View Full Version : how do you move cats?

05-09-2008, 02:37 PM
I am moving!!!!:woohoo::woot: I have two cats and we are moving from PA to FL and we are driving for 3 days. We will have breakfast drive for 3 hours have lunch drive for 4 hours have dinner and then check into a hotel. I'm worried about the cats. when we stop to have meals we will let them eat and stretch and poop and stuff. I'm still worried. Does anyone know how to handle it? Please Help.

05-09-2008, 02:42 PM
We went from MI to WY with 2 cats, took about 3 days... You can pick up food to go and eat at rest stops, though we didn't let ours out except at night in the motel room. We had a small litter box in the moving truck that we had them go in when we made a stop, though because of the trauma, they weren't much interested in either eating or pooping. We also did much longer days, about 8-10 hours of driving.

05-09-2008, 02:43 PM
Haven't moved them that far before but did move them about 175 miles....4 hour trip. It will freak them some but once you get them in the new home, they'll be okay after a few days. I'd make sure to feed them lightly for one thing. Have a closable litter box... we used a rubbermaid storage container, for the motel room. I would keep them in carrier or two if possible. Mine wanted to get under the seats and pedals and over the dashboard while we were driving...dangerous for them and us. Overall, they should be alright, just get used to some yowling for an hour or two and if you decide not to put them in carriers, make sure they don't escape when you stop. Talk to them sweetly alot and assure them with your voice, maybe a finger or two through the cage front will help. Good luck!

05-09-2008, 02:51 PM
If you have a biggish car and its not going to be crammed full of stuff for the move maybe you could use a dog cage. My dog cage/crate have a metal bottom so I would make up their bed in one end and have a small litter tray in the other end so they could go toilet when the need arises. Then feed them in there as well.

When you go on holiday and they go into a cattery they only have a small space, so for three days it is not the end of the world. give them lots of attention when you stop. take them for a walk on a lead if they won't freak out. Don't want them to work out of their collar and run off in the middle of nowhere.

Now I have never traveled that long with a cat. But this is the idea that came to my mind. Somebody else may have been on a trip like your before and have better ideas. Good luck with your move

05-09-2008, 03:13 PM
Keep them in a covered crate at all times unless you are letting them out to walk, and you should probably put them in a harness and leash in that case. Cats get freaked out easily and if you stop at a rest area and let them out, they may bolt into traffic. That would be very dangerous for them, and YOU as you try to catch them. Be safe and prepared.

Let their vet know that you're moving and ask for some motion sickness medicine and sedatives. You don't have to use either, but if you need them, you'll be glad to have them.

Best to leave them alone as much as you can during the trip as it will be very stressful for them. Unless they're very affectionate cats, coddling them will probably not help much. Once you get to your new place, they'll need a week or so to settle down and get used to their new home.

Hope this helps, and best of luck!

05-09-2008, 04:15 PM
Very carefully. We've moved our poor kitties way too much and they have survived every time. One of them isn't afraid of anything and the other is terrified of his own shadow. Good advice on the valium pills. Our Max (the one who's not afraid of anything) cried for 500 miles - Nonstop. And we drugged him. It didn't work. Sometimes it did, this time it didn't. That is a horrible sound to have to listen to for that long of a trip. :gah:

If you have skittish cats, put them in a cat carrier and leave it open so they can get out and explore the vehicle (no, not the moving truck!) get a covered litter pan and leave them food and water out so they can eat when they want too. Our skittish one didn't eat the whole drive (1,000 miles). We took them in the hotel and let them out and he was fine. I honestly wouldn't even let them outside even with a leash. Things happen and the noises are horrible for them, to me it's not worth the risk of losing them. And I wouldn't prolong the trip any longer than necessary. It won't matter if you stop extra times to let them out, they won't be relaxed no matter how many times you stop. We did it in 2 days, stopping only for gas and to eat, which we did when we stopped for the gas.

