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moving cats

Moving Cats

Cats are domesticated animals that tend to like staying close to home. Maintaining a calm environment and creating a sense of home, will do wonders for you and your cat during the moving process.

Cats can be pretty speedy, even in the smallest of spaces. They can run and hide. Any amount of uncertainty, sense of change, or fear and they could be off and running. And it may take sometime to find them if they do decide to hide.

Prior To Moving Day

  • A visit to the vet for a full medical check-up is important prior to any relocation. This will ensure whether your cat is healthy and able to travel. Make sure your cat’s vaccinations are up to date and obtain a certificate of health. If needed, discuss options for anti-anxiety medication.
  • Make sure your cat has identification. You can have a collar that shows contact information. Alternatively, you can microchip your cat.
  • If moving to a different state, you may be required to have a new or different pet license. Check with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to view vaccination and registration forms for your new destination.
  • If driving, check with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) to see which states may ask to see proof of immunizations at specific interstate crossings.
  • If you plan to use a leash on your cat during the moving process, start training them as soon as you can. Cat’s are not usually on a leash, therefore they may become frightened. As with the crate, ease them in slowly to anything new, and let them lead.
  • Placing some empty boxes around the house a few weeks prior to moving day, may help the cats get used to them being around. They could also become a playhouse in the weeks leading up to the move. When the time does come for packing to begin, they will be less suspicious of these items, the noise and movement that will surround the boxes.

Keep your cat’s medical records with you during the duration of the relocation. Don’t pack them onto the truck if a moving company is transporting your personal belongings.

Moving Day

With all the commotion that may occur on Moving Day: What to Expect, it is best for the cat to be out of the way. If you have a friend or family member where your cat can stay during the moving and loading process, this will benefit your cat immensely. Alternatively a day or two at a kitty daycare is also advised. If neither of these are an option, create an enclosed sanctuary for your cat amongst the chaos of people and moving boxes. Make sure your cat has water, food, a litter tray and something comfortable to lie on. If they like playing with toys, have them accessible. Make sure the door remains closed and the movers are aware it is not to be opened. Remember, cats are fast and keeping the door closed is for their safety.

Transporting Your Cat

Deciding to drive or fly your cat to your new destination takes preparation and planning. The more thorough you are and knowing how to Travel Safely With Your Pet, the more enjoyable the journey will be for both you and your feline friends.

Moving your cat in a crate is advised. Leave it out prior to the move and let it become a familiar object. Keep the door open and even place a blanket with some of your cat’s favorite toys inside. Your cat will probably find this object interesting and will eventually wonder inside.

Once your cat feels familiar with the crate, take him on short car journeys to get him used to being in the car. Initially, the cat may be frightened, but usually they get used to it pretty quickly.

Driving

It is safest that cats are kept in their carriers while being transported in the car. They must never travel in the trunk. Make sure the carrier is safely locked and secured with a seat belt.

Any food or drink should be removed about 3 hours prior to beginning the journey. Wait to feed them until driving for the day is over.

Provide your cat with as much attention as you would during a regular day. Talk and play with them when appropriate and in a safe environment.

If you sense your cat is becoming restless, playing relaxing music at a low volume may sooth him.

Leaving your cats alone in the car is not advised, especially in extreme hot or cold weather. When you stop for breaks, now is the time to have your cat on a leash or have them remain in a locked carrier close to you.

For long distance drives you may need to stop and rest. Find a hotel or motel that welcomes your pet. Once inside your room, make sure there is no way for them to wonder out and get lost. Bring in some familiar objects, feeding bowls, bedding, and toys and patiently acclimate them to their temporary environment.

Pack a travel kit for your cat.

  • Bottled or tap water that they are used to. Enough for the trip, plus extra
  • Food, keep to their regular brand
  • Cat treats
  • Bed
  • Bowls
  • Disposable litter box
  • Flushable litter
  • Scooper
  • Plastic bags
  • Paper towels/wipes
  • Favorite toys
  • Medications
  • First aid kit

Flying

If you need to fly your cat to the new destination, doing your best to make sure the journey is comfortable and simple will add to the adventure. If you have time prior to the day your cat flies, spend some time with them at the airport so they can become familiar with the noise and movement.

Your cat’s carrier must be secure and include his name, and your emergency contact information.

Preparation

  • Book flights as soon as possible. Direct flights are best.
  • Obtain additional information from the airline regarding regulations and carrier requirements.
  • Confirm whether the cat will fly in the cabin or cargo.
  • Ensure you have all required documentation and certificates.
  • Arrive at the airport at least 2 hours prior to the flight.

Pet transportation

There are many great pet transportation companies who can assist in transporting your cat. If this is a service you will choose, or want to research, make sure any company you are considering are licensed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. A professional pet transportation company will understand that each cat is different and will need to be treated uniquely.

Arriving To The New Home

Once you have arrived at your new home, again, the best thing for your cat would be to have a designated area within a room. Create a space with all his familiar items, and spend time with him, petting and reassuring him. In the beginning it may be best to keep doors and windows closed. Lay some of the cats items around the home as the scent will make him feel safe. Include some treats along the way as he explores the new home.

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