Tips for moving with a cat

by CherylsArt

Are you planning to move and have a cat or cats to move with? Taking some steps ahead of time can help the move for you and your cats to go easier.

Cats like familiar surroundings. Getting your cat or cats acquainted with their traveling container will help them to be more accepting of it, when it comes time for the move. Introduce your cat to their traveling container about a couple of weeks (longer if you have the time) before the moving date. If you are traveling by air, you will need to have an airline approved pet carrier.

Add familiarity to their pet carrier.

Introduce your cat to something they like.

Put something that your cat likes in the pet carrier. It can be something they like sleeping on, a favorite toy, and/or you can also place some food in their pet carrier.

Doing this a couple of weeks, or even more, ahead of time, allows the cat to get used to this new item. The more they feel at home in it, the more comfortable and secure they will feel when traveling in it.

If you have the time, you might also take kitty for short drives in their carrier before the moving date.

Pet Carriers come in a variety of styles.

Things to consider are comfort, and also sturdiness, especially if airline travel is involved.
Bergan Comfort Carrier Soft-Sided Pet...
$54.99  $29.51
Suncast 23-Inch Pet Carrier Round
$79.99  $29.64
Petmate Soft-Sided Kennel Cab Pet Car...
$43.99  $28.98

What is the best pet carrier to get for traveling?

This answer will vary depending on how far you are traveling, and what kind of modes of travel will be involved.

If you are traveling just an hour or so away, a comfortable pet carrier would be the main consideration, that is the appropriate size for your cat. A pet carrier will come in handy, even for short distance moves. Your cat will be contained while you are driving, and will be safe should you need to stop and open the car door.

If you are traveling by airplane or train, or the like, you will need a pet carrier that is rated approved for that kind of travel. These containers may not be so comfortable, however, they will have a more sturdy frame. Pet padding and/or a folded large towel, can be placed in the bottom, to make this type of travel more comfortable.

Should the cat be sedated for travel?

To sedate or not sedate your cat when moving is a personal choice.

In our first move with cats, that trip was around a 4-1/2 hour ride. We did get medication from the vet to help sedate them during the trip. The cats were pretty releaxed and sleepy for the majority of the trip and started "coming to" around the last hour of the trip. They were pretty anxious by the time we carried them in their pet carriers into their new place.

For later moves we chose not to sedate them. After some initial driving time, they seemed to adjust pretty good and became less noisy. They seemed less anxious by the time we arrived at our new place, which was closer to a six hour drive.

Some things to consider for yourself:
Is the trip a short one or a long one?
Has your cat had time to adjust to their pet carrier?
Has your cat gone on rides in their pet carrier already? If so, how did your cat respond?
What do you feel comfortable doing?

Let your answers to these questions guide you in making your decision.

Updated: 05/28/2013, CherylsArt
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Is this your first time traveling with a cat? Do you have any tips to share?

CherylsArt on 11/29/2012

Katiem2, thank you for sharing. I know our cats were rather anxious by the end of the drive, so having them contained is the best advice until they're inside their new home. Also, it is probably best to have them be in just one room at first while they adjust to their new surroundings.

katiem2 on 11/29/2012

It can be hard moving with a cat. I lost a cat once while moving and it was devastating. I couldn't stop blaming myself... I opened her carrier to make sure she was okay, she seemed to be sleeping but flew out the door the minute I unlatched it. She was so freaked out she just ran and ran. Bad memory. It's great to have your good advice to avoid loosing your pet. :)K

2uesday on 11/29/2012

I think some cats try to return to their former home so you have to keep that in mind if the trip is a short one. There are old wives tales about how to get a cat to settler into the new home, but I think cats are such individuals that the owner will know if it is likely to wander off.

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