Russian blue kitten in a box overlay

7 Tips for Long-Distance Moving With a Cat

Posted in Moving Tips & Tricks,Planning the Move on December 2, 2021

Most felines are very territorial creatures who prefer spending days in a familiar environment. That’s why when moving with a cat, the most important thing is to minimize their anxiety and help them adjust to a new home faster. To do so, read through our list of useful tips that will make the whole long-distance moving process easy and stress-free.

Why Should You Take Precautions When Moving a Cat?

As a pet owner, you might already know that cats are really territorial creatures that prefer spending time in locations familiar to them. So if you are wondering are cats traumatized by moving, the answer is yes. That’s why when relocating (no matter if you are moving to a small town just a few miles away or to a big city across the US), it is important to prepare your furry little friend for the change.

When relocating to a new home, a feline needs to have some semblance of control when it comes to the surroundings. If they don’t, it can impact their overall health. They might not feel anxiety about moving out the same way you do, but they can suffer from relocation depression. To avoid an unnecessary trip to the vet, learn how to move with cats safely and in a way that will cause them the least amount of stress.

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Is It Bad to Move With a Cat? Are There Breeds That Handle Change Better?

Even though most cats are afraid of change, some breeds can take relocation in stride. There are kittens that are genetically gifted with a resilient nature that adapt faster to an unfamiliar environment. If you own of these few breeds, the move won’t seem so scary:

  • Birman,
  • Ragdoll,
  • American Shorthair,
  • Pixiebob,
  • Scottish Fold,
  • Exotic Shorthair.
A fluffy white kitten on a table
Felines are crepuscular, meaning they are most active at dawn and dusk

#1 Start the Whole Process With Thorough Planning

Every successful move begins with detailed planning. Whether you are relocating alone, with a bunch of kids, or with elderly parents, the principle remains the same – create a to-do list and stick to it. However, pet owners will have an additional task on their plate: keeping their furry little friend happy and safe.

Since relocation is not a simple task, hiring professional cross-country movers to lend you a helping hand will reduce your stress levels. Also, it will allow you to spend some extra time with the cat. By using cross-country moving services, you won’t have to worry about packing fragile items or even boxing up TV and other electronics.

Long-distance movers that offer professional packing services will handle everything instead of you. They’ll pack up your clothes, and they will bring all the necessary materials for boxing up kitchen items. And while they are doing all the grunt work, you can focus on your furry little friend.

A girl with a kitten
Long distance movers can be of huge help during the move

#2 Before Moving With Cats Get Them Accustomed to the Carrier

Those who plan to relocate with pets should know that they are on the list of items movers won’t move. That means you have to consider alternative ways of transportation. So, if you are not shipping the car across the country, use it to transport a furry little friend to a new home.

To make the trip easier and safer, you need to keep the pet contained during the drive. This is especially important if you are relocating from the east coast to the west or vice versa because of the long drive.

If your furry little friend is not used to being in a carrier, start training them a month or two before the move. Buy the carrier in the right size, and start putting treats in it. After a while, your feline will feel comfortable staying in the crate for a while. When you are sure they are willing to stay in a crate for a while, go for a test drive. It would show you if the feline adapted to it.

Get the Cat Accustomed to the Leash Before Moving Cross Country

Furthermore, if relocating from the west coast to the east coast or the other way around, you’ll need to make frequent stops to stretch legs. When you are making a pause, make sure to let your feline take a walk as well. However, they might get scared by an unknown environment and flee. To avoid it, put them on a leash. That way, you can walk them at stops without worrying about their safety.

Feline at the leash
Felines are communicating with people by meowing

#3 When Moving With a Cat, Ensure You Keep Up With Their Routine

Relocation takes a lot of time, and you might get overwhelmed by the number of tasks. It will be all up to you, from finding a job to simpler things like preparing a house for movers. However, while dealing with those tasks, don’t forget to pay attention to your furry little friend.

To avoid stressing them out during the move, try to keep their daily routines intact. Feed and play with them like you usually would. Have daily snuggles, and if you have kids, encourage them to play with felines as much as they can. The playtime will be a great distraction for both kids and animals.

Have a Designated Room in the Home for Your Pet

Another thing that will stop the feline from feeling anxious is to keep them away from all the action. While movers are packing up everything from the household inventory list, pets should be kept in a room that’s off-limits for unknown people. You can leave them in a bedroom or a space that was packed up and emptied beforehand. This chill area is also a great place for you to relax when the whole relocation process becomes too much.

