My Cat Won’t Eat After Moving to a New House. How Can I Get My Cat to Eat?

Skylar Dial
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Question: I just moved to a new place and now my cat won’t eat. How can I help him?

Cats are endearing creatures with personalities of their own.

You love them through and through, even when they’re being contrary.

Your cat may be struggling with the move to a new environment. This can cause your feline pal to act out.

Perhaps he didn’t like the ride in the moving truck. Maybe he’s overwhelmed in the strange new place.

It’s very possible that your cat is embarrassed that he can’t use the new litter box set up just yet.

Or, he’s grieving the loss of a loved one at the old place who he won't see anymore.

But it’s also possible that your cat has a common illness or condition.

This can make him unwilling to eat, and even more uncooperative. However, there are a few tricks of the trade that you can try to encourage your furry friend to eat – and keep eating.

The good news is that if you can get your cat to eat, it will be much easier to overcome whatever the cause of his reluctance to eat might be.

Follow these steps to get your cat to eat – and keep eating.


Cat Not Eating after a Move? Here are Tips to Help Your Cat Eat

In this section, we'll address the issue of cats not eating when moved to a new house. Cats can be pretty funny creatures with their weird behaviors that sometimes defy logic. You know what they say, “if it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, it must be a duck.” Cats are more unpredictable than that!

Moving to a new house is a big deal, and a big change to your cat's schedule and environment. Think about it like this: an indoor cat has often not seen anything other than the apartment they live in. For them it's like being transplanted into a different galaxy. If you have ever moved house, you will know that it is stressful for humans, and I imagine it is much more stressful for your cat!

It feels like a destruction to the cat’s place. Your cat may consider a place as his or mine. If you move to a new space, your cat might be confused and will be less likely to know where its place is now, thereby not eating.

And it can take a while for your cat to get used to their new house, new smells, new sounds and all the other new things that they are experiencing. So it's not unusual for cats to be a bit quiet after a big move and not eat the same for a couple of days.

But if your cat hasn't eaten at all in more than a day or two, and it has been longer than you would expect, you may be wondering what to do.

Here's what to do if your cat isn't eating after moving to a new house.

Cats Who Don’t Eat Are at Risk

When you move, a lot of things in your cat’s life change. The sounds, sights, smells, and even the companion animals might not be the same as before and that can cause stress, fear, and anxiety on your cat.

It may be that your cat is reacting to the changes by eating less, or forgetting to eat altogether. Either way, this can be a serious situation that can result considerably serious health issues, especially in senior cats who may have a difficult time adapting to the changes. You're worrying about fatty liver disease (hepatic lipidosis), because all of a sudden the liver needs to help convert all fat storage into energy and can get overwhelmed. This is actually similar to the process of a human changing into ketosis.

You should try to feed your cat some pureed nutrition via a syringe into its mouth. Aim for a minimum of around 1.5oz per 5lbs of weight for your cat. However, go see a vet if this doesn't help after a day or two max.

If the lack of appetite or eating is prolonged, your cat might stop drinking water as well, which is an even more dangerous situation that can result in dire consequences. This needs to be avoided at all costs. If you’ve recently moved, your cat is very stressed, and does not want to eat, you need to act immediately to prevent potential injuries and even severe health issues.

Cheer-Up Squad to the Rescue

Cats understand change, and most will adjust very quickly to a new home. In a short time, you should see signs of familiarity and comfort in your cat's actions: exploring, playing and eating. Your cat's eating behavior may change as well because of the move – she may eat more, less, or in different places than she did in the past.

If your cat won’t eat after you move, it may be a sign of emotional distress make sure to address the issue seriously, but also make sure to interact with the cat. Make sure it can't just hide away from you, but actively make sure to interact. Also, create an environment that looks and smells familiar. The suggestions in this article will help bring some security and calm to your cat.

Bring a few of your cat's bedding and toys from the old home to the new. If your cat had a certain window perch or a view she liked, replicate that in the new home. Pay attention to the sights (inside and outside), smells (on her bedding or scratching post) and sounds (a radio playing or TV turned low) that might help your cat feel more at home.

Don't force it.

Your cat's eating problem will not be completely solved in a day – it may take a little time to help her feel safe and at ease. Let your cat tell you what she needs and be there for it as the cheer-up squad she deserves.