Whether it’s for a new job or a change of scenery, moving is a part of life.
However, when it comes to moving with a pet, things can get a little tricky.
There’s lots to think about and prepare for, so going into it with your eyes wide open makes the process so much easier. When my boyfriend and I relocated to a new city 3 hours away, I wanted to be as prepared as possible.
Prepping for the Big Move
Before we moved, the longest either of our 2 cats had traveled was the 20-minute drive to the vet. Piece of cake, right?
Both cats dislike traveling, and they have no problem making their feelings known throughout the drive. So when it came to prepare for the move, making the experience as stress-free as possible for our cats was a major priority.
Doing Your Research
Even though we weren’t moving across the country or traveling by plane, I still worried about how Boomer and Lou would handle the move. So, like every other millennial hoping to find the answer to a problem, the first thing I did was Google.
Despite finding helpful information online, I knew I should also consult my vet. Boomer and Lou were scheduled for a checkup with our vet prior to moving, so I made sure to discuss my concerns with him — namely how anxious Lou gets in the cat carrier.
Our vet assured me travel anxiety was common with cats and offered a couple of solutions: Either use a pheromone spray, like Feliway, inside the cat carrier, or he could give Lou a mild sedative the day of the move. Ultimately, I opted to use a pheromone spray, which worked wonderfully to reduce her anxiety and keep both Lou and Boomer relatively calm.
Finding the Right Cat Carrier
I knew Boomer and Lou would travel better if they could huddle together. With that in mind, I wanted to find a cat carrier that would comfortably fit 2 adult cats and keep them safe.
I lucked out and found one on Amazon that had amazing reviews, would fit both cats comfortably and could be buckled in to keep it from sliding around.
Once the cat carrier arrived, I set it up in our living room right away. We weren’t moving for another month, but I wanted to get the cats comfortable with the carrier. Letting them come and go as they pleased was a smart move because it meant that the carrier would be associated with a relaxed feeling for the cats.
The Day of the Move
While researching, I came across several tips that suggested keeping the cats secure in a room they are comfortable with, which is often the bedroom. So, while we were loading our things in the moving truck, that’s exactly what we did. I didn’t have to worry about them escaping through an open door when I wasn’t looking, and it kept them from getting freaked out by all the commotion.
The pheromone spray and the cat carrier went a long way in keeping our cats comfortable during the drive. As expected, they were very vocal, but after about 30 minutes, they both calmed down.
When it is finally time to travel, try these tips:
- Feed your cat at least 3 hours before traveling to avoid an upset tummy.
- Don’t transport your cat in the cargo hold area of a vehicle or a moving truck. Instead, place the carrier on a seat and secure it with a seatbelt.
- Keep the temperature comfortable for your cat.
- If the trip is especially long, take a break to give your cat some water and to use the litter box.
After hours of travel, our kitties were more than ready to get out of the car. I knew the new change of scenery could be unsettling for them, so we eased them into their new environment.
Since we didn’t want to overwhelm them, we set up their food and water, litter box and carrier in our master bedroom and bathroom. Then we opened the carrier door and let them come out when they were ready. They explored the new space on their own terms, 1 thing at a time.
Check out these extra tips for moving with cats:
Over the course of a few days, we showed them the rest of the house and made sure to:
- Introduce them to 1 room at a time.
- Keep an eye on them as they investigated so they didn’t get stuck behind things like heavy-duty appliances, water heaters and sump pumps.
- Close all windows and doors tightly.
- Keep them indoors while they adjusted to the new space.
I love watching Boomer and Lou discover new things. They got used to the smells and sounds of our new home in a week or 2, but the biggest (and funniest) challenge for them was conquering the stairs — they both zoom down them so fast, they have to jump the last 4 steps!
Moving with pets can be stressful, but there are ways to make it easier on you and the pets. The best thing you can do is be proactive and have a game plan before moving day arrives.
* * *
This article was written by Katie Jenison. Katie is a freelance writer and coffee enthusiast residing in the Midwest. Growing up on a small farm in rural North Dakota, Katie developed a love for animals of all shapes and sizes. In her spare time, she can be found curled up with a book and her 2 cats, Boomer and Lou, blogging about her freelance experiences and spending time with her family.