In Honor of International Cat Day – 7 Awesome Tips on Moving with Cats

Our pets are our families, so come moving day, you’ll want to be prepared on the very best ways to make moving with cats easy and amazing.

How to prepare your cat for a move

One thing we highly recommend all pet owners do prior to a move is to schedule a visit with their vet to get their recommendations on minimizing the pet’s stress during a move. The vet will be able to make suggestions and even prescribe anti-anxiety medication for your pet to take during the transportation process. Depending on your pet, this can be especially helpful during air travel, as it can be particularly disruptive.

In addition to getting insight and advice from your vet, another way you can prepare your cat for a move is to give them time to get to know their cat carrier. Be careful in how you introduce the carrier to your cat, as you want to make it a safe place for them. Open it up and allow your cat to explore it in her own time. Add some treats into the carrier to encourage your cat to check it out. Never force the cat to get inside the carrier, as that will immediately create anxiety.

If you plan to drive with your cat, take a few short practice rides to give you an idea of how the cat will behave on the trip. If you notice panting, accidents, or any other behavior that isn’t normal for your cat, be sure to tell your vet so they may create the best travel plan for your pet.

Is moving with cats hard?

The difficulty level of moving with cats can vary widely. If your cat is typically a low-maintenance, happy-go-lucky feline, then chances are you will be able to move your cat with minimal issue. However, if your cat suffers from any kind of anxiety or is extremely active, then you may be in for a bigger challenge. Most likely, the move isn’t going to be your cat’s favorite activity and it will end up causing your pet some stress. However, if you plan ahead the trip out to minimize travel time and include a consultation with your vet, you are on the right track to making your cat’s move much more pleasant.

What to do with cats on moving day?

On moving day, it is very important to keep your cat separate from the main activity. We all know cats are curious creatures that like finding places to hide or routes of escape from the chaos. Movers will be going in and out of your house, all day long to pack up your belongings. If the cat is not in his own room, he could get stepped on, pushed out the door, shuffled into a box, and even caught in the moving truck! The best thing you can do to keep your cat safe is to put them in their own room with litter, food, and water.

Be sure to put a sign on the door to let movers know they shouldn’t open up the room and let the animal out. Avoid the heartbreak of losing your pets on moving day and do your due diligence to prepare. This advice comes from personal experience of our clients and we cannot emphasize the importance of keeping your cats safe on moving day enough.

How to help a cat with stress from moving 

As you continue your moving with cats adventure, if you notice that your pet’s behavior is off, it may be worth calling your vet to see what they recommend. This is especially true if you see your cat panting or heavy breathing. Having your vet’s information readily available will be key to finding ways to reduce stress on your cat while moving. There are a lot of options available to help your cat deal with the stress of a move. Your vet may prescribe anti-anxiety medicine for your cat or even recommend some pheromones that you can spray in the kitty’s carrier that can help make the move easier.

When it comes down to it, nobody knows your cat better than you and your vet; cats are unique and their responses to different circumstances can vary drastically. The number one thing you can do to help your cat deal with stress from a move is to get the professional advice from your vet.

How to deal with a litter box when moving a cat

Moving with dogs is a smidge easier than moving with cats because they can go to the bathroom anywhere. Cats, on the other hand, almost always need a litter box to do their business. Cats need to use the restroom less frequently than you’d expect. In fact, if you’re traveling for less than 6 hours, your cat will probably be fine without using a litter box.

However, if you will be traveling for 6+ hours, then it’s a good idea to bring some version of a litter box for your pet. Since you don’t want to be driving or traveling long distances with a normal sized litter box, we recommend purchasing a disposable litter box to keep in your car or even collapsing a box into your suitcase to open upon arrival.

Disposable litter boxes come with litter already inside of them and are easy to stack together. They’re a bit trickier to pack on airline travel but are definitely worth the space if you’ll be driving. If you are traveling via air, then go the collapsible box route – any cardboard box will do. Depending on when you land, you can stop at a store for litter OR pack it with you in a sperate baggie. Another option is to ship the litter box supplies to your hotel; simply call them to see if they’ll accept a delivery on your behalf.

How to travel when moving with cats long distance

Most likely, when you travel a long distance with your cat, you’ll be driving or flying. You may be wondering how exactly can you transport your cat in a car. Driving with cats is not particularly challenging, but you will want to break the drive up into 6-to-7-hour days. After 6 or 7 hours, your cat will get fatigued and likely need a break to eat, use the lavatory, and refresh herself. You know your cat better than anyone, but the best rule of thumb is to keep your cat in the carrier throughout the duration of your car travel.  The last thing you want to worry about is your cat jumping out of the car if you stop anywhere.

However, take this advice with a grain of salt. You know your pet better than anyone. If your cat gets anxiety being away from you and you are not driving by yourself, allowing the cat to come out and sit on the passenger’s lap as you drive to your new home may be best. Just be sure to put the cat securely back in her carrier before you exit the vehicle.

Another option to consider if you have multiple cats is keeping them in the same larger carrier. If your kitties get along, they may help soothe and relax each other in the new environment. Most likely, once your cat gets settled into the car, they’ll probably do what they do best – nap until it’s time for their next meal.

Traveling by air with pets has more external restrictions and is therefore significantly less flexible than driving with them. Flying with pets starts with a check in to the airline’s counter, involves removing your pet and getting your hands swabbed at security, and a lot of sitting and waiting.  Honestly, the flying part of air travel with your pet is the easiest. When you fly with your pet, they will likely sit in the cabin with you, at your feet; of all elements of air travel, this is the part that tends to be the calmest.

Regardless of the method of travel, a long distance move most likely means you’ll be staying in a hotel with your cat. Make sure you stay in a pet-friendly hotel and let the hotel know the type and number of animals you’ll be bringing. It’s also important to survey the room before you let your pets out; you don’t want your cat to find a new hiding spot – such as a vent or under the bed — and potentially lose them!

How to introduce your cats to their new home

Hurray! You’re at the last step of moving with cats! Once you reach your new home sweet home, give your cat some time to acclimate to their new surroundings. Allow your cat to roam around and explore their new environment. Don’t worry if your cat ends up finding a new hiding spot; give them time to feel comfortable to come out.

Cats adapt fairly quickly, but you don’t want to force them to do anything they don’t want to do. And remember to keep your cat in a safe area when the movers bring in your items to your home, similar to what you did when you moved out of the old home. Put the cat in an enclosed room and add a sign to let the movers know that they should not open the door.

Here’s Looking at You, Kitty!

Moving with Cats

In honor of all those who are moving with cats, those who have moved with cats, those who have cats, and cats who have endured a move – here’s to you! We love celebrating our feline friends and wish you all the very best!

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