appreciate your new home and call it their own.

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