Saturday, October 14, 2006

Moving Tip: Cats

Moving with cats, either locally or cross-country, can be a hassle. They're not used to cars, don't like being forced into carriers, and often have trouble adapting to new environments. Here a few tips I've picked up after several local moves and several cross-country moves.

  • Cat Carriers - If possible, pick a cat carrier that allows your cat to comfortably turn around. If you have multiple cats it can be comforting to them to travel in the same carrier. A good place to start looking for carriers is any place that sells items meant for show cats. There are many sizes and styles to choose from and comfort for the cat seems to be more of a factor than it is with traditional plastic carriers.
  • Food and Litterboxes on the Road - The first time I moved with a cat I was much too worried about these issues. The truth is, most cats are too scared by the move to eat or use the litterbox. When traveling cross-country I suggest placing a small, rectangular tupperware with litter in it in the carrier. The cats probably won't use it, but at least they have the option. Don't worry about leaving food in the carrier - just offer it to them when you stop for breaks.
  • Water on the Road - Do keep a container of water in the carrier. Cats are more likely to keep themselves hydrated than full. A method that works for me is to use adhesive velcro on the bottom of a plastic water bowl. I put a piece of velcro on the floor of the cat carrier as well. I can fill the bowl with water and velcro it in so very little water spills. When the bowl needs to be refilled you can just unvelcro the bowl and refill it.
  • Hotels - Many hotels allow cats to stay for a small fee. This isn't too much of a problem - just bring in your carrier with the bowl of water and litterbox inside. Provide a bowl of food and your cats should be okay. You may want to look the hotel room over before taking the cats out of the car. Many hotel beds are easy for cats to hide under and hard for people to move to get the cats out. Block any easy access points with luggage or pillows and you'll have an easier time finding the cats in the morning!
  • Familiarizing the Cats with the New House - The most important thing to show your cat in your new house is the litterbox. Many cats become disoriented, resulting in unpleasant messes for you! If possible, set up the litterbox before bringing the cats into the house. Let the cats sniff around on their own, but make sure they find the litterbox. If they don't notice it, take them on a little tour! (Helpful hint - use the same litter they've had in the past. New litter can also throw them off, resulting in more unpleasant messes!) After you know the litterbox has been introduced, show them the food and water bowls. This part of familiarization should be easy. If you already have your old furniture in the house your cats should find their favorite chairs or shelves and settle in comfortably. If you're still moving the furniture in the adjustment period might take a little longer.
  • Identification - Always put collars and ID tags on cats when moving with them, even if they are indoor cats and normally don't wear collars. A disoriented cat might run out of the house and you'll want your new neighbors to know where he or she lives!
Most of these cat tips work with other pets as well. The bottom line is, moving is stressful enough without any pets. Planning ahead makes a huge difference.


Jobaby47 said...

Thank you so much your advice really helped in moving my 3 cats to our new home.

Anna said...

Happy to help! :)

Anonymous said...

Nice blog on moving cats really was informative.