Fact—cats don’t like moving. If your cat likes to travel, then you have a good cat! Anytime I take mine to the vet, she meows and groans all the way there and back. If you’ll soon be traveling with cats in a car long distance, I have some great tips that will make the moving experience even more enjoyable for both you and your cat!
How to move a cat long distance
Let me begin by saying that U-Pack moves a lot of cat owners who decide to go the “you pack, we drive” route rather than tring to transport their feline friends in a rental truck. You’ll find that it’s much easier to travel with pets in your personal vehicle than in a rental. Now, let’s take a look at what to do before, during, and after moving long distance with cats.
Before you move a cat long distance
Buy a pet carrier for your cat that is big enough for him to stand up in and move/turn around in. You don’t want him to be cramped during the move.
Let your cat get used to the carrier. Put the carrier on the bed, or wherever he likes to rest, with the door open. Then, start putting a few treats in the carrier. After he has been in the carrier a few times for the treats, start feeding him in the carrier. The goal is to make him go all the way into the carrier to eat.
Put a few moving boxes in your house a month before you move so your cat won’t be nervous while you pack your things into them closer to moving day. If your cat loves boxes like mine does, it might be a good idea to leave a box empty for him to hide in when moving day comes around. If he is a box lover, make sure you don’t accidentally pack him in a box!
Try driving your cat around the block a few times each day before you move. It will help him get used to being in the carrier and the car at the same time.
Visit your vet before you move. Make sure your cat’s vaccinations are up-to-date, as most states require you to carry an updated vaccination of your pet when traveling through the state. If your cat is highly skittish, ask your vet about anti-anxiety medication. Also check for vaccination requirements for your new state.
If your cat lives outdoors, you should probably confine him somehow 2-3 days before the move. This way, the commotion from the moving won’t scare him, resulting in him running off. You may want to check to see if a pet daycare is available in your area or if a neighbor is willing to keep him while you pack and load.
Make sure your cat is used to being on a leash and in a harness, as he will need to take breaks along the way to your new home.
Moving your cat – Moving Day
Don’t move your cat’s litter box until moving day. You’ll want to put him in a room with food, water, a bed, and his litter box. This way, he won’t dash out the door as you’re packing and loading.
Keep your cat’s routine as normal as possible. Feed, play, and give him attention at the same time you normally do every day. On moving day, feed him a small breakfast.
Leave some of the normal resting spots available for your cat to enjoy while you move. Be sure to leave out some things that may have his scent on it so that the house will still smell familiar. You also should leave some of his favorite hiding places available. He will be very curious as to what all is going on, and might even start checking out the moving boxes if they’re not locked up. If you let your cat roam free while you pack, make sure he can’t get hurt from climbing on the boxes.
Make sure your cat has an ID tag on its collar with your personal information. If he escapes during the move, this will be your best chance of finding him safe and sound.
Invest in a good harness and leash for stops along the way.
While traveling to your new home with your cat, do not let him roam free in the vehicle. Your cat could escape if a door is accidentally open. Or, you could put you and your cat in danger if he distracts you while driving.
Buy a portable litter box. You can stop and let your cat out of the vehicle with the litter box or stop the vehicle and let him do its business in the litter box while still in the car. Be sure to stop often to give him water, too.
If your cat can be securely tied in the car, you can take him out of its carrier. There are a lot of options these days for pet carriers and restraints while traveling in a vehicle.
Put your cat’s favorite toy in its carrier. This will give him something to play with along the way.
Make sure that you reserve pet-friendly hotels early, as rooms that allow pets are always limited.
If you plan to fly with your cat, contact your airline and find out their requirements for traveling with pets.
Cats and Moving – After Moving Day
Get your new house ready for your cat by making sure windows and doors have screens on them, if there are any hiding places he could get stuck in, or if there are any rodents around.
If the previous owner of the house had pets, treat your entire house for fleas before you move your cat into your new home.
Immediately choose the room that your cat will eat, drink, and use the litter box in. Make sure he has a bed or a place to rest.
Let your cat explore other areas of your house a few rooms at a time. Keep the same schedule that you had in your own house. Put things with his scent around the house so he knows it’s okay to be in that room.
Your tips for moving a cat long distance
Do you have experience moving a cat long distance? Comment with your moving tips—we’d love to hear from you!