Tips for Moving a Cat Long Distance
Making moving with cats easier
How does your cat respond to interruptions in environment or routine? If it’s like most, he or she may get anxious in unfamiliar situations. During a move, cats will face a long car ride, loud noises, and a new home — all of which might cause some stress. It’s normal to be concerned about how your pet will fare during a long move, but a little preparation can make it easier on everyone involved.
Worried about putting your cat in a rental truck? U-Pack® is a “you pack, we drive” service that lets you travel in your own vehicle so you can focus on the trip, not the move.
Things to do before traveling cross country with cats
Learn how to travel with a cat by using these tips before a move:
- Take them to the vet. Visit your provider for a check-up and make sure all vaccinations are up to date. Talk with the vet about microchipping, which can be used to identify cats if they go missing during travel. Ask for shot records and a health certificate, and keep them with you — some states may require proof of rabies immunization at interstate crossings.
- Gather travel items. Set aside the essentials: food, bowls, medications, favorite toys, a litter box (a disposable one may be easier to travel with), flushable litter (easier to deal with on the road), a scooper, plastic bags, paper towels, bedding, and pet stain remover. You may also want to include something that smells like home (maybe the blanket they like to lounge on).
- Practice with new equipment. If you’ll be using a carrier or leash/harness, try them out beforehand. For crates, get one for each cat and make sure they can stand up and move comfortably inside. You may want to take a few practice car rides before moving.
- Introduce moving materials. Set out boxes, packing paper and other moving supplies so cats can become familiar with them. On moving day, keep pets in a calm and secure area away from the noise.
- Find a vet at destination. While it likely won’t be necessary, you’ll be glad to have that information on hand if an emergency occurs.
How to travel with cats in a car long distance
If your cat is used to roaming the house or neighborhood, being confined in a vehicle might be stressful. Before hitting the road, keep these things in mind:
- A nervous cat may chew or scratch items, so remove anything that could be toxic (like food waste or small items that could be choking hazards). If you’re concerned about scratching, place them in a crate or put down seat covers.>
- Loud noises can be stressful, so keep the radio at a low level.
- Cats may experience motion sickness, so remove food and water three hours before leaving and avoid feeding until you’re finished traveling for the day. To give some extra hydration, mix some water with the evening food.
- Don’t leave pets alone in the vehicle, especially during extreme temperatures.
- If staying in a hotel, make it familiar by placing toys, the litter box, food and water bowls in the room upon arrival. Give them time to explore and feel comfortable, and be careful going in and out of the room to prevent escape.
Flying with a cat
If driving isn’t an option, follow these tips for flying:
- Discuss pet travel policies and any required paperwork with the airline.
- Book a direct flight, if possible.
- Line the bottom of the carrier/crate with paper towels or training pads, and consider a soft-sided carrier if you plan on keeping them in the cabin area. >
- If putting them in the cargo hold, write “live animal” on all sides and draw arrows showing the upright position. Attach an envelope with your contact information, destination, cat’s name, and a photo of the cat.
What to do after the move
There are a few tasks to take care of after arriving in your new city. Start by keeping cats safe and secure while you’re unloading and unpacking. Then check for hiding places and make sure all windows and doors have screens on them. In a new environment, they may look for places to escape or hole up. Once it’s safe, let them explore. Scatter toys or anything with their scent around the house so they know it’s OK to be there. And don’t forget to check with the city about any required licenses or permits for pets!
Have questions about moving cats?
If you have additional questions, leave a comment below. For questions about moving long distance with U-Pack, call 800-413-4799.