by Ethan Greenfieldon Nov 23, 2022.
So, your move is over – things went more or less according to plan and now you’re in your new home with your family, your pets, and your belongings. You know that there is still a lot of work to do (unpacking, setting up your new home, updating documents, etc.) but you’re greatly relieved that the moving ordeal is behind you and nothing horrible happened.
If you moved house with a cat, however, your relief may be short lived – it’s not rare for cats to get lost after moving and your feline friend may go missing too.
Cats are creatures of habit and do not cope well with change – moving to a new house is very stressful for them. They may get scared and confused and may try to escape – and if they manage to get out of the house, they may easily get lost.
As wary of change as they may be, cats are also very curious beings who love to explore – and when you move to a new place, there is a lot of new territory to explore. If your curious furry friend goes exploring after the move, however, they may get lost in the unfamiliar surroundings and may not be able to find the way back to your still unfamiliar new home.
Whatever the reason, if your cat goes missing after the move, you will want nothing more than to find them and bring them back home.
Fortunately, the chances of finding a cat lost after moving house are pretty high – especially if the pet has been microchipped before the move.
Here is what to do when your cat goes missing after moving house so you get reunited with your little friend as soon as possible.
Step 1. Search the house
Your first step if your cat goes missing after the relocation is to check the house – your lost pet may not be lost at all, they may be simply hiding somewhere in the house.
Cats deal with fear by hiding, so your scared kitty may have found a secret place to hide and may be reluctant to come out.
If, on the other hand, your furry friend is not very fearful, they may have decided to explore the new surroundings and may have got trapped somewhere – or may just be napping in an unexpected place (at the bottom of the closet, on an attic beam, etc.).
So, be sure to check every nook and cranny of the house and look in every corner, every cabinet, every drawer, every box, etc.
If your cat is definitely not in the house, start looking outside.
Step 2. Search around the house
You’ve just moved house – it’s a new environment and your cat is unlikely to venture too far away in the unfamiliar surroundings. Hence, there is a high chance that your missing furry friend is hiding somewhere near the house – in the garden, in the garage, etc.
So, try to stay calm and search around the house – check in the garage and in the shed, look inside dustbins and under hedges, etc. Be sure to check all the places where your cat could get stuck.
While searching, keep calling your cat by name and listen for the sound of scratching or faint meows.
If you still cannot find your cat, check with your neighbors.
Step 3. Ask your neighbors to check their properties
Your missing cat may have wandered into a neighboring property, so you need to ask your neighbors to check their garages, sheds, and gardens.
If you haven’t introduced yourself to your new neighbors yet, now is the time to do so – visit the people living on either side of your new home, across the road, and in properties behind your backyard, explain that your cat is missing, and politely ask for help.
With some luck, your furry friend may soon be returned to you and you may find good friends among your new neighbors.
See also: How to befriend your new neighbors after moving
Step 4. Try to lure your cat back home
Your lost kitty may be confused by the unfamiliar surroundings and may not be able to find the way back to your home – or may not recognize the new house as “home”. So, you need to do everything possible to attract your furry friend to the house:
- Put a bowl of your cat’s favorite food at your doorstep – the kitty might catch the smell and come for a snack;
- Put your cat’s litter box outside – your feline friend will recognize the scent and the box and will know that home is here;
- Put your cat’s bed and favorite blanket by the front door – the familiar scent will attract your pet to the house;
- Leave some clothes or towels that smell like you outside your door – your cat will be attracted by the scent;
- Spend time outside talking on the phone or talking to someone – cats are known to be attracted to their human’s voice, so, if your kitty hears your voice, they may come back to you.
Step 5. Check your old home (in the event of a local move)
As already mentioned above, cats are territorial creatures – so, after escaping the unfamiliar new home, your feline friend may attempt to get back to their old territory (that is, to your old place).
If you moved short distance, your missing cat might be able to find their way to your former house – so, you should look there. Search the entire area and check your cat’s favorite spots and usual hideouts. Let the new residents of your old home know that your cat has gone missing and may be on their way back. Alert your old neighbors too – ask them to look out for your furry friend and call you immediately if they see the kitty.
If your cat is not aggressive, ask the people currently living in your old home or your previous neighbors to pick them up and secure them somewhere safe until you get there.
Step 6. Contact the microchip database
It is much easier to find a cat missing after moving house if the pet is microchipped – and the owner’s contact details on the microchip ID are up to date.
If you’ve had your cat microchipped before the move, let the microchip database know that your pet is lost as soon as possible – so they can register the kitty as missing.
This way, if someone finds your cat and brings them to a shelter or vet where the microchip ID can be read, they’ll know to call you and you’ll be quickly reunited with your furry friend.
Bonus tip: When moving with microchipped pets, be sure to update your contact details on the microchip database immediately after the move.
Step 7. Contact local vets and animal shelters
Lost cats are often brought to vet clinics or animal shelters by people who think they’re strays or who believe (quite correctly) that a lost pet has a better chance of getting reunited with their human when left at a local shelter.
If your cat wears a collar displaying your contact details and someone finds them, they will call you and will return your pet to you. If your missing kitty isn’t wearing a collar though, if someone finds them, they will most likely bring the cat to a vet clinic or animal shelter in the area.
So, be sure to call local vets, animal shelters, animal rehoming charities, animal rescue centers, and boarding catteries and give them a description of your missing furry friend (age, sex, color, distinguishing coat patterns and marks, etc.) to find out if anyone has brought in a cat matching your pet’s features.
If your cat is not there, leave them your number along with several photos of your pet, so that they can call you in case your missing friend is eventually brought in.
Don’t forget to check lost and found pet websites and shelter websites too – people often post cats they’ve found on these sites.
Step 8. Put up missing cat posters and posts
Last but not least, you need to let as many people as possible know that you’re looking for your missing pet and ask for help:
- Make missing cat posters (include a large, clear photograph of your cat, a couple of smaller ones showing the kitty from different angles, your pet’s name, sex, and age, and your telephone number as a contact) and put them up around the neighborhood (and around your old neighborhood as well);
- Make flyers with the same photos and information and put them in letterboxes around the area;
- Publish a missing cat notice in the local newspaper;
- Register your cat on a national lost pet database;
- Post your cat’s pictures and description on lost and found pet websites and on your social media pages.
Bonus tip: Consider offering a reward to anyone who helps you find your pet – it will motivate people to actively look out for your cat.
While waiting for someone to contact you with information about your missing cat, keep actively searching for your little friend – walk around the area, calling out your kitty’s name (don’t forget to take a torch to check any dark corners and be sure to have a pack of your cat’s favorite treats with you), search the entire area between your new home and your old one (if you moved locally), check empty properties where a cat could easily remain unnoticed, check places where a lost cat could find food or warmth, etc.
Hopefully, with the above tips on how to find a lost cat after moving, you will be able to quickly and easily reunite with your dear pet. Still, it’s much better to prevent your cat from going missing in the first place, so be sure to do everything possible to keep your furry friend safe during and after the move and help them adjust to the new home, so they feel calm, happy, and comfortable there and don’t try to escape.
Must-read: How to make a cat feel comfortable in a new home