Moving With a Cat – How to Prepare and Transport Your Furry Friend

August 18, 2022Moving Tips
Blake Shaw

Bostonian and residential moving and packing expert. Blake Shaw enjoys bar-hopping, music, and writing insightful content.

Are cats ok with moving house? It is a well-known fact that our feline furry friends find it hard to reconcile with relocations. So as a pet owner, you will have to invest time and energy in making them feel comfortable. However, moving with a cat is a common occurrence, and there are proven techniques and methods that will help you prepare and relocate your beloved pets safely and comfortably.

Cats Experience a Lot of Anxiety When Moving to a New Home

Do cats get sad when rehomed? We can’t exactly say that they experience relocation depression in the same way as we do, but it is a scientifically proven fact that out of all pets, cats experience the most stress when relocating to another state. The reason is that felines are naturally extremely territorial, and once your furry friend has become accustomed to a certain place, it will find it hard to adjust to a new environment and feel safe again. It could be said that felines are much more affected by adjustment insomnia than humans.

Some Cat Breeds Find It Easier to Relocate, Others Don’t – Nonetheless, Consult With the Vet About the Health of Your Pet

We have established the answer to the question – “Do cats get stressed when moving?” However, it is true that some breeds, like Persian, Russian Blue, or Siamese, handle relocations to a new city better. Nonetheless, the first thing you should do after deciding where to live is to notify your veterinarian. First of all, you will receive professional relocation advice on how to move with a cat, but also specific advice for the particular breed you own. Finally, when relocating with pets, certain states require licenses. Although felines are usually not subjected to these laws, it is best to check out websites like PetData for further information.



You Have to Decide How You Will Be Moving With a Cat to Your New House

After hiring long-distance relocating services or a car shipping company, the decision has to be made on how to reach the destination yourself. However, you mustn’t forget that you are not relocating alone to another state, and the decision will directly affect your furry friend as well. Here are the most frequent transportation choices.


If you have decided not to hire a USA auto transport company, driving to the new location will be the most likely situation. However, we have to say that moving a cat with a car is not the ideal solution for your feline as they strongly dislike traveling, and special preparation is required. And don’t forget that driving to your destination is not ideal for your relocation budget as well. So, it is wiser to consider purchasing open car transportation when weather conditions are good or enclosed auto transport when heavy precipitation is expected.


Traveling by plane is by far the best choice when moving with cats. You will need a special carrier, and depending on the rules of a certain airway company, your feline will either be placed in a special cargo compartment designated for pets, or you will be allowed to carry them with you throughout the flight. Nonetheless, relocations are most efficient when traveling by plane, and your furry companion will appreciate this efficiency as well.

Professional pet movers

There are special professional pet relocation companies that deal with the relocation of all species of animals. However, when it comes to felines, this might not be the ideal option, as the anxiety and stress your furry friend feels will become even higher once it sees unfamiliar faces. Nevertheless, these people are trained professionals who will treat your feline with the utmost care. If you have had experience with shipping cars in the USA, you probably know that there are two delivery options – door-to-door auto transport and terminal-to-terminal car shipping. Your furry friend will be transported in the former way.

You Need to Perform Special Preparations if You Want to Drive to Your New Home With Your Feline

Although there are many benefits of car shipping, there is nothing wrong with driving by yourself if you desire to. However, felines find this experience rough, especially if the drive is going to be long. Hence, you should consider the following tips for moving with a cat for a stress-free relocation:

  • Even though your furry friend will be in a carrier throughout the journey, you should let it explore the car and get used to the environment before setting off to a new home. This should be done at least a week before, and ideally more than once. It will help your feline feel more comfortable and safe. If you have free space, take your little companion on short trips around the neighborhood – that will increase the feeling of safety even more.
  • Before the journey, give your companion a small meal. Felines often experience stomach problems during car rides, and a lot of food can just make things worse. If the journey is long, make sure to have food in the car and give small portions regularly.
  • Regulate the temperature, especially if you are relocating during summer. This is, of course, important to you as well when driving. But your companion will suffer a lot if the temperature is too high. Also, if the car is exposed too much to the sunshine, try putting something across the rear windshields to block it.

