Moving with cats can be a very stressful event, but there are ways to minimize the stress and get your cat settled as quickly as possible.
The more time you have ahead of your move the better. This way you have time to plan. As you slowly pack, your cat will get used to the boxes around the house and will actually play around them. The following are some moving with cats tips that have worked for me and hopefully will help you too.Credit: morguefile.com
Scout out Your New Digs - If you are moving to a house, scout out the neighbourhood and get to know a good veterinarian and the pet supply stores. Get a few extra new toys and treats for your cat at the new place.
Purchase a good Cat Carrier - This is really really important! If your cat has never had to use a cat carrier, then you need to get him or her used to one fast. The best way to do this, is to purchase one and then place it in the main room where she hangs out now and place something of hers inside it, such as a blanket or toy.
Leave the door open, so that she can check it out and come and go. Most cats will be cautious at first, but then they get very curious and finally will check it out inside. Leave it out for the weeks up until your move. This doesn't guarantee she won't be upset, but at least she will be familiar with the crate.
I got my own cat used to the crate/carrier in this way, and then when we arrived at the new home, she stayed in it as she felt safer there! Make sure and put an absorbant towel in her carrier, as she will most likely urinate from fear or anger, and the towel will absorb it and not the back seat of your car!
Give her/him his own room - If on moving day you can get someone else to take care of your cat that would be best, but if not, you will need to keep her in the carrier before the movers arrive and during the move to keep her safe and to stop her from running out the door in fear.
At the other end, in the new place, find a room, such as the spare bathroom and place her and her carrier in this room. Also bring her own litter box from home. It is best not to buy a new one just yet, using her old one will give her familiar smells. Giver her a water bowl and small bit of food setup in the bathroom as well. She may not eat much the first few days, but she will drink water.
Open her carrier door and then close the bathroom door. This way she will have her own space while she gets used to the new surroundings. I found a bathroom to be a good room as it is small and my cat felt most comfortable in there.
Keep her Inside - Once the movers have left, make sure the doors and windows are closed and then let her out of the bathroom to explore. Decide where she will have her litter box, and then show it to her and her feeding spot.
Stay Put for a Few days - This is not the time to take off for a holiday. Even though you will be busy unpacking, it will be nice for her to see her family and all the familiar things coming out of the boxes. Cats are curious creatures and before you know it, she will be checking out her new surroundings.
My own cat, decided that under the stairs was a great place to be for a few days. We just let her come out when she was ready, and she is now happy in her new digs!
Pet Sitter - If you have to hire a pet sitter for the initial move then do it, because the heart ache of losing your cat or pet on one of the most stressful days can be heart breaking.
During one move, we thought the cat was OK simply watching us load the truck, until we noticed he was missing. He was older and we were worried.
Instead of helping to organize the move with the movers, we spent most of the day searching for the cat, assuming he got out and ran from fear.
As it turns out, the minute the moving truck got to the new house and the back door openend, out jumped out cat! He had seen his favourite chair going into the moving truck, so he followed it in the truck and no one saw. He then had a bumpy ride to the new house! He darted from the truck and under the neighbours porch.
We just left him there and after the truck left, he slowly came out to our calls, and then settled in.
It was a very difficult day. Moving is stressful enough. You need to plan ahead when moving your cat. Think where you will put his litter box, and where you will feed him at the same time as planning out your furniture.
They are part of the family too! If you can't find a pet sitter, check with your local veterinarian. They may keep him for a fee, or recommend someone, even if it is for a couple of days until you get settled.
Cat House - If weather permits, you could simply set up a screened cat enclosure in the yard. This way you can keep your cat safe and out of the way of the movers.
I know that you may not like the idea of giving him to someone else while the move is going on, but the alternative is worse. If you simply can't find anyone to take care of him on moving day, then you will need to keep him crated. He will cry, but it is safer for him than running in fear.