Opinions on Moving with Cats?

We are moving next week. It’s a short move (all of 6 blocks!)

We had originally planned to move our two cats the same way we did two years ago:

The cats were crated in our old apartment, the movers moved everything, then my husband & I transported the cats to the new place after all the boxes & bags & bins had been deposited but not unpacked. After uncrating but before putting them in their carriers for car transport we first gave them a chance to make a good all-over sniffing of their empty old home.

We’re now wondering if we should move the cats first, let them explore their new home while its empty, then crate them in a secluded room on moving day so they are protected.

Which method do you think would make the two cats the least stressed out? Neither is stress-free, obviously.

This will possibly be the last time either of them moves house for the rest of their lives.
Important notes:

They are (2) indoor-only cats and always have been, so our apartment was, and our new condo soon will be 99% of their world.

Their crate is actually and Extra Large size Petmate dog kennel - it’s 30" high and fits the two cats comfortably with a water dish, blanket & space to move around. Similar model pictured here. They go in it for short periods when our landlord needs to show the apartment, or if he needs to come by with a plumber or somesuch when we’re not home. Their carriers for car transport are of much more modest proportions.

We’re moving tomorrow, about 60 miles. The current plan is for the wife to bug out with the 2 cats and the dog as soon as the truck shows up, and to take them to the vet that closest to the new home for day boarding. By the time she has to go retrieve them, we should be close to done with the unload.

Oh, and the dog gets her claws trimmed in the process. It takes 4 people to do it, I sh!t you not. Three to hold down a French Bulldog, and 1 to run the clippers.

This is what we did for each of our moves. Wife would leave when the truck came, take some clothes/fragile things and the cats. They’d have time to explore the new place empty until we came with the truck, then they got locked into a room with their litter box and water. Don’t feed them more than you have to, they’ll just get stressed and puke. Trust me on that part. :frowning:

Bring familiar, homey things for them to have around. Let them out to explore right away once the truck leaves and the house is closed again, they need to explore. Don’t pick them up and carry them around, they want to find their way around on their own.

I wouldn’t bother letting them explore the place until you’ve moved. Your familiar furniture and belongings will make it less strange to them. When I’ve moved with cats (which I’ve done twice), I’ve put them in a small space while we moved (once the bathroom, once the patio) with food, litter, and favorite toys, then opened the door to let them explore once everything was moved. Seemed to work all right.

From movies like The Incredible Journey and incredible tales in Reader’s Digest, I thought it was nigh impossible to lose pets simply by moving.
So just pack up and leave, and figure the cat will show up at a convenient time after you are settled in.


We were thinking of some of my husband’s dirty t-shirts - one in each room. They loooove his dirty t-shirts. It’s amusing but gross.

We are moving with a cat next week. It’s going to be a slightly more complicated process.

My mom, aunt, and father-in-law will all be here to help us move, and so basically on Wednesday we will load the truck up, but leave the cat in the apartment with her food, litter, and some blankets and toys. The humans will stay in the cheap motel down the road. Thursday morning, I will get the cat, load her up into my car, and begin the long drive (650km) to the new apartment, and get her into the bedroom at the back of the apartment. The truck will take longer to do the drive, so she’ll have some time to explore. Since it’s such a small room, the only pieces of furniture to go in are a bed and a dresser, so we can leave those things in another room while we get everything else off the truck. Then we let her loose and let her settle in.

We’ve brought her to visit my parents and my in-laws’ houses before, and she tends to settle into new places pretty well.

We hope this works out ok!

Just got through moving 5 cats across town. We’ve had four of the cats since they were born, so they’ve never known any other home. The eldest cat (15) has lived in the same house for the past 12-13 years.

On moving day, we closed the cats into various rooms as packing/loading progressed through the house. Cats roamed free for several hours at nearly-empty old house until the unloading was completed.

After everything was unloaded to its new location, we went and fetched the cats. Took them in and shut them into the bedrooms at the new place, with litter boxes and water. They spent overnight confined to the bedrooms, then we allowed them to explore at their own pace.

This worked very well for us. The cats were only moderately upset and have adjusted very well and fairly quickly. It gave each cat a “safe zone” filled with familiar furniture and stuff, where he could get used to the idea of a new space. Most of the cats were excited to get out and about the next morning (if a little jumpy). Only one had to be coaxed out of hiding.

(YMMV - one of our concerns was the extreme availability of hiding places at the new house. We’d already experience a disappearing cat at this house and didn’t want to do that again. At least with our missing kitty, there were a limited number of places she could be hiding.)

We’re moving three cats and a dog 1800 miles in 10 days. Our vet recommended Feliway (and we’ve been using it at home). We’ll get a diffuser for the new place to prevent spraying unfamiliar places.

We do NOT want to move.


