or Connect
TheCatSite.com › Forums › Our Feline Companions › Cat Behavior › A cross country move
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

A cross country move

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
I was wondering if it would be possible for me to get some advice on how to deal with an impending move. Sometime within the next year, roughly, my fiancee and I will be moving. After our marriage here in Michigan, we'll be going out to Seattle, and we're trying to determine the issues our two cats will have.

The personalities of the two cats:

Monty, our three year old mutt cat, is generally of a very laid back temperament. Relatively even in behavior, so we don't see him as the big issue.

Thacker, however, will be nine by the time we move, and he's... let's say "complex." Simply the most human cat I've ever known, he really freaks when things step outside his comfort zone. Vet visits, medicating, or loud noises can really derail him to the point of pulling his fur out. He's the one we're worried about, especially since he's older and, despite our best efforts, a few pounds overweight.

To anyone who has moved a great distance with their cats, especially one who was more sensitive, what advice can you offer to make sure Thacker comes through it as unscathed as possible?

Thanks so much for any info offered.

post #2 of 13
Here is an article you might find helpful.

BTW Welcome to the boards!!

post #3 of 13
We have several members who have moved long distances with their cats. I think you will get some great advice.

Until we get more folks writing in, click here for a previous discussion about moving with cats.
post #4 of 13
We came in 92 to the us and stayed at my inlaws for 4 weeks in Massachusetts . We brought Sammy my Persian cat with us . My husband had order for Georgia ( millitary )and so had to drive with our Jeep Cherokee for 2 days including Sammy . We got us ( gosh , cant think of the name now ) what separates the back from us and it is used for dogs to keep them there . So we kept Sammy free in there , litterbox and all . You should have seen the other drivers faces passing us and seeing Sammy laying on top of the suitcases . In the nights we stop and smuggled him in the hotel rooms . It was almost with out stress for him draveling like that and all went well
post #5 of 13
I have a 16 year old cat that has moved cross country with me several times, as well as several others that have moved lesser distances. Private carriers are a must. Feed and water everybody early the day of the move, and make sure everyone has used the litterbox. If you are loading the day of the move, make sure everything is out of one room, and leave the food, water and litter boxes in there. I always put them in the car a little before we leave, to get a lot of the howling and crying out of the way. They usually settle down after a little while, and do what a cat normally does during the day, sleep. If your cats drink a lot of water, and you think they will need it, the bottles that go on hamster cages work well for sips of water during the trip. Playing the radio usually helps soothe them, too. If you have a regular evening feeding time, try to plan the overnight stops about that time if possible. Make sure you get a pet friendly hotel. Sneaking them in does not work very well. Try and make sure you have everything you will need for the evening before you let them out of the carriers. A scared cat may make a run for the open door, so think about luggage, food, snacks, dinner, cat needs, before you let them out of the carriers. If you find you must go out, put them in the bathroom before you open the door. I have had to retrieve a scared cat from under a semi truck at midnight, and it is no fun. I was lucky to find him at all. I hope some of this helps, if you think of anything else I may be able to help with, please feel free to pm me. Good luck on your move.
post #6 of 13
A lot of hotel chains allow pets. You can call the typical road-side hotel chains and ask whether the ones on your route will allow you to bring in your cats.
post #7 of 13
post #8 of 13
My move wasn't simple...after I got married in NY state, we drove my packed up house and all my cats cats cross country to the Seattle area (btw, it's a lovely, lovely state).

Because I had more than 2 cats, and this included one whole male, we rented a van (with windows), used what are called exercise pens or tokyo cages (linoleum on wood base, though these days they are made with solid molded plastic bases), two shelves, two doors...about 4 feet tall and 3 feet wide), and I was very careful what cats were in with which cats. The whole male of course, had his palace to himself.

I also had space for a "time-out" carrier, in case any cat simply couldn't handle seeing the other cats, me up front (I could turn and talk to them, and also walk back) and needed a snuggly space.

I had food,water bowls and big litter boxes in each. At night, we took them into our hotel room (using a toddler tent for the whole male...such a sweetie - before and after being altered - he never tried to get out!), then pulled out toys for some relaxing play.

I had a huge amount of food, litter and I was careful to bring a lot of tap water from home, so that diarhea due to water change wouldn't happen on the trip.

They all did extremely well. It didn't hurt that my husband, ex-army, can drive on little sleep, for hours. We made this trip in under 5 days, and only had 4 nights sleeping outside our new home.

So...my tips....if driving,if these two get along really well, consider getting a large metal dog crate, place cat beds inside, favorite toys...take water from home to use, have favorite foods on hand for a nighttime treat, and a blanket to cover the crate if you feel the cats are more upset by seeing out (kind of like covering a bird's cage).

hth a little bit, and congratulations in advance on your upcoming marriage (hopeless romantic here)
post #9 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thank you for all the advice, everyone. It's helpful to know that driving may not be the chore we feared it to be, and that we shouldn't tranq them for a flight.

BTW, Pat & Alix, how DID you manage a nearly coast-coast drive in so short a time? And thanks especially for the idea about bringing tap water from home - never would have occured that the change could bother them. Especially since buying it along the way would have probably resulted in many different waters.

For those of you who have done the driving, have you done the suggested trips around the block in months prior to the move?

post #10 of 13
It's 11:30pm for me.