Here is a useful video that will provide you with further and more detailed information on how to prepare your car for driving with feline companions.

YouTube video

Getting Your Furry Friend Used to the Carrier Is the Hardest Part of Relocation

Felines are notorious for detesting the notion of being put in a small carrier with bars. Ideally, after deciding to move, you will immediately start writing a relocation to another state checklist, and on top, you should put “Buying a traveling carrier.” Felines will get traumatized if you suddenly appear with a container and put them in. Hence, you should avoid last-minute relocations. The preparations should start at least two months before.

Once you have bought the container, you should leave it in your feline’s personal space open and equip it with its favorite blanket and toys. You should also spray it with catnip regularly. Also, it is good to spend moments together with your furry friend in the vicinity of the container, and always in some way include the container when playing. After a certain period, your furry friend should start exploring the container by itself. However, if you see that it is being stubborn, you can try the hack with food. Take your cat’s favorite food, and place small pieces close to the container. Each day, the food should be closer, until one day, it is placed inside the container.

A happy cat snuggling in the blankets
Cats like to feel comfortable, and your job is to help them with it

Ideally, Your Furry Friend Will on Its Own Get Into the Container on the Relocation Day

Be sure to check frequently on the final day whether your pet is spending time around and in the container. Ideally, when you see it enter it, you should close the door. However, if you see that it doesn’t want to enter, gently grab them on the chest and place them inside, head first. Of course, the change of behavior and stress will sometimes be immediately noticeable, and as an owner, you will worry – “Will my cat be okay after moving?“. You have to accept the fact that this is how felines behave, and that it is necessary to do this in order to move safely.

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Here Are Some Useful Tips on What to Do When Movers Arrive

The general rule when relocating with pets is that you should separate them from the process of relocation. They will be afraid of unfamiliar people going through your house and the noises that occur while packing furniture.

When it comes to felines, it is best to empty one room in advance, place the container and its favorite items in and close the doors. In addition, you can also use the packing materials for relocation, namely boxes, to your advantage. Feline’s love for boxes is well-known, so place a few that you don’t need in that room and spray them with catnip. Your furry friend will enjoy playing with them. Finally, there is always the option of finding a person to take care of your companion while the movers perform their tasks.

Tell Movers to Load Your Pet’s Possessions Last

One of the most useful tips when wondering how to move with cats is to load their possessions last and unpack them after the move first. After the relocation, there will also be the issue of – “How can I calm my stressed cat after moving?“. The best way to do that is to furnish their room in the home first. If you can, make the arrangements as similar as possible to the old room.

You Have to Help Your Furry Friend Get Adjusted to the Different Environment

How long does it take for a cat to get used to a new home? A lot depends on the breed as well, but you have to invest a lot of time and effort in order to instill the feeling of comfort and safety in your furry friend. Here are some great tips on what to do.

Maintain the daily routine

Try to maintain the same feeding schedule and playtime of the old home. Of course, this might be hard as there are many things to do after relocating. Also if you had to get a different job in the state before relocation, there is a chance that your entire timetable has to be altered because of different working hours. If you must change the routine, do it from day one and stick to it, in order for your furry friend to become accustomed as quickly as possible.

Inspect the home

Before you open your pet’s container, make sure to check whether the house is safe. Check the windows and electrical installations, but also clean your pet’s space first if the previous owners have not done a thorough move-out cleaning. Your furry friend will be both confused and excited and can easily jump out of a window or nibble some protruding wires.

Gradually introduce it to the neighborhood

One of the more frequent tips is not to let your feline out for a first week or two until it feels safe in a different house. Then with a collar, go out together and explore the neighborhood. Of course, if you have relocated to a house with a garden, you can let it explore the garden much sooner.  However, especially if you have relocated to a big city, get your furry friend microchipped in case it gets lost.

Your Furry Friends Need a Lot of Attention When Relocating

The key to a successful relocation with a feline is to start preparing it on time for transportation since, in this phase, they experience the most anxiety. There is no denying that you will have a lot on your plate when relocating, but you mustn’t forget about your furry companions. Hence, make sure to place their needs on top of the relocating to-do list, and everything will be fine.

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