The Cats

Um, we’re moving them 10 days from now but 3 days of actual moving. :smack:

Dear Freeloaders,

When you get jobs and start contributing to the mortgage, we’ll take this under advisement.


The Monkeys

Thanks to everyone for their responses.
I’m still undecided, but it looks like most people move the cats last for short moves.


Moving tale:
When my ex and I moved from Philly to Pittsburgh in 1990, the cat was to be the last thing to be loaded into the car. We had a huge UHaul truck filled to bursting. The cat had been freaked out all weekend. She hated strangers, and we had a bunch of friends helping pack. Well, when it came time to load the cat she was no where to be found.

The last she was seen, she was locked up in the spare bedroom of our apartment. It was a two story apartment with many nooks and cranies. Everyone pitched in searching for the cat. Eventually we assumed she had somehow slipped out, after being indoors exclusively for her entire 5 years.

The move was delayed 24 hours. We searched the neighborhood and posted signs with a local friend’s number. Eventually we drove off.

When we unloaded our stuff at the new place, I set up the microwave cart and plugged in the unit so we could heat up a meal. When I opened the bottom door of the cart, the cat nonchalantly hopped out, none the worse for wear. Over 24 hours locked up in an area where she had hidden. No urine/stool either!

Last year I made a short move and we just dropped our cat off at a friend’s place. She stayed there overnight while we moved all the big stuff and once everything was moved in (but not yet unpacked) I picked her up and brought her here. She seemed to take to it reasonably well, except for the fact that she cries constantly whenever she’s in the car. That’s unavoidable, though.

We moved about half a mile two months ago with a not very bright five month old kitten. In our last home, which was an apartment on a busy road she wasn’t allowed out. She seemed to look at the outside world much as we do TV, seperate to reality.

We moved her last and locked her in a room with tray, toys and scratch pole. Needless to say she hid while all the banging was going on, once we wre sorted she was allowed to explore in her own time.

The garden is now no longer a mystery, she loves it despite trying to eat a wasp the other day and being stung. Cats seem to adapt quite well.

The first time we did a short move, we brought the cat with the first load, to let her explore the new place as we moved things in. The old place was not very secure, and there was no place with a door that closed well enough for us to trust she wouldn’t get spooked and run. The new place had more doors, so we could shut her up when we were actively moving things in, then let her roam while we went for more. We had a real scare, though, when during the fourth or fifth trip, we went into the new place to shut her into the bathroom before bringing boxes in, and we couldn’t find her ANYWHERE. We were sure she had snuck out somehow. Eventually she showed up behind a pile of boxes.

When we did a long move (six hours, using paid movers), the plan was for me to head to the new place in one car with stuff we didn’t trust to the movers, get the apartment open, check utilities, etc. I dropped the cat off at a kennel near our old place so that she would be safe. Mr. Kiminy stayed at the old place until the movers had left, loaded the kids and small stuff in his car, and picked up the cat on his way. By the time he got there, the movers had nearly finished unloading everything, so we didn’t have to watch the cat nearly as closely. (Yes, the kennel freaked her out, but she would have been much more freaked out by the movers.)

We recently helped a friend move her cat (and her furniture, incidently) about fifteen miles, over to the next town. The whole process took about a week, since we didn’t rent a moving van. She just brought the cat over to the new house the same night she planned to spend her first night there, so the cat was sleeping with her human each night. During the day as things were unloaded, the cat was shut off in the bathroom, so as not to make a bolt for the door.

When I was a kid we moved from Michigan to Minnesota. My dog and cat flew on the plane with us. Despite tranqualizers, my afghan hound howled and could be heard over the plane noises the whole trip. The cat was quieter. My sisters and I were bumped from our connecting flight, but the animals went on as luggage. Our parents got to the airport to find no kids. The airline wasn’t going to let them take the pets, until they got a whiff of Siddhartha, my Afghan. He’d messed all over himself, his 12" long hair, his crate. The stench was incredible. My father took him and the crate outside at the airport and hosed them both down. They took Sid to the kennel where he was to stay until we were ready to move into our house, about two weeks later. He tied Sid up in a trailer he had attached to the car and covered everything with a canvas trarp. So, as they were going down the highway, they could see people’s heads turning, and people pointing. They looked, and Sid had his head sticking out of a hole he’d made in the tarp. He tied Sid shorter and went on. So, people were honking and pointing again. He’d widened the hole, moved a box over and was standing with half his body sticking up from the tarp. Dad tied him down again and the got to the kennel. They left Sid there and the cat came to stay with us at the hotel. About a week into the hotel stay, the kennel called and told us we had to come get Sid - he’d refused to eat almost anything, and they were afraid for him. Afghans don’t usually carry much spare weight at the best of times. So there I was, 12 years old, staying at the empty house with just me and my pets, while the rest of the family stayed at a hotel for the next ten days or so. Sid was fine as soon as he was with me.