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Posted in Moving Preparation, Moving Tips&Tricks on November 30, 2021
Michael Vaughan

Moving through the Bay Area, Michael works as a freelance writer in the moving and transportation industry.

Moving With a Cat Can Be Fun If You Know the Right Tips

Relocation is rarely fun and games – for humans and animals alike. And moving with a cat is oftentimes even more difficult, which at the end of the day isn’t that surprising, taking into consideration their exceptional territorial instincts. However, with some proper preparations, a bit of time, and a whole lotta effort, the move can be not only safe but fun as well. And we’ll tell you all about turning it into a true adventure.

Contrary to Popular Belief, Moving With a Cat Can Be a Pleasant Adventure

When you think of moving a cat, fun is definitely one of the last words anyone would think of to describe the process. Truth be told, cats aren’t the biggest fans of change, but really – who is? Even us humans, no matter how much we say we are excited about relocating, experience relocation anxiety much more frequently than fun when we move.

However, this is an exciting period for you and your household members – yes, even the furry ones. And yes, even if they are not even aware of it yet. We have some tips for moving with a cat that will help even the most change-resistant felines experience the transition with lesser stress.

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Efficient Moving With Cats Starts With Thorough Preparations

Any ultimate relocation guide will tell you that preparation is half of the battle. And although now it may seem that the biggest challenge will be the day the cross country moving company workers arise, it’s actually the preparatory period that is the most important one. This is when you introduce the first changes, possibly even shifting their food and litter around the house and basically destabilizing their daily routines. But don’t stress – with our tips you’ll avoid any possible relocation mistake.

Help Your Cat Get Comfortable in a Carrier

Most often, our furry friends come to dislike (“hate” would maybe be a more appropriate term) their carriers. That is because they associate the object with going to the vet, and we all know that these visits are often uncomfortable. Because of this notion that once they get into the carrier, they will experience pain, it usually requires a village to place a kitty in one when needed. That’s why it’s essential to get them comfortable with the carrier, and here’s how you’ll do that.

Weeks before the move, before any preparations for cross country movers even begin, you should put the carrier in a feline-friendly spot in your house. It could be anywhere your kitty enjoys hanging out – a corner, a place under the table, or near the furnace. Put a blanket in, maybe some catnip, or their favorite treats and toys, and let them get in on their own. Leave the carrier around for weeks so that your kitty can go in and out and really feel at home in there. And once they are supposed to travel in one, it will make the experience much more pleasant and comfortable for them and you both.

Take Advantage of Cats’ Adoration for Cardboard Boxes

As you probably already know, cats love getting into boxes, bags, totes, and basically anything else they can fit their furry tail in. This is something that you should take advantage of if you want to move efficiently and free of kitty stress. Given that your move (and home) will be filled with boxes in the days leading up to the move, it’s important to present cardboards as an opportunity for excitement rather than anxiety. So, place fun cupboards around the home, throw in some treats or toys, and even spray some catnip, and you can be sure that when the boxes start piling up, it’ll be nothing but fun and games for your pets.

Cats Always Know Something Is Up, so It’s Important to Maintain Their Daily Routines as the Move Approaches

Relocating with pets is that much more difficult since they are some smart, intuitive creatures. And while they may not be able to understand what it means to rent a new apartment conceptually, they can always sense when a change is underway. So if you don’t want your cats stressed, jumping around the place at night, and making your adjustment insomnia even worse, it’s crucial to keep up with their daily routines.

Keep feeding them at the same time, and try to spend a few extra hours just playing and hanging out with them. This will help your pet feel at ease, even when the long-distance moving company workers start relocating furniture in and out of the home.

Feline playing in a cardboard box
Cardboard boxes easily become a new favorite toy in just a few minutes

Don’t Forget to Check-In With the Vet Before the Move Too

There are many things one can forget to do before the move, but scheduling a consultation with the vet shouldn’t be one of them. Basically, after you, your vet is the person who knows your pet best – in some ways, they have even more knowledge than you do. So, it’s important to visit them and consult on how to move with cats. Should your kitty take any calming medicines? Should you switch up their diet to ease up the stress of relocating to a new home? Are there any special behavioral tips they can recommend as a professional?

