Okay, the most important thing to remember when moving or travelling with cats is to REMAIN CALM AT ALL TIMES!
Your cat can quite easily pick up your emotion as to how you react in a strange situations. After all, you are Alpha cat and they will be taking their lead from you. Sressful You = Stressed Out Kitty.
A few weeks before the move, get out the cat carrier. Put a blanket in, along with toys and some treats for your cat to find at their leisure. Place it somewhere out of the way. This will allow your cat to come and go from the carrier and not get stressed when placed in it for the move. Note: This only works for cats that do not fear the cat carrier. If your cat fears the cat carrier, do this well before the move, you may need a few months rather than weeks.
Depending on the personality of your cat, you may wish to board your cat during the removal and unpacking stage of the move. For some cats and owners this is the better option.
Firstly, decide what room of the house that you are now in that you will place kitty in when the removalists arrive. This room ideally, should be away from most of the noise and movement of the move and must have a door and windows that close securely.
Pack this room first and empty it of all boxes and rubbish. You don't want to be retrieving a frightened kitty from a tight corner. Do provide food, water and plenty of toys. And if you have Bach's Rescue Remedy and Feliway on hand, use it. Although kitty may not see the strange going ons, kitty will smell unfamiliar scents and hear the going ons.
Once everything has been taken, let kitty out of the room and let kitty explore the house. You know that the furniture has been taken along with your belongings, but your kitty doesn't. Let them explore to their content. Do not make any sudden movements during this stage as you kitty may be stressed and wary of the strange environment. Do this only if you are not moving immediately after the removalists have left.
Decide at your new residence where you can place kitty while you unpack and position furniture. Again, choose a room away from the bulk of the action. Provide plenty of toys, food and water. Once you have sorted out the furniture, it should be fine to let your kitty out of this room as now it's only the small items that need to be moved. So no worrying about a scurrying cat while moving a sofa.
Keep your kitty's routine as close as it was to the last place of residence. If kitty was fed at 6:00AM, then kitty is still fed at 6:00AM. If kitty was punsihed for a particular behaviour, then kitty is still punished for that same behaviour. After moving with my cats, I've found that in a new place of residence, teenagehood comes out and the boundaries are tested. This may not happen with your cats but I'd rather make you aware of it rather than unaware.
During the settling in period, monitor the bahaviour of your kitty closely. Make sure that they are eating, drinking and pooping as normal. There may be an initial loss of appetite but this passes withing three days and is regained after kitty learns that this is now the new home and things will be okay. If kitty does not seem to regain appetite or kitty is peeing and pooping in all the wrong places, a vet visit is required immediately.
And I cannot push this factor enough! Play time is VERY important during this time. This allows kitty and you to spend time together in a positive manner in your new home.
This shows kitty that good things happen in this new home just like the old place.Other Things to Watch Out For
1) Has another animal lived in the new place? If so, get hold of a UV light, (blacklight), and switch all the lights off. Any evidence of pee will show up. Mark these spots with chalk or a lead pencil. Trace the outline. Check EVERY room. Then bring out a cleaner with enymes, Nok-Out is a good one, (available in USA so if you live elsewhere do a search for one in your local shopping centre, or better yet, ask your vet for a solution), and clean. Then whip out the UV lamp again to make sure all of the urine has been removed. Being in a new environment with past territory markings can cause your kitty to stake out territory as well.
2) Frash carpet and new paint?
Well make sure the place has been sufficiently aired out. Your kitty will have a keener sense of smell. Any signs of your kitty having difficulty breathing or redness to the eyes, take a quick trip to the vet and make sure kitty gets PLENTY of fresh air on the way. Then consider boarding your cat until the fumes completely dissipate.
Generally, if you can't detect any smell after the place has been closed up for a while, the fumes have gone. But if they are still faintly present, monitor your cat's reactions and provide plenty of ventilation for you and your cat.
3) Additional cat-proofing?
Does additional cat proofing need to be done? Get down to your cat's level and look for possible escape routes or possible dangers like loose cords and the like.