9 Moving Tips for Moving Across the Country With Cats

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Here are more tips from Jane A. Kelley to go along with her advice from last week.  Again, wish I had known this!

First and foremost, proper preparation is key. In addition to packing, shipping, or selling your stuff and getting your car road-ready, take these steps to get your cats road-ready, too.

My cat, Bella, waits for her “meet and greet” with the vet. Make sure that at least your cats’ rabies vaccinations are current, because that is a legal requirement for interstate travel in the U.S.

 

1. Get your cats vetted and microchipped

Before you leave, make sure that your cats’ vaccinations are up to date and that they have a supply of any medications they need. A microchip can be a lifesaver if one of your cats goes missing along the way.

2. Research health certificate requirements

If you’re flying with your cats, you will need to have health certificates. Otherwise, import requirements vary from state to state. Washington, for example, requires a certificate of veterinary inspection for each animal and proof of current rabies vaccination, but pets traveling in cars with their owners are exempt from the certificate requirement. The USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service provides links to import licensing requirements for each state.

 

3. Research pet licensing requirements at your destination

The city of Seattle requires that all cats be licensed within 30 days of their arrival.  That means I’ll have a month after I get there to go to City Hall (or wherever the pet licensing agency is) and get Siouxsie, Thomas, and Bella’s licenses. You can usually find this information on the city’s website or by doing a web search for something like “[location] pet licensing rules.”

4. Find pet-friendly hotels along your route and reserve rooms

PetsWelcome is a website that allows you to enter the beginning and end of your trip and provides a directory of every pet-friendly hotel along your route. Each hotel has slightly different requirements and pet deposit fees, so be sure that you can comply with the hotel’s pet policy. I’d also recommend deciding how far you can comfortably drive each day and reserving rooms at those points along your route before you leave.

 

5. Organize your cats’ information

Keep your cats’ veterinary records, along with photos and descriptions of each cat, in an easily accessible folder or tote in your vehicle. Keep a pet first-aid kit and your cats’ medications here, too.

6. Gather your pet supplies before you leave

Get enough cat food to last for the duration of the trip, plus a couple of more days in the event of delays. If you buy canned food, get a product with a pull top. Have paper towels, spare carrier liners, puppy pads, and pet stain cleaners easily available. Get a small bag of the litter they currently use and a few disposable litter boxes. I’d also recommend that you bring some Feliway spray and Rescue Remedy or some other calming flower essence.

 

While you’re en route, here are some other important considerations.

1. Keep your cats’ needs and comfort in mind

Pull up all food and water an hour before you leave. That will allow your cats to eat and do their litter box business before you hit the road, and it will reduce the chance that they’ll vomit. Make sure you have your “road food” packed before you leave, too; don’t leave your cats alone in your car to pick up groceries. While driving, keep the music at a reasonable volume.

My cat, Thomas, sniffs at a pet carrier.

 

2. Buckle up for safety

Keep your cats in their carriers, and strap those carriers in with seat belts to ensure safety in the event of an accident or emergency stop. Never, ever open your cats’ carriers with the car doors open; it takes only a second for them to flee and become lost in unfamiliar territory.

3. Be as relaxed as possible

A long-distance move is a huge transition. Your life and your cats’ lives are changing forever. This trip can be an amazing experience for all of you if you can be fully present because, after all, the journey is as important as the destination.

Siouxsie won’t let me forget to pack her favorite toy.

 

Have you ever made a long-distance move with your cat? Do you have any more tips to share?

Marion Lovato is the author of Sam, the Superkitty.  Her book describes an ordinary cat changing into a superhero to protect his family from things that go bump in the night.  Available on Amazon as a paperback or Kindle edition.  http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1604588667

How Do You Prepare Your Cats for a Big Move?

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Summer is travel time; vacationing, visiting family, etc.  Also happening at this time, people are moving.  Having moved from Las Vegas back to my hometown, I wish I had known this before I left.  I traveled 850 miles with one cat talking ALL DAY LONG the first day and both of them talking the second day.  Was I ever glad to get here.  Then came the adjustment of living in an entirely new home.  That’s a story for another day!  Right now, I would like to share the advice of Jane A Kelley.  She posted an article on Catster about this topic earlier.

I’m about two weeks away from a 150-mile move. I’ll be leaving my humble suburban basement apartment for a beautiful top-floor loft in a large city, and I have a lot to do before moving day: purging stuff I no longer want, packing stuff I still need, arranging for the movers’ arrival, and so on and so forth. And, of course, preparing my cats for our huge transition.

I have moved house with my cats before, but never quite so far. This is also the first time I’ll have two strange men in my home, running in and out with my furniture and all the knick-knacks, paddy-whacks, and gewgaws that are a part of my life.

If you’ve never relocated with a cat before, there’s lots of good advice available on making the physical aspects of the move easier for your cat, and I plan to follow these instructions to the letter.

What’s this I hear about a move? / Curious cat photo via Shutterstock

 

But beyond the logistics of keeping my cats safe, there are other things I feel are equally important.

Cats know that something strange is in the air. They pick up our feelings and the changes in our own energy as we experience the excitement, stress, and occasional terror involved in such a huge life change. So the first thing I had to do is tell my kitties what’s up.

I told my cats that we’re going to be moving to the biggest cat tree in the whole world! I painted a picture in my mind of the new apartment: the windows everywhere (more “kitty TV” channels than they’ve experienced in years in my relatively windowless basement apartment) and the numerous sun puddles they’ll be able to use for their basking pleasure.

I told them about our new landlord, a cat lover who can’t wait to meet them.

Aren’t you forgetting something? / Cat at window photo via Shutterstock

 

I told them what’s going to happen on moving day: the men, the quick emptying of the house, the carriers and the two-and-a-half-hour car ride, and reassured them that everything’s going to be okay.

I opened my heart and shared my feelings of excitement, joy, and anticipation.

Yeah, all of this stuff is pretty woo-woo, but I believe cats understand this stuff and that it helps to alleviate the stress they feel when they sense change in the air.

On moving day itself, I’ll give them a couple of drops of Bach Rescue Remedy by stroking their heads and rubbing it into their fur. This flower essence is fantastic for relieving the physical, emotional, and spiritual stress that comes along with major life changes like moving.

At our new home, I’ll dose the cats with Stress Stopper flower essence and plug in a couple of Feliway diffusers.

Finally, I’m going to take a couple of days off from work so that all of us can settle into our new home together.

I’m fortunate that my cats are people-bonded rather than place-bonded: wherever Mama is, is home, as far as they’re concerned. Place-bonded cats suffer much more during a move because they’re ripped away from the home they know so well.

What have you done to help your cats through a move? If you’ve done things that worked -– or didn’t work -– I’d love to hear from you.

Marion Lovato is the author of Sam, the Superkitty.  Her book describes an ordinary cat changing into a superhero to protect his family from things that go bump in the night.  Available on Amazon as a paperback or Kindle edition.  http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1604588667