The Complete Guide To Moving Long Distance With Cats

Moving home can be a massive stress, not least for your cat. If you’re about to take the leap, here are some tips on moving long distance with cats.

moving long distance with cats
Jorbasa Fotografie / Flickr

Aside from divorce and death, moving home is one of the most stressful things that any of us will have to endure. From packing up all your worldly belongings to hiring a truck, there are a million little things that you just can’t forget. But wait just a minute. How on earth does this all affect your pet? Moving long distance with cats is anything but easy!

For one thing, many felines tend to suffer from anxiety when it comes to traveling. Remember, to them, this is something completely alien and new. It’s really no wonder that this strange experience will make them uncomfortable. What’s more, the last thing cats like is to be confined for long periods of time.

Basically, you’re in a lose-lose situation. It’s unlikely that this process will be easy, but if you have no other choice, you’ve come to the right place. Here’s the complete guide to moving long distance with cats. We honestly hope that it helps you along the way.

Do cats really like traveling?

First of all, let’s address the burning question on everyone’s mind. Do cats really like traveling? The short answer is no. If you’ve ever had to take your pet to a cattery or the vets, you will know that they don’t love going in vehicles or the like. The reason is simple; they hate being controlled. When you pop your cat in a carry case and then in the car, you have all the control and they know it.

So, with that in mind, you need to make this entire journey more comfortable for your cat. Consider their feelings at every feat. In doing so, you will ensure that they have as relaxed journey as they possibly can. Sure, it won’t be perfect (nothing ever is), but if you take note of our advice, you just may make things a little easier on you and your feline friend.

How to plan for the big move!

There will be a whole load of things that you need to plan for the move, as we’ve already mentioned. Taking your cat with you shouldn’t cause you too much extra stress, but you will need to factor them into your plans. Getting your feline checked over and seeing that they have all the right paperwork is absolutely essential. Here’s what you need to do:

  • Take a quick trip to the vet

You absolutely need to make sure that everything is up to date when it comes to your cat’s health. Head to the vet and talk to them about this issue. Be 100% transparent about what’s happening. Explain that you’re moving and want the full works for your kitty.

You will need to ensure that your cat’s shots are up to date and that they have the proper health certificates from the vet. If you happen to be flying with your pet, you will need these certificates before your animal can board the plane.

Not sure what your flying rights are? Here’s some information on the import and export rules: aphis.usda.gov/aphis/ourfocus/importexport

  • Take some cat supplies with you

It’s time to stock up on all the things that you will need for the journey. If you’re flying long haul or traveling across the country, you will be on your journey for a really long time. You may already have thought about what you will eat, but what about your cat?

When moving long distance with cats, you need to ensure that you have some snacks and food for them along the way. Take a bowl for food and one for water with you. You should also take cat treats and dry food for the trip. Water is seriously important to your cat’s health so make sure that they stay hydrated.

  • Consider your cat’s comfort

Think about it. How would you like to be cooped up in a box for hours on end? Well, you wouldn’t, would you? That’s why you want to make your cat’s carry case as comfortable as you can. Invest in quality blankets and cushions that will ensure that they are warm and cozy. Those extras will make the whole journey a little less stressful for your pet.

You should also think about your carry case itself. How long have you had it? Is it looking a little worse for wear? If it’s old and tatty, it may well be time to invest in a new one. The more spacious the carry case is, the happier your kitty will be on the trip. It really is that simple!

  • Make sure your cat is microchipped

It’s not that your cat’s going to run away during the trip, but you really do have to prepare for every eventuality. Getting the vet to microchip your kitty ahead of time means that your cat will be extra safe when it comes to traveling. Easy!

Flying across country with cats

Are you planning to fly with your cat? Well, then you’ve come to the right place. Moving long distance with cats is hard enough. When you put a flight into the equation, it can quickly turn into a seemingly impossible mission. Well, never fear. There are some easy things that you can do which will make the entire process much easier than you imagine.

  • Check what the airline regulations say

While there are many airlines that allow you to travel with pets, you need to make sure that you understand the rules. Most of the time, each airline will publish their own set of regulations when it comes to importing and exporting animals. You should be able to easily find this information on the company’s site.