When you get to your new home, put them in the bathroom with food and water and litter and close the door. While you are moving everything inside they'll be safe that way.

Oh!! One piece of advice. If you let them roam around the car and you are at a rest stop and you get out to stretch your legs (not leaving the area of the car) and you leave the keys in the car and you have power locks, well, lets just say don't leave your keys in the car with power locks even to step out to stretch those legs. I almost learned the hard way in the middle of nowhere!! Our Max used the drivers side arm rest to jump up onto the dash of the car and just as I was opening the door his foot hit the power lock switch!!! :rofl: He locked the car. Keys inside and the dog and 2 cats inside. Oy vey, that was too close.

Jan in CA
05-09-2008, 04:39 PM
If it hasn't been said I'd give the vet a call. Sometimes they can give them something to help keep them calm, too. When you get them to your new place keep them inside, if they aren't already indoor cats, till they become acclimated to the new house/apt.

05-09-2008, 04:44 PM
You could get lucky. My cat travels like a dog and we take her back and forth to Tennessee several times a year with us. We have her food, water and a litter box. Only thing that we fear is the dreaded highway dump in which we quickly have to find an exit to clean out the box. Other than that, she's actually a better traveler than some people I know. I hope your kitties are the same.

05-09-2008, 06:02 PM
We moved from CA to NJ with 3 kids and dog and my 21 year old cat. What might have helped was when our house was being seen by buyers, I packed up the kids and the animals and drove around until they left the house. I really just wanted the homebuyers to be able to look at the house without hearing the dog bark or wondering if the housebound cat got out but it also worked with getting both of them used to being in the truck. When we moved I had a smaller size dog kennel with a shelf in it, in there was a bed she was familier with and a smaller size litter box and she did fine. In the motel rooms, I really just let her out in the bathrooms rooms, I figured this was better for her, less places for her to get stuck in and I think she felt safer in there. If you do this with a dog kennel and the litter box, you might want to cut up some cardboard to the size of the corner the cat box will be in to try and keep the litter in their and not in the carpet of your car/truck.

Oh, and I also made sure she had a AVID chip in her so that if she did get out and was caught by someone, the vet would be able to find me (make sure your contact info is current with AVID).

05-09-2008, 10:43 PM
Keep them in a covered crate at all times

Good point, ours were more comfortable with a towel over the carrier.

05-10-2008, 08:57 AM
Never moved with my two...however, when they "hear" the "carrier" come out of the closet, they "both" are panic stricken:shock: I have to get into"full body gear " just to "capture" em:flirt:Three words for you med i cation....(for the cats tooo)!!!

05-10-2008, 10:05 AM
I moved from TX to KY with a cat and dog 8 years ago. Tried to take the cat into the motel with us at night--she was so freaked out by the strange surroundings that she got into the box springs of the motel bed and we had to completely disassemble the bed to get her out. After that we left her in the car with her food and litter box--it at least smelled like the family and the dog, and she was much less stressed. In fact she actually seemed quite relaxed in there by the end of the trip, Tho' she was delighted to be back in the house after the move was complete (we moved our entire trailer house, so the house came with us).

05-10-2008, 11:59 AM
That's another thing... if you do let them out in the room, keep an eye on them to make sure they don't bolt out the door. Our first night out, we couldn't find one of ours and thought she'd made a run for it when the door was open. After calling for her and looking for nearly an hour, we concluded she was gone and went to bed. A bit later, we heard a noise under it -- she'd crawled behind and into the platform. Every night after that, we blocked off the opening to the platform so she couldn't get into it. She likes to hide under the bed when she's freaked out.

05-10-2008, 01:08 PM
Never moved house with a cat, but have acquired adult cats. I have always been told not to let them outside for a few days when you get to the new home so they get used to the new house and realise that it's their new home. Otherwise they might wander off or as one of my mum's cat's did when she was young, try and go back to the old house. Her cat made it as it was across a city (took it six months) but across the distances you're likely to be travelling they might just go and get lost! Another good reason to make sure you update your chip information.