Pack Up All Their Important Health and Travel Documents

Your important documents aren’t the only ones to organize prior to relocation. Your kitty has their own set of papers and cards, and these include the following:

  • Their travel documents,
  • Medication prescriptions,
  • Vet reports,
  • Ownership records.

Additionally, if you decide to ship your car and travel by plane, you’ll need a valid health certificate completed by a veterinarian, as well as a rabies vaccination certificate, so don’t forget to pack these up in a separate folder you’ll take with you to the airport. And in case they will be traveling via your car, we recommend checking out the following video to learn tips on how to get felines to enjoy car rides.

YouTube video

How to Move With a Cat and Make the Relocation Day a Good Experience

You are probably expecting the relocation day to be somewhat hectic, and if you’re not – please do. Just because you found some good “long distance movers near me” to help out with packing assistance and transporting the surplus of your belongings to a storage unit, that doesn’t mean the relocation day will be easy. It never is. But that’s why you should plan accordingly and trust the process, too.

Keep Your Pet at Bay While the Movers Are Loading the Truck

You probably know that old saying: “Curiosity killed the cat.” Felines are dangerously curious creatures, and although we adore them for it, it’s important to recognize the contexts in which their strengths become weaknesses. And curiosity isn’t necessarily a strength when one is packing a truck. To make sure safety is a priority, empty out a room with doors you can close to keep your kitty safe in while the movers load the truck.

You should leave their bed, food, water, and litter in the room. Not only will they allow them to eat, drink, sleep, and go to the bathroom, but they will also exude familiar and thus calming smells to keep your feline relaxed if they start getting agitated. Oh, and don’t forget to tell the long-distance moving services‘ employees not to go inside of this room.

Before You Hit the Road, It’s Time to Take Out the Carrier

An hour or so before the move, you can take the carrier into the room your kitty is in. That way, it will have time to get inside naturally. If that doesn’t happen, however, keep your calm. Felines are avid body-language readers, so the moment you start acting flustered, they might pick up and decide the container isn’t their friend any longer. A great relocation hack you can use is to throw a bit of their favorite candy inside and lewer them in like that. It’s a fail-proof move tip that will surely do the trick.

Don’t Overfeed Your Kitty on the Big Day

Nervous stomachs aren’t an exclusively human experience. That being said, you want to ensure your kitty doesn’t eat too much prior to traveling. Sometimes, relocating with a feline is more similar to relocating with a newborn than one would expect. And the feeding process is one of these. So, be certain your baby hasn’t overeaten, but also that they have enough food and water for the trip. Buy some travel-friendly bowls, if you haven’t already, and pack their favorite snacks inside to take with you.

A kitty getting out of their carrier
Don't stress over questioning is it safe to move house with a cat - it can be if you put in the required effort

What to Expect When You Arrive at the New House?

A lot of people will see their pet on the first days after the move and wonder, are cats traumatized by moving to an apartment? The thing is, felines aren’t the biggest fans of change, and they require some time to get used to the new environment. You probably remember how it was when you first adopted them when they were a kitten. Surely, they were hiding under tables and furniture, getting used to the corners their litter box and food are positioned in. And while this time around, the change isn’t as big, you can still expect similar behaviors.

How Long Does It Take for a Cat to Get Used to a New Home?

Depending on your pet’s temperament, it could take them anywhere from a few days to multiple weeks for the new apartment to start feeling like home. Most often, it won’t take longer than a week or two, but if your pet experienced trauma before you adopted them, it might take longer.

It’s important to stay patient and make the period of getting used to the environment fun. Get some new toys, new blankets for your kitty to squish, a bunch of treats, and spend some quality time with them. And before you even realize what is happening, your furry companion will be back to their old mischiefs.

A kitty walking around a home
It can take up to multiple weeks for your kitty to completely get used to the new positions of its litter box and food bowls, but they'll get there

The Bond You and Your Feline Have Will Make Even the Most Stressful Home Relocation a Piece of Cake

A move that involves animals is always somewhat stressful because there’s no way to explain to them the benefits of relocation, no matter how hard you try. However, pets and their owners always have a special bond that makes even the most stressful situations, such as a big city move, a true joy. And although big changes can make the meows grow more anxious, even this anxiety is a temporary one. So, don’t stress too much, trust the process, and keep cleaning that litter box! All will be back to normal in a matter of days.

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