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Why Is My Cat Hiding After a Move to a New Home?

We’ve all been in a situation where we’ve just moved house, and suddenly our cat is nowhere to be found. Cats may hide under the bed for a while after a move, and there are many reasons they might do this. It’s normal behavior, and there are plenty of things you can do to make the transition easier for your cat. Here’s the scoop on why your cat has gone MIA since you moved.

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Cats Are Territorial Animals

Cats are highly territorial animals. They are very protective of their territory and the people they allow in it. As a result, being moved from one territory to another is uncomfortable at best.

Your cat is probably missing her old territory and woefully underprepared for the concept of moving to a new one. She’s just been picked up and plopped in a whole new place all of a sudden!

It makes sense. You can’t ask your cat for her opinion on whether you should move or show her the new place in advance. She just has to roll with the punches, and that can be hard when you’re so tiny!

Until your cat recognizes your new home as their personal territory, they’ll probably treat it with cold trepidation. After all, it’s new to everyone involved!

cat lying on the floor hiding behind the curtain
Image Credit: Mantikorra, Shutterstock

New Surroundings

In addition to not having a say in whether you move, cats also hate change. They’re creatures of habit and prefer if things stay predictable and stable.

Your cat’s life has just been upended. She doesn’t know where she is or what kind of things may lurk in this new habitat she’s been thrown into.

While you know that your new home is safe, your cat doesn’t know what might be out there. Could there be another cat? A dog? What’s hiding under those throw pillows?

It’s just safer to stay under the bed where she can see everything she needs to see!

Moving Isn’t Fun

While it may be a rhetorical question, do you enjoy moving? Didn’t think so. Why would you expect your cat to enjoy something that most humans dread with all their hearts?

Your cat had to deal with you running around like a chicken with your head cut off while you prepared for the move, and she didn’t even know what it was for.

You probably weren’t as playful or snuggly; you may have even left her alone for extended periods (like when you were scouting out new places to plant your flag) when she would have preferred to have some quality time with you. She probably noticed that something was off but couldn’t ask you to explain what was going on.

Add that on to being picked up and dropped into a whole new world, and it’s no wonder your cat hates it here!

cat hiding behind the curtain
Image Credit: llaszlo, Shutterstock

How to Make Your Cat Feel More Comfortable in Your New Home

Unfortunately for your cat, moving is a certainty that they’ll have to contend with. You can do things for them to make the process more palatable. Here are some ways to help your cat adjust to their new home better.

Prepare a Safe Room

Start by preparing a safe room for your cat. Include everything your cat needs to live in this room, food, water, litter box, and enrichment. Fill the room with everyday items that your cat can recognize from their old home. Some of these items may even smell of the last house, which will help your cat feel safe and secure in this room.

Keep your cat in this room while you’re moving. This has two significant effects. First, it lets your cat know there is a place where they know they’re safe in this new home. Secondly, it helps keep them sequestered away from the moving action and reduces their stress around the move.

Luckily, with moving comes boxes, and boxes are a great low-cost cat toy that can be helpful with acclimating your cat to their new home. Boxes allow your cat to hide in safe places while exploring their new home.

Another thing you can add to your home is a pheromone diffuser. Diffusers like the ones made by Feliway emit pheromones that cats associate with safety. By filling your home with these pheromones, you signal to your cat that this is a safe place for them.

While your cat is in the safe room, try to stick to regular schedules. This isn’t the time to shake up your whole life. Your cat will be stressed enough by default. So, keep them on familiar foods and feed them at the same time each day so that they know this place is their new home.

Ragamuffin cat lying in a cat bed
Image Credit: Ryo Nagashima, Shutterstock

Allow Them to Explore on Their Own

Your cat will explore the new home as they feel safe to do so. Never force your cat to leave the comfort of their safe room. Doing so will create negative associations with the new home for your cat.

Create Positive Associations

If you see your cat out and about, greet them and reward them for being brave. You can give them a treat or offer some toys for playtime when you see them help them have positive experiences in their new home.

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Final Thoughts

While moving isn’t fun for anyone, it’s especially stressful for your cat, who doesn’t understand why it’s happening.

Fortunately, there are many tactics you can employ to help your cat transition to your new home gracefully.

Getting your cat a Feliway diffuser and setting up a safe room is a great way to start your cat in the process of acclimating to their new home. Good luck!

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Featured Image Credit: Rawpixel.com, Shutterstock

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