05-10-2008, 03:09 PM
Many years ago, we livee in a village in the mountains so the houses are scattered on ridges and gullies. We moved to another ridge and one of the cats kept going back to the old house, through the woods and passed the coyotes and everything. After about 4 months he quit doing that, but when the people who'd bought our house called, we knew why....

05-10-2008, 03:12 PM
I've heard stories of cats finding their way back to the old house across several states!

05-10-2008, 04:20 PM
I moved from California to Pennsylvania with my two cats - fortunately they travel like a dream. At first I had them in separate kennels, but unfortunatly the sun was beating down on them, so I let them out. They layed down on the passenger seat and floor the entire trip and were very content. When I stopped, I would put them on a leash (with harnesses) and let them stretch a bit more, and they were always free to roam around in the hotel rooms. They didn't eat, drink or do their business while in the car ever.
Tips to make the move easier on them in the home:
- set out the carrier(s) for them to explore before you move - mine actualy take ocassion naps in theirs and love them
- pack their things last
- make sure everything is set up before you let them out of the carriers in the new home
- let them in one room first and then slowly let them explore the house
- if they're outdoor cats, sprinkle some used cat litter outside the house (i know it sounds icky, but it helps them find their way back - you wouldnt want them finding their way back to your old home)
- give them lots of extra love before and after the move - we tend to be rushed and neglect our pets a little during a move

05-11-2008, 10:49 AM
We have one cat that just wants to sit in the carrier when we travel to WV...he is to nervous...and then our youngest cat she is always very nervous but in the car she feels better snuggled on my lap...she will sit like that the whole trip and help me knit :teehee:

I agree with what others have said on moving them :thumbsup:

05-11-2008, 05:45 PM
Thans for the great advice everyone... I'm getting ready to move from IL to MD with my 4 little furries, and I'm dreading being in a car with them screeching for 14 hours!

05-12-2008, 02:28 PM
I have an upcoming move with cats, too. I did it once before, but they stayed with my parents until I was settled and could move them in. That won't work this time!

My biggest worry: I'll be moving mid summer when cars can get so hot so fast. I'll be taking the quickest potty breaks ever to keep the AC going so they're as comfortable as they can be in their crates.

05-12-2008, 05:45 PM
Great suggestions! I too will be moving a cat from Eureka to Portland OR, about a 9 hour trip. The cat is already freaked out by the new kitten (who won't be going) so this new trauma is worriesome. She is also going to have to become an indoor cat because my daughter's complex only allows indoor cats. (Can't mess up the expensive landscaping is my guess) We are going to do the crate thing but the suggestion of covering it is a wonderful idea.

05-12-2008, 09:35 PM
Wow, very nice suggestions.... I will move from WI to Puerto Rico probably next year and I WILL take my two cats with me... I am of course already worried. We'll be flying and it will take at least one stop and around 7-8hours from the moment we leave my apartment to the moment we land.... sniff...We'll see....

05-14-2008, 01:48 AM
I have moved with mine and I actually travel with them when we have to be gone more than 1 night. I have a large dog size crate and I leave it out all the time so they dont freak. it has a carpet in it and blankies. I take the door off the crate once were in the car and ready to go so they can use the litter box on the floor in the back and get their food. I keep a quilt over it for privacy and quiet and I always have to have quiet music on. My cats loves music and the minute it is on they settle down. They have never been a problem as long as they are behind their blanket they are happy. They never get on my lap or bother me in the front driving, the whole back seat of course is theirs. We have traveled with them in the car up to five days guess is the longest and not one problem. Though they dont like using the litter box in a moving car and usually hold it till the motel. We been doing this about 7 years now with these cats, Before that I had the champions of travel, cross country 8 times when we lived in washington state and my family was in pa. They never used a cage just their pet beds and leashes.
I carry their tee pee and bowls and everything so it is the same everywhere we go with their belongings. We one time had a hotel where we knew something happened there in the past, the cat was so upset he wouldnt sleep and paced and growled most of the night, we changed hotels the next day and all was quiet again.

