Is it possible to keep a cat outdoors in a new place, by feeding her treats to convince her she's found a new territory?

The new home has a compound wall, which I'm thinking would roughly mark her territory.

Will she try to escape back to her earlier home?

2 Answers 2


I've had cats which have been moved to a new home, both at my parents' place and my own. What we do is keep them inside for at least a week to get them used to the new house as their home, and also to get used to the idea that that's where their people are. After a week, if they seem comfortable in their new surroundings, let them out supervised for a small amount of time to explore the garden, etc. that you have outside, then bring them back in. Gradually increase the amount of time they're allowed outside and if all goes well after a week you can let them out unsupervised and they will have adopted their new territory.

If the cats are still nervous about the interior of the house after a week, delay letting them out for the first time until they feel comfortable with your new house.

Play with them and do everything you would normally do. They should also feel that everything's normal after a while. You don't need to feed them treats or bribe them to hang around, unless that is what they're used to previously. Remember that cats jump, and there will already be cats in your new neighbourhood. Your cats will eventually mark out their own territory, which might not stop at your boundary. Cats see the world differently from us! You will upset the equilibrium of both your cats and the neighbourhood cats, but only for a short time and then they will all be used to the new arrangement.


Growing up we always had outdoor cats and moved every 2-3 years - which is a lot for a cat. Our oldest moggy lived until 17 so she saw a fair number of houses with us but was ultimately an outdoor cat. Whilst she had access to the house with a cat flap, she usually only came in for meals or if it was super cold. She had a bed in a covered house outside as well, which she much preferred in summer.

Whenever we moved we kept her and the other cats in the house for 2-3 weeks solid. In effect, the new house would become her ground zero for her territory, smelling like her and becoming familiar. With a distinct "This is where I'm fed". It always worked without issues and all our cats never ran away from home back towards the old houses. After the 2-3 weeks were up they would go outside and explore.

If you do not want to do this or are not able to, treats may work, though I've never personally tried it... but it depends on a few factors you haven't mentioned, like how close you are to your old home - if too near, your cat will look towards its old territory. Treats may or may not be enough - it'll depend on how much your cat loves the treat as much as anything. You may find you'll have to pay out the good stuff to help bring your cat back from its wandering. You could also try being in the area with your cat the first few days, so as they explore the compound they'll associate it with you. It would also be worth having a look for other cats in the area, as I remember some neighbours of mine feeding their cats outside and so mine would always try and nab a free meal, which could become a distraction for your treat tactic.

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