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4 Ways To Get Your Cat Prepared For A Move

Published on: June 6, 2022  |  Author: Starwood Pet Travel

tabby cat

Every cat owner knows felines don’t like change. Moving is probably #1 on their Most-Hated list. But sometimes moving happens anyway, and somehow you and your adored kitty need to get through it as unscathed as possible. That calls for preparation.

Thankfully, there are several things you can do to get your cat prepared. Since cats aren’t fond of change, your goal should be to do everything you can to make moving seem “normal.”

Beyond that, there are specific steps you’ll need to take to ensure the practical side of your cat's move goes smoothly. This is important no matter how far you’re moving, but it is critical if you’re moving to another country because you’ll have to contend with foreign import regulations and prepare your cat for air travel.

Here are 5 ways to get your cat prepared for "Moving Day".

1. Maintain a familiar pre-move routine.

Why cause additional stress for your cat by changing things unnecessarily? As long as it’s physically possible, keep the locations of their food and water dishes, litter box and favorite snoozing spots intact. That way, even though they can see your furniture, clothing and other household belongings being moved around or packed into boxes, the things they hold most dear (including you) will remain familiar – a haven among the confusion.

Feed them at the same time(s) of day you always do. And spend plenty of time playing with them, if they like that, or just enjoying lap time and petting, so they know you aren’t abandoning them.

If you schedule repair people, realtors or other unknown individuals to visit your home prior to your move, put your cat in a room with their favorite toys so they won’t be disturbed by all the commotion. This is particularly important when the movers come. The last thing you want is for your cat to become frightened and run off.

Plan ahead for the same post-move routine, too. If necessary, carry their favorite food and toys with you so they'll have them right away when they arrive. And introduce your cat to their new quarters gradually, so they don't feel overwhelmed.

2. Introduce them to the travel carrier as soon as possible.

Since you have a cat, you may have some alternatives when it comes to an airline-approved travel carrier. Some airlines allow cats to ride with you in the plane’s cabin, underneath the seat in front of you. (Double-check this with your professional pet shipper, because a few countries require all imported all animals to arrive as cargo no matter what.)

If you decide to carry your cat with you, you can use a soft or hard-sided carrier, as long as it fits underneath the seat in front of you and complies with your airline's regulations. However, there are some “cons” to the on-board plan. You’ll have to haul your cat up and down airport concourses. They may seem light at first, but the longer you carry them, the heavier they will be. Look for a carrier with a shoulder strap. Keep in mind that your cat will also be considered your carry-on, which can limit what else you're allowed to take on board.

When you have a layover, you’ll need to find the airport’s designated pet relief area or secure space if you need to clean out the carrier and provide food or water. You'll want to ensure you don't open the carrier unless it's in a secure area so that you don't risk your cat escaping. Allowing time for that could affect your flight itinerary.

If your cat will travel as cargo, you’ll need to acquire an airline-approved kennel. These carriers meet strict requirements for safety and security. No matter what carrier you’ll be using, the key to preparing your cat for a reduced-stress journey is getting that carrier as soon as you can. The more time your cat has to explore it and become familiar with it, the more likely they will be more relaxed inside it on the day of departure. Encourage them to play in it, eat in it and sleep in it.

3. Talk to your vet.

When moving internationally, you'll likely need to make multiple vet visits to ensure your furry friend is compliant with the requirements for moving to your destination country. If your cat is older or has chronic health issues, you’ll want to have a serious discussion with your vet and make sure they're okay to travel.  If you have a snub-nosed cat such as a Persian, Exotic Shorthair, Himalayan or British Shorthair, you'll need to take special precautions. Discuss any health-related concerns with your vet and make sure you have all the proper documentation required for them to travel. This will not only reduce your own stress, but theirs as well.

4. Stay cool.

Cats may seem aloof and insensitive, but you know better. Your cat takes cues from you, so if you act calm and upbeat about your move, they will be more confident, too.

By following these preparation tips – and with a little luck - you’ll be able to organize a near-purrfect move. Your cat may not thank you for the opportunity, but they'll still love you. After all, you made the move with them, didn’t you?

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