Moving is one of the most stressful life events we encounter. Moving with cats can be even more stressful. It’s important to know ways to help make the process as smoothly as possible for you and your kitty.
Our coworker, Lindsay, recently made a cross country trip with her two cats, Dash & Luna, to move here to Las Vegas from New Jersey. Prior to the move, she spent time researching ways to help make this move easier for them (and thus, her). She provided us the checklist she made to be sure the move went smoothly.
15 Tips On Moving With Cats
- As much as you can, keep your cat’s routine feeding and playtimes before, after and during the trip.
- Take out their carrier(s) ahead of time and let the kitties explore and get comfortable with them. If traveling with 2 or more cats, they sell extra large carriers for the back seat that may be a better option.
- Take them for short practice rides in the car and treat them afterwards so that they associate traveling with positivity.
- Pack a bag just for them: Pack extra food (and a little variety in case they get picky on the trip). Pack treats for pit stops, plastic utensils, paper towels, cleaning wipes and paper plates/bowls for easy clean up on the go. Also don’t forget bottled water and any medications or supplements they may need. Include a few of their favorite toys (wand toys are great, easy to travel with and won’t get lost in hotel rooms), and their favorite blanket for comfort. And don’t forget a litter box and plenty of litter!
- Plan out your route and hotels ahead of time. Call any pet friendly hotels and make sure they allow cats. (Some of them sadly don’t, even though they claim to be pet friendly). Also, find out the extra fees they charge for pets- most of them do raise the rate and it’s good to know that when booking so you can budget accordingly. You can also request a ground level room or ask if they have bell carts available so you’re able to transport them (and all of your belongings) easily.
- Do a quick google search of the cities you will be staying in, and write down the closest emergency vets in case you need them along the way.
- When traveling, line their carrier with a small blanket for comfort and add a small litter box (if you can’t find one that fits, you can use a small cardboard box for the car rides and then use a regular sized one in the hotel rooms). Offer them water and food when you stop for gas or to use the restroom. Squeezable meat tubes are a good option for treats, because they have moisture and are very portable.
- Consider getting a small clip on car fan to keep them cool, especially if you are traveling in warmer months. It gets hot in the back of a car!
- Bring a few extra towels or blankets in case they soil the ones inside the carrier. These are also helpful if you need to cover the top of the carrier to help them feel safe.
- Use a calming supplement like Cat Calm ahead of time and during the trip to keep their stress levels down. Rescue Remedy is also a good product that you can put on your kitties as well as their bedding during the drive.
- Try and stay calm and keep your own anxiety levels down, because they smell our fear and it will increase their anxiety.
- Play calming music and be mindful of how loud it is, try and keep it to a relaxing level if your cat is extra stressed.
- Be mindful of altitude and how it can affect your cat. They feel their ears popping too and they don’t understand what it is. They may meow a lot during that leg of the trip. Be patient and reassure them that it’s ok. 🙂
- Try to keep the daily car ride to around 8 hours so that they have plenty of time to stretch their legs and decompress once in the hotel room. And make sure to play with them for at least 20 minutes each night so that they can get their energy out and sleep well for the car ride the next day!
- Once you arrive at your destination/new home, use the scent swapping technique so they feel more at home. It can take time for them to adjust so be patient with them and give them lots of extra love and attention until they start to settle in.
Be aware that there will be glitches. You may get a flat tire or run out of gas. Your kitty may have an accident in the car or meow a lot. Take each moment as it comes and keep your eyes on the destination. And, as much as possible… enjoy the trip!