Home / Categories / Moving Tips / Tips for Moving a Cat Long Distance

Tips for Moving a Cat Long Distance

July 2nd, 2015 - 2:26 PM

Moving across the country with your cat

Fact – moving is tough on cats. Boxes, packing, traveling somewhere new… it can really take a toll on their emotions. If you’re like me and you love your cat, you’ll do anything to make moving as easy on them as possible. The tips below can help make the moving experience better for you and your furry feline.

moving a cat long distance

Tips for moving ​with cats

The key to moving your cat is to plan and be prepared. The first step is to figure out the best way to move your cat.

Many cat owners moving long distance on a budget find that a “you pack, we drive” service like U-Pack is the ideal way to move. You can save money by doing your own packing and loading, but let professionals drive your belongings across the country, giving you the ability to drive across the country with your cat, in the comfort of your own vehicle.

But, if traveling with your cat isn’t an option, you can get pet shipping quotes from multiple pet transport companies through uShip.


Tips for Trave​ling with a Cat

  • Before you travel, get your cat checked out by a vet. While you’re there, make sure all vaccinations are up-to-date and get a certificate of health.
  • If your cat lives indoors, put a few empty boxes in your house a month or so before your move to help them get used to the changes that are about to take place.
  • If your cat lives outdoors, try to confine him for 2-3 days before the move to keep them from running away. Consider checking with a pet daycare in your area, or see if friends or family could keep him while you pack and load.
  • Check with your new city to figure out registration and vaccination requirements.
  • Consider microchipping your cat and attach identification and rabies tags to his collar.
  • Create an information folder with things like vet records, photos, etc., and keep it with you.
  • Locate an emergency vet clinic in your new city.
  • Research pet-friendly hotels and reserve your room. You may find petfriendlyhotels.net helpful.
  • Put together a “cat travel bag” that includes: first-aid kit, medications, treats, favorite toys, litter box, flushable litter, litter scoop, plastic bags, paper towels/wipes, portable scratcher, something that smells of home, kitty bed, comfort spray to control stress, pet stain remover, etc.
  • Prepare food and water for the trip. Bottled or tap water from home is best since introducing him to new food or new tap water may cause sickness. Have enough food to last the entire trip, plus a little extra for delays. Use portable food and water dishes for quick and easy feeding.
  • Get a carrier for your cat that’s big enough for him to stand up, move and turn around it. And make sure it has plenty of ventilation. If you’re moving more than one cat, get a carrier for each.
  • Make sure the carrier can be restrained by a seatbelt to keep it in place if there’s a sudden stop.
  • To help get your cat familiar with his carrier, put it on the bed (or wherever he likes to rest) with the door open, and place a few treats inside. After he’s been in the carrier a few times for treats, start feeding him in the carrier. The goal is to entice him to go fully into the carrier to eat.
  • If your cat isn’t used to riding in the car in the carrier, you’ll want to prepare him for travel. Once he’s used to going inside the carrier it’s a good idea to drive him around the block a few times each day before you move.
  • If your cat isn’t used to being on a leash or harness, now’s a great time to start training him. He’ll need to take several breaks along the way to stretch.
  • About three hours before you hit the open road remove all food and water to keep your cat from getting car or air sick. But, make sure to keep the litter box around until you’re ready to go.
  • Keep your cat’s daily routine as much as possible during the move. Feed, play and give him attention at the same time you normally do every day—but avoid feeding during the trip to avoid motion sickness.
  • While you’re traveling, keep music volume at a reasonable level.
  • Avoid leaving your cat alone in a parked vehicle—specifically in extreme hot or cold temperatures.

Airline Travel with a Cat

  • If you plan to fly rather than drive, ask your airline for their regulations and requirements for pet travel, and if possible, book a non-stop flight.
  • Label your pet carrier with your info and you cat’s info. Be sure to write “LIVE ANIMAL” on it.
  • Unless recommended by your vet, avoid sedating your cat for the plane ride.

After Moving Long Distance with a Cat

  • Get your new house ready by ensuring windows and doors have screens on them. Also check for hiding places he could get stuck in and check for rodents.
  • If the previous occupants had pets, treat your entire house for fleas and ticks before move-in day.
  • Immediately choose the room where your cat will eat, drink, sleep and use the litter box.
  • Let your cat explore other areas of your home a few rooms at a time. It helps to put things with his scent around the house to let him know it’s okay to be there.
  • Keep a similar schedule for your cat that you had in your former house.

What tips do you have about moving with cats?

If you’ve moved across country with your cat, we’d love to hear about your experience. And, if you’re ready to get a quote from U-Pack, call us at 800-413-4799 or get an instant quote online.

More Pet Moving Resources

Moving your pet
ASPCA Car Travel Tips
Top 5 Tips for moving long distance with pets
ASPCA Air Travel Tips
10 Must-Know Pet Travel Tips
ASPCA Cat Care Tips