Moving is stressful even when you're doing it alone. But when you have a cat to worry about you, well, worry. Will your cat be okay with the move? How will he settle in? What if you forget his favorite toy?
Moving with a cat takes a bit more planning and preparation. With a little bit of foresight and our moving checklist, your move will go smoother.
Before you start preparing
The first thing you should do before you even start preparing your cat for the move is visit the vet. In addition to making sure your cat is healthy and in fit condition to travel, your vet will help ease the transition in other ways. Make sure your cat has all the necessary vaccinations for the area you're moving to, especially if you're relocating to a new state. If you're traveling by airplane, you will need a certificate of health for air travel from your vet. He will also be able to give you some additional tips for making the move as stress-free for your cat as possible.
If the move means you'll be changing vets, take this chance to ask if your vet has any recommendations in your new area. Prepare a list of a couple of phone numbers for local vets before you make the move. It never hurts to be prepared!
The day of the big move is coming up. You're excited and anxious, and your cat can sense it. Things are getting moved around, and something big is happening - and it might be stressing out your cat. As you prepare the house and pack, keep your cat in mind. Set aside an area for him that will remain untouched until the very last moment. Having his favorite couch to relax on while you bustle around will help keep him calm and comfortable amid the excitement.
Try not to change your cat's routine too much, either. Many cats don't respond well to their routines being changed. Keep in mind you'll have a huge change when the move comes, so try to keep every day leading up to it as "normal" as possible.
On the day of the move, find a safe and quiet place where your cat can stay. Spend some time with him, then close the door - and keep it closed while the movers are around. You don't want him getting underfoot, or getting scared by all the foot-traffic.
Outdoor cat owners: keep your cat indoors for the week before the move. Anecdotal evidence suggests that cats can get spooked from all the confusion surrounding a move, and can hide outside. You wouldn't want to make it to the moving day and find that you've forgotten to pack the most important thing of all: your cat!
photo by @siberian_simon
Checklist for moving with your cat
Your cat has been to the vet, and you're prepared to keep him as comfortable as possible until the big day. Now it's time to pack for him. In addition to all his toys and other possessions (like all those cute outfits you keep buying him for Christmas), you will need to include a few extra items. Follow this checklist for moving with your cat for an easy, stress-free trip:
1. Use an appropriate container.
The container should be well-ventilated and the right size for your mode of transportation. It should also be large enough for your cat to get up and turn around.
2. Pack treats.
It's not advisable to feed your cat on the road, but packing a few treats can help reward your cat (especially treats that don't require ingestion, like catnip).
3. Feed your cat well at least an hour before leaving.
Again, you don't want to feed your cat too close to, or during, the move.
4. Pack car-sickness medication.
Yes, cats get car-sick too! Now you understand why you shouldn't feed your cat during the move, unless you want that food to potentially end up all over your car's backseat.
5. If your cat has a harness or a leash, keep it close at hand.
Make regular bathroom and exercise stops throughout the trip.
6. Try a commercial pheromone spray.
Pheromone sprays like Feliway can help cats feel more comfortable in a new or stressful environment. Just spray some inside the carrier and the car, and save some for the new place.
Once you get to your new home, your cat might need some time to adjust. Keep him indoors for a while, and try to follow your old, pre-move, routine. Pay a visit to your new vet to make sure everything is still okay (and to introduce you and your cat).
Remember: Prepare ahead of time, and breathe easy! Soon, you and your cat will be enjoying the comfort of your new home.
- by Yuliya