Your cat is the ruler of your home. You might think of it as a pet, but you probably succumb to its every whim. Moving to a better house can be seen as an improvement, especially a bigger one or one in a more rural part of town. However, getting your cat there can be a bit of a problem.
Cats should be fine with short or extended trips. A long drive should be fine, as long as your cat is secured in the car. Open windows are a no-no, and your cat should be in its carrier if it is unattended. Bring along a few cans of cat food (as bribes) and bottles of water for longer trips. If your cat is a bit tense, bring along its favorite catnip toy, or sprinkle its carrier with catnip to calm it down.
Don’t leave your cat unattended in your vehicle’s storage compartment, even if you’re using a van. Cats will salivate in tense situations, making them more prone to dehydration and heatstroke. Don’t bother trusting moving companies with your cat. Most moving companies have no idea how to handle a pet. Your cat will probably have a miserable time inside its carrier the whole trip, and it would be lucky if the movers even bother to feed it or give it water. For longer trips, you can probably take your cat on the same flight. Most cats have no problems flying.
However, if your cat is a Persian, Munchkin, Scottish Fold, or any other flat-faced breed, it might encounter problems due to altitude. It’s safer for flat-faced breeds to travel by car, even for long journeys. Cats with underlying conditions (that is, almost every breed there is) also face higher risks of death and injury in flights due to poor ventilation, extremely hot or cold temperatures, and rough handling. If you’re traveling by air, it’s best to leave your cat with a pet transport service instead of bringing it along. Pet transport prices vary by distance, but your cat will be safe in the hands of trained professionals who will ensure its safety.
A big house might be too much to take in for your cat. If your cat is an indoor cat, keep it in its carrier and take a short tour of the house and try to identify the places where your cat might exit the house. Try to keep your cat in a small enclosed room in its first few days, but place a few familiar things in the room to keep it calm. A small room will act as its home base where it would feel protected.
Once your cat settles down, allow your cat to explore its new home slowly. Give it free rein but take measures to keep it inside the house. Even if your cat is used to the outdoors, a new environment exposes it to new dangers that it might not be aware of. Place a few litter boxes outside your cat’s “main room” and try to accompany it on its journey to assure it of the safety of its surroundings.
Loud or new noises can be unsettling to cats. Moving to the city from a rural area or vice versa can expose your cat to new sounds that it could find threatening or enticing. If your cat can’t settle immediately due to background noise, it might need to stay in its room for a week or two to adjust.
A new environment can pose dangers to your cat. Rural settings have wild animals and predators, while cities have motor vehicles and the like. Even changes in weather and altitude can cause problems in your cat. Living in elevated states like Utah or Colorado can leave your cat dehydrated without the proper measures. Flat-faced breeds might also have problems breathing the thinner and dryer air in their first few months of moving in. Hot and humid states like Florida or Hawaii will also pose big problems for the furrier Persian, Siberian, or Maine Coon.
However, keeping the air conditioning on should solve most problems. If your cat must go outside, make sure its trips are short and accompanied. Note the possible dangers of the new environment, and get in touch with a local veterinarian for more information.
Moving won’t be the same if you can’t take your precious pets with you. Learn what to prepare and what to expect during your move to ensure your cat’s safety and comfort.