Whether you’re taking your cat across town or across the country, safety and preparedness go hand in hand. Stories abound of cats escaping during moves, so establishing a safe, comfortable position at both ends of the move is critical.
create a safe room
The “safe room” should be created before the first crate is packed. Cats enjoy their routines and view any disturbance with suspicion. This is very useful when moving outdoor cats to a new home (bringing a few boxes before packing will allow them to preview without the annoyance of moving.)
The safe room should include:
- trash can
- comfortable bed
- food and water bowls
- favorite toy
- Scrapers and Carriers
If you have a timid cat, provide a box to hide from suspicious noises in the house.
Build a safe room with all the same items in the new location. You can choose to transport your cat at the beginning or end of the move, but be sure to keep her locked out until the last crate is deposited.
If you use a moving company or recruit a friend, or if you are not on site to supervise, leave a note on the door: “Cat inside – do not enter.” risk escape in certain situations, especially when moving an older cat to a new home.
When it’s time to transport your cat to a new location, put her in the crate and get in the car.
Bring a few things from the old house that smell familiar to her. Spend a few minutes with her as she explores the room, reassuring her that she will be safe in her new home. Consider installing a Feliway plug-in diffuser to calm her down.
Your cat should only be released from her safe room once you’ve gone through the process of getting people in and out of the house — under strict supervision.
Cats are experts at finding the best hiding places. Consider keeping her in a safe room at night until she is more attuned to her surroundings.
Within a few days, your cat should be acclimatized to her new surroundings and recognize furniture and objects from her old dwelling. When she’s settled, add a litter box in your preferred location and place one in her safe room. Set up her food and water bowls in the kitchen or where she usually feeds. If she’s anxious, she’ll probably go back to the room, so don’t tear everything down too quickly.
Soon, both of you will feel comfortable in your new surroundings.
Moving across the country with your cat takes a lot of preparation, whether you’re traveling by car or plane.
The first step is to get a health check and renew any vaccines from your veterinarian. Microchip implants are also a good idea, in case your cat escapes? Horror stories abound of cats fleeing their carriers at airports or rest stops, with owners waiting days or even weeks to find the cat.
Also read: How to Cage a Cat: 6 Steps to Success
Moving with a cat by plane
If you are traveling by air, please contact the airline in advance to find out their pet requirements and associated fees. The bracket has a specific size (soft ones are best) and it has to fit under the seat. If you need to take your cat, be sure to include identification and a jacket with a leash.
Read more: The 12 Best Cat Cages Reviewed
Depending on the length of the flight, your cat may not need to eat or use the litter box; a shredded newspaper liner will absorb any surprises. Carry small snacks or food and water to provide on stopovers.
Ask your veterinarian about sedation if your cat is overly anxious, but once the flight begins, she will most likely be able to get a good night’s sleep during the trip.
Brachycephalic (flat-nosed) cats, such as Persians, are not permitted as cargo due to potential breathing problems.
Depending on the length of the trip and the number of connections, Cargo may offer an advantage in that a larger carrier can be used to allow for a small litter box and bedding. American Airlines has details on their website.
United Airlines has suspended its PetSafe travel program until further notice. While airlines emphasize safe handling practices, those with travel experience have concerns.
Pet Transportation Service
As another option, a pet transport service can handle all the details of getting your cat to its new location.
They are experienced in handling the paperwork and any details regarding quarantine, and customs formalities if you are going abroad. Obviously, someone needs to be there to receive your cat at the end of your cat’s journey.
If you’re driving off-road with your cat, there’s more flexibility when it comes to comfort. Small crates or larger carriers in the back seat can provide space for litter boxes and beds, but be sure to keep a regular carrier with you.
A comfortable harness like the SleepyPod is comfortable enough to attach to a harness. Again, be sure to attach your ID, jacket and belt for extra security.
When you “pit in,” give your cat the opportunity to use the litter box and treats while keeping safety in mind.
If your cat is used to being on a leash and has a calm disposition, she may enjoy stretching her legs before continuing on the journey.
Once you arrive at your new home, the process is similar to moving. Set up a safe room before releasing your cat, including familiar items from the old home—especially the bed, as well as litter boxes, food and water bowls, and scratching posts.
As before, people come and go and the door is open, so put that note back on the door and don’t let her out until the last box is moved in.
Cats do love their routines, and while moving with your cat can be a challenge, preparation goes a long way in making the transition easier for both of you.
frequently asked questions
How do I prepare my cat for a move?
Create a “safe” room with all her familiar objects, and make sure to limit opportunities for escape. If you are moving a significant distance, check with your veterinarian and make sure you have proper identification and a microchip. Have a safe room ready on the other end of the move.
How do I get my cat ready to move when traveling by air?
Check with the airline for their policies and fees, including carrier measurements. If you must transport your cat by cargo, be sure to place your cat safely in the shipping box and include identification.
How do I get my cat ready to move when traveling by car?
For longer trips, a crate that can hold a small litter box provides more comfort. Must have ID. Get your cat a jacket that can be used with a leash for extra safety.
What should I do to make my cat feel comfortable in its new home?
Confine her to the safe room until all furniture and boxes are in place. Let her explore under supervision until she is comfortable in her new surroundings, always allowing her access to the safe room.
Do cats change their personality after moving?
Some cats may display personality changes after moving to a new home. Cats are naturally territorial, so a change in location may increase their stress levels. Create a safe space for your cat in your new house. If your cat is still showing signs of stress, decreased appetite, or any other signs of discomfort after a few weeks, it’s best to take them to the veterinarian and consult a cat behavior specialist.
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Specifically, my research investigates how the configuration and composition of landscapes influence the movement and population dynamics of forest birds. Both natural and human-derived fragmenting of habitat can influence where birds settle, how they access the resources they need to survive and reproduce, and these factors in turn affect population demographics. Most recently, I have been studying the ability of individuals to move through and utilize forested areas which have been modified through timber harvest as they seek out resources for the breeding and postfledging phases. As well I am working in collaboration with Parks Canada scientists to examine in the influence of high density moose populations on forest bird communities in Gros Morne National Park. Many of my projects are conducted in collaboration or consultation with representatives of industry and government agencies, seeking to improve the management and sustainability of natural resource extraction.