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Settling cats into a new home black shorthair cat on bed

How to Tackle Settling the Cats into a new Home

Settling cats into a new home (or even one you’ve been in a while) can be a tricky scenario. And from what I’ve learnt as a cat dad, the personality of the kitty always effects how they’ll cope with change, too. I’ve moved my two cats into about three new homes each over the years, and most recently I transitioned them from my rental apartment in Richmond into my new forever home in Reservoir.

One of my cats, Mim (above), is super timid. She’s a little cat in every way; physically and personality-wise. She’s a gorgeous meek and mild lady, but she spooks easily. The moving house process for Mim always sees her retreat into the corner of a room or under a bed or shelf. She stays out of the action when I’m packing, and takes ages to explore the new house in its entirety once she’s in it.

Emi, on the other hand, is the wild one (pictured below). She’s got energy and she’s not afraid to throw it around. When she gets stressed, her eating is in no way effected (a bit like me actually!), and she tends to get more rambunctious during these times. She wants to be a part of the packing and investigate everything that’s going on. And once in the new house, she wants to be let loose immediately to check it out.

So with this latest move, I wanted to do it right. In the past Mim has not taken to litter trays in the new home, Emi has been aggressively stressed, and they’ve tended to get on each other’s nerves a fair bit. This is what I learned…

black and white short hair domestic kitten on bedding with grid pattern

Settling Cats into a New Home: Start with Scent

Before I moved Emi and Mim over from the old home to the new one, I tried a settling cats trick I’d seen on My Cat from Hell (such a good show for learning about your feline!).

I took one of the blankets they regularly sleep on – which has their scent on it – over to the new house and wiped the walls with it. This might seem weird, but what it does it puts the cats’ scent in the new home. The idea is what once they’re in, they’ll already smell themselves in the new environment and feel more comfortable being there.

It actually worked. This is the best transitioning into a new home they’ve ever had. Mim hasn’t missed the littler once!

cat pod bed from d and c lifestyle with black domestic shorthair cat

The cat beds above and below are from D&C Lifestyle. Website link further down.

black and white domestic shorthair cat in cat pod bed

Giving the Cats their Own Pieces

It was really timely that I was contacted by local brand D&C Lifestyle a week before I moved house. They sell a whole host of furniture and other goodies for dogs and cats, and they were nice enough to offer up a few of their cat beds and scratchers for my two girls to try out in their new abode.

I also rubbed Emi and Mim’s scent on the cat beds I got from D&C Lifestyle, to help them understand that these new beds were theirs and theirs alone. I put the cats beds near windows, where sun was going to stream in, and tried to put them in them as often as possible. The lesson learnt: cats hate being forced to do things. Initially they weren’t the slightest bit interested in the pieces and I was worried about the fate of the furniture.

At first I thought… maybe they don’t like them. But in true cat style, the moment I left them alone and stopped trying to get them into the beds, they jumped in, curled up and haven’t looked back.

cardboard cat scratcher and bed from D&C Lifestyle

Turns out Cat Furniture isn’t all ugly

One of the things I like about these cat beds is that they’re the most attractive pieces I’ve seen for cats in a while. One of the biggest first world problems I have as an interior stylist and decorating addict is trying to find cute pet stuff for the house. But these are adorable. They assemble in minutes too, and you have the option to put the lid on or leave it off. I left the lids off mine so the cats could jump in a bit easier.

Emi has also fallen head over heels for the scratcher above. Again, at first, she didn’t seem to like it when I kept putting her on it. It took only a few days of me ignoring it for her to explore it and work out how to scratch at it. She sleeps on this too. And thankfully it’s not ugly either. The bonus in all of this is that she hasn’t scratched the brand new sofa I got when we moved in. Praise the Lord above!

So, thankfully, the cats are settled in and loving the new place as much as I do. Mim has already had her first vom on the new carpet, so you know she’s back to her old self 😉

Black cat in window domestic shorthair cat bed

My top 5 tips for Settling Cats in a new Home

  1. Rub their scent in the new space, and on new things you’re giving them.
  2. Buy them some of their own pet beds and position them in sunny spots.
  3. Keep the cats in the one room at first, slowly opening them up to the rest of the house.
  4. Let them explore the new home and the new beds at their own leisure. Don’t force it on them.
  5. And when it comes to littler, decide early on where the trays will go. Moving them around a lot confuses the cat and can lead to accidents.

* To explore the D&C Lifestyle website, click here.
I got my Emi & Mim the Hepper Cat Pod and the Infinity Scratcher.

What have you found worked for you when it came to settling cats into your new home? I’d love to get some ideas from you in the comments below.


Chris Carroll

Outside of writing this blog, Chris is an interior designer, presenter and author. He’s also spent time on TV, on Channel 10’s Changing Rooms, as well presenting segments on Channel 7’s Sunrise and The Morning Show. If you’d like to book a design consult with Chris, you can find out more here

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I’m interior designer Chris Carroll, and at TLC Interiors we’re all about helping you create an amazing home without breaking the bank. It’s affordable designer style at its best, and we make the whole process easy and fun for clients & readers alike!

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