A kitten under the blanket
Felines have up to 100 different vocalizations while dogs have around 10

#4 Paying a Visit to the Vet Before Moving Across the Country

Because it is a big change, not only for you but also for the feline, talk to the vet about all the ways you can make the relocation process easier. The vet will be able to tell you if the feline is prone to anxiety, and then they will provide you with some useful tips on how to manage it. They will probably be able to suggest some kitten-specific products designed to ease the feeling of anxiety.

On top of that, if your furry little friend is not microchipped, the trip to the vet is the best moment to change that. You can also get them a collar with ID tags. However, don’t forget to put the new address on, instead of the old one. These forms of identification can come in handy if your pets get lost outside while exploring.

Mild Sedative Might Be Good for Your Cat’s Health

While at the vet, you should get informed about sedatives your feline can take. They will make the trip itself easier and less stressful. However, talking about meds with the vet is essential because different breeds might require different doses and different prescriptions. For more information about sedatives, check out the video below.

#5 Prepare a Bag of Essentials for a Trip to a New House

While preparing a bag of essentials for yourself and your family members, don’t forget about the furry little friend. While yours will contain a change of clothes, chargers, food, and documents, the bag for your pet should contain bowls, food, leash, treats, litter box, and toys. Also, if your feline is using some meds every day, ensure they are in the bag.

If you don’t want to overfill the bag of essentials, plan to stop on the way to a new place and buy things that the feline needs. Check where the pet stores are because there you can find everything a feline needs, and those shops can be great bathroom stops.

Toys, food, and clothes for animals
Shops are an excellent way to stock up on food supplies along the trip

#6 Introduce Them to a New Home One Room at the Time

As we said before, cats are really territorial creatures, and putting them in an unfamiliar environment can stress them significantly. That’s why, when you move, don’t let them explore all the rooms at once. Restrict them to one main area. If you let them wander around the house from the start, they might get overwhelmed. Furthermore, they can find some small and hidden nooks and crannies around the property and lay low there, letting you think they ran away.

To avoid playing hide and seek with your furry little friend, put them in a designated space. That space should be equipped with all kitten necessities such as their litter box, food, and toys. Then let them get used to that space. While the feline is exploring the space, you can finish unpacking, and when every room is set, let the cat explore them one by one.

Also, if a feline is allowed to go outside to the backyard, don’t let them go alone for the first month. Go out with them, and you can even keep them on the leash. Explore the yard with them and see if there are some dangerous and small spaces they can get stuck in. Also, while thinking about improving the home, don’t forget to install a catflap.

A brown cat hiding in a box
Boxes and bags are some of the favorite hiding spots for kittens

#7 Be Patient, It Will Take a Few Weeks for the Pet to Get Used to a New Space

Are you wondering how long does it take for a cat to get used to a new home? Let’s say you let the feline adjust to one room and then let them explore the rest of the home, you try to keep up with their routines, but they still don’t seem comfortable. Don’t get frustrated. Sometimes, the adjustment process takes time. Some animals just need more of it than others.

However, during the first month or two, you should pay attention to the sudden behavioral changes that might indicate your furry friend is depressed. Some of the most common signs are:

  • Body language – ears held back and tail tucked are some of the most common signs that something is wrong.
  • Aggression – if you notice that the feline is aggressive without a good reason, they might be sad.
  • Excessive sleep – even though cats are known to sleep a lot, but if you notice that they are asleep more than usual, that is a sign of trouble.
  • Lack of appetite – if the feline stopped eating, they might be unhappy about something.

If you notice some of these signs, don’t hesitate to call a local vet and ask for help.

A brown kitten
There are a few signs that can tell you the feline is not feeling happy or safe

Embrace All Tips for Moving With a Cat and Relocation Won’t Be Stressful

You might have wondered is it safe to move house with a cat, but now you know that with a few safety precautions, it is more than possible. Try to apply as many tips as you can, and the move will go smoothly. Your furry little friend won’t be too stressed out, and you won’t be worried about their health. Call movers to handle all the grunt work while you are showering the feline with love and attention. In the end, the whole process will be worth the trouble when you see your furry little friend playing happily in a new home.

Michael Vaughan

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

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