If by chance, you are not able to find what you need online, a simple phone call is all it takes. Calling the airline ahead of time (even if you think you know what to do) could make all the difference. They will be able to tell you what size the carry case should be, what documents your pet needs, and what you need to do as well.

  • Make sure that you get a direct flight

The very last thing you want is to have to change flights with your pet. Heading from plane to plane is nothing short of a nightmare. Your cat will find these changes distressing and it will most likely make them anxious for the rest of the journey.

Whenever possible, you should try to make sure that you book a direct flight for your move. Sure, it may cost you a little more when you buy the tickets, but you honestly cannot put a price on your cat’s happiness… and your sanity!

  • Get your carry case ready

Sadly, your cat will not be sitting with you on the plane. Nope, they will be in the luggage section. You need to make sure that you label the carry case with a large, bold note that says ‘Live Animal’ on it. You should also be sure to tape some food to the case so that the airline staff can feed your cat should there be a long stopover somewhere.

  • Don’t put a lock on the case

While your instinct may be to lock the case, it’s the last thing you should do. When moving long distance with cats, you need to prepare for every eventuality. If there’s an emergency on the plane, the staff will need to get your kitty out of their case. Sure, you should close the case, but avoid putting a lock on it at all costs.

  • Try to relax

Traveling with your cat can be stressful, but the more you worry, the worse it will be. Try to stay calm during the flight. The airline staff deal with live animals on board all the time and they will know just what to do. All you need to do right now is relax and enjoy the flight.

Moving long distance with cats by car

Flying is one thing, but what if you plan to drive to your new home? Well, car travel can actually be very stressful for your cat, and so you need to take precautions. Here are just a few things that you need to ensure you do:

  • Make sure your cat has what they need

We’ve already talked about taking things like food and blankets for your cat. Unfortunately, there’s one other little thing your cat will need. You should line the case with some newspaper in case your cat has any little ‘accidents’ on the journey.

It may also be a good idea to take a cat leash along with you. That way, when you stop the car to stretch your legs a little, you can let your kitty do the same. This will give them a chance to relieve themselves and stretch out.

If your cat seems distressed when you first put them on the leash, don’t try again. It may be that all the moving around is causing them anxiety and you don’t want to make it worse.

  • Book pet-friendly hotels along the way

If you plan on driving right across the country, it’s sensible to take breaks and even stay somewhere overnight. Before your trip, take a look at stop-off points along the way where you, your family, and your cat can relax. Instead of driving for hours and hours on end, try this handy tip! It’s well worth looking for some pet-friendly hotels where you can all get some much-needed sleep.

Looking for a pet-friendly hotel when considering moving long distance with cats? Take a look at this site where you can find cat friendly hotels: hotels.petswelcome.com

  • Keep the car as quiet as possible

It’s not enough that your cat is traveling somewhere new; everything around them could make them anxious. If you’re talking loudly in the car or have the radio on full blast, that will only add to the problem in more ways than you realize right now.

When you’re in the car, you always have to be conscious of how your cat is feeling. Any loud or excessive noise is certain to make them more stressed out than ever. Of course, you can’t control how noisy the car is, but you can control how noisy you are.

  • Pay attention to your cat

The best case scenario is that your cat falls right asleep when you put them in the case and stays that way for the entire journey. But, let’s be honest here, that’s so not going to happen. It’s far more likely that they will demand your attention throughout the journey. Give it them.

Remember, your cat is feeling worried and doesn’t know what’s going on here. They need comfort, love, and support right now. They need assurance that everything is going to be okay in the end. If you’re the one that’s driving, have someone else comfort your cat.

  • Avoid leaving your cat on their own

Finally, when you stop-off for a break, don’t leave your cat by themselves. As we’ve already mentioned, your cat will likely be anxious and worried right now. If you leave them alone, they could well panic! Have one member of the family stay with your cat (and reassure them) at all times. This little trick should help keep your kitty calm and content. Phew!

So, what do you think? Are these tips helpful for moving long distance with cats? Have you got any you’d like to share with us? We’d love to hear them! Leave us a COMMENT below and let us know.

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