I've moved a cat cross country before and survived!

I also now work in an airport and am very familiar with how cats and dogs are transported. I promise to post something helpful for you in the next 12 hours.

I need sleep!

I don't live in the states so some numbers about distance and an estimated time of journey for the cats, method of travel, any medical conditions that haven't been mentioned especially hear related, would help me reply when I come back.
post #11 of 13
Originally posted by MontoThack
BTW, Pat & Alix, how DID you manage a nearly coast-coast drive in so short a time?

My DH as I said can drive for hours! Something he picked up having and being able to do while in the army and serving in Desert Storm.

And he did a lot of this trip's driving because it turned out I had caught the flu. By the time I'd helped do (the Central NY to St. Paul, Minnesota was our first leg) two legs of the trip I got very sick and slept a lot of the time with a nice little fever. Our second leg of the trip was St. Paul to a friend's in South Dakota. Third leg was to Gillette, Wyoming. The 4th leg (and we would have gone all the way to my husband's house near Seattle but our van broke down (lovely when it's full of cats) and we had to get towed and stay overnight, was in Montana. Next night we were in our new to me and the cats home

Remind me to tell all of you the story about the hotel the towtruck driver dropped us off at in Montana sometime <@@>.
post #12 of 13
When I was in highschool, my family made a moce from Oklahoma City to St. Louis, MO. Two days after we got into our new house, Patches (a four year old calico) got out and was no where to be found. After looking for two weeks, we finally gave up and thought she'd either been adopted by another family, or was no longer living. Three weeks after she got out of the house, we got a call from the people we had sold the house to...it seems that Patches went back home. How she made the trip, we'll never know. But, once we got her back to St. Louis, our vet told us to keep her in the house for at least two weeks before letting her out. Once we did this, she stayed around the house. I guess they have to reset their homing device, or something like that.

Take care,
post #13 of 13
Sorry it's been many days since I posted. I didn't mean to get back to you so late. I've been sick for three days now. Recovering now.


I am assuming that Thacker and Monty know each other already.

Okay, firstly sedation. I'm not a fan of it but I do realise that some owners see this as a necessity. But do use your instincts. Only you know your cat's personality and what it can cope with best. Let your vet guide you with the decision, do not let the vet make the decision for you.

I know that you said Monty is laid back in temperament but does this also include being transported around?

If not, I would definitely recommend driving him and Thacker in your car for short rides and gradually increasing them. After each trip reward them with a treat.

If either cat stresses out simply by being in the car before it starts, let them explore the inside of your car under your supervision. Do make sure you have seat covers of some kind especially if you love the upholstery. Expect some scratching to take place. Sit in the driver's seat and talk calmly. The best place to do this exercise is in a fully enclosed garage so the heat doesn't build up as fast in the car. However if you are unable to do this, keep the sessions short and end it before it becomes unbearable as you cannot have the windows down all the way. End each session with a reward.

During this time you can try to teach your cats where they can and cannot go in the car if they locate themselves in a location that can impair your driving.

Once your cats have familiarised themselves with the car, let them explore the car, this time with the engine idling. Do this in the driveway please! This will allow your cats to get use to the vibration and noise of the car engine. End each session with a reward.

Then, after this it's time to drive. Start with short trips and increase the length of them. This way your cat becomes used to the motion of the car. It's a strange sensation for them so be patient. Though some cats are fine and get the hang of it in no time at all.

During the trip have plenty of water, food, treats and toys available. And perhaps even provide a surface for them to scratch on. A small rug will suffice. Give food if your cat doesn't get motion sickness, otherwise have water on hand. Don't drive for more than 7 hours without letting your cat go to the toilet so to speak. Medical problems can develop. Do make sure that your cat doesn't have an escape route when they do relieve themselves.

Despite having said that, I am a firm believer of having your cats in a carrier cage when travelling. This prevents road accidents and escape when the car door opens.

Air Travel

Provide your cats with bedding to keep them warm. The cargo area can drop to low temperatures while in the air. Provide them with plenty of water before the trip and a small amount of water before the trip.

Have a clear identification label on the cage. However, leave enough room for other travel labels to be placed on the cage such as consignment note, live cargo stickers etc. These are just as important as your identification. And make sure that you have signed everything including the declaration that your cat is not a dangerous good or something that could turn the plane into a weapon of mass destruction.

And remember, delays do happen! And when they do, try your best not to panic. The welfare of your pet will be looked after.

If your cat is on medication, it may be best to use a specialised pet transportation company to move your cat if you feel that you cannot drive your cat yourself.

When I moved my cat Russell, it involved car and road all in the same day. It was meant to be a 6 hour drive then a break of one hour and then a two hour flight. The flight was delayed for three hours and they were close to boarding Russell for the night. The two hour flight took two and a half hours due to weather conditions. The whole trip took about 14 hours by the time we got home.

And right about then I discovered TCS because I noticed Russell was straining to pee. I learnt from reading many other articles and from this site that it was a sign of UTI. A few other problems arose from an ungrateful housemate and that led me to signing up as a member. After a rush visit to the vet and a course of antibiotics, Russell was back to his normal self.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Cat Behavior
TheCatSite.com › Forums › Our Feline Companions › Cat Behavior › A cross country move