05-14-2008, 09:32 AM
Easy. Wrap them in bubble wrap, put them in a box, and ship them UPS.

05-14-2008, 11:19 AM
Easy. Wrap them in bubble wrap, put them in a box, and ship them UPS. that's funny. I was thinking about that:chair::roflhard::teehee::rofl:

05-14-2008, 04:53 PM
Cheley, my cat is like yours...I have to ambush him to get him into the carrier...if he sees it or hears it ahead of time, he will bolt and hide under a bed where I can't get him!
I've traveled about 8 hours with my skittish cat and the best thing is to leave him in the carrier the whole time. He yowls a bit when he's first put in, but once we started driving, he calmed down and even went to sleep. I didn't dare let him out for fear he would freak out and jump on me while driving or scratch me up. :) But they seem to be able to survive long trips just fine and then once in a new place, it only takes a couple of days for them to get comfortable. Once the place smells like you, they will feel much more at home.
I would worry about the bed in the hotel room too...how crazy that they can squirrel their way up into the boxsprings! Maybe lock the cat in the bathroom for the night (with food, water, litter box and blankie of course)?

05-14-2008, 06:53 PM
I haven't moved that far away, but when I went to college my cat came with me.... and home every month. 4 hour drive. The first few times we had his box facing forward he could see out, and just YOWLED the whole time, and tried desperately to open the cage. We got a suggestion from my best friend, who's mother is a cat breeder and travels alot for cat shows. She suggested keeping the box turned around so the cat could not see outside. If it is an open, all over cage type instead, cover it with a sheet. This worked MIRACLES. My cat meowed for just the first 30 min and then calmed down and slept or something. whatever he did he was quiet.

If you aren't able to have a litter box inside the cage with them because of size constraints, I would pick up a cat carrier that allows for kitty accidents. I found one at a pet store, in various sizes, and if the cat peed, it drained into a removable drawer below the cat, so there would be no pee everywhere, or on the poor kitty.

Also, for moving, if your cat loves to sleep on your bed like mine does, wash your sheets a day or two before the move, and sleep in them and use them as normal until you pack them away. When you get to your new place lock up the kitty in a mostly vacant room or spare bathroom, with all the essentials and your folded up sheets. My cat was so freaked out by my new place, but having that familiar scent calmed him down so much, it's something I use every time I move now, and i always find my cat curled up on the blanket, or buried in it that first day... It keeps him calmer and quieter.

Good luck to you and your kitty.

05-15-2008, 12:14 PM
My cat and I have moved 5 times. She is 18 and rides in the car really well. Our upcoming challenge is moving from Ohio to Washington. We are flying. Just for fun, imagine me (hubby will already be there) in the airport with TWO cats and one three-year-old. Should be great fun. I am not sure who will need sedation more--the cats, my daughter or me.


05-20-2008, 01:02 PM
Many years ago, we livee in a village in the mountains so the houses are scattered on ridges and gullies. We moved to another ridge and one of the cats kept going back to the old house, through the woods and passed the coyotes and everything. After about 4 months he quit doing that, but when the people who'd bought our house called, we knew why....

I can just picture that cat slinking past the coyotes to get back to its house!!!!

We travel to out house 3 hours away every other week and take both cats back and forth. I know it's not a long journey like yours will be... but they will appreciate each having their own hard carrier with the door open (if they get crazy close the door and then they'll eventually go to sleep). We keep an open litter box at the back of the car that they use. I also keep a small packet of dry food or treats to give them once in a while, esp when stopped for gas or eating. They'll make it, they'll just be completely wiped out for days when you finally arrive. Oh, I just remembered we took them on a long trip to Michigan when my mum died, it was two days in the car and they were fine. Cats are STRONG animals!
Good luck! P.S. I wouldn't give them any drugs, our vet once told us it's worse for them coz then they are struggling against the drug feeling also.