(Closed) Has anyone moved with a cat?

posted 6 years ago in Pets
Post # 3
2564 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2014

I’ve travelled several times with my cats, and they are screamers.  Unfortunately I only had small carriers for them because I was moving and my car was full of my stuff.  I would love to get this for them: http://sturdiproducts.com/products/car-go-double-pop-up-shelter So they had more room to move and lay around but I wasn’t able to fit it in my car.

I tried anti anxiety medications (not sedatives) and those didn’t help.  Putting a blanket over the carrier so they were in the dark helped the most.  They still cried but it was much less and they slept more.  Once I get to where I’m going (moving, visiting family) they have been absolutely fine as soon as getting out of the carrier.  As if the 12 hour car trip never hapened.

I did fly once with my boy cat, and he was very well behaved.  Not sure if he was better because I could pay attention to him in the airport and plane and can’t while driving.  I paid extra for him and put his carrier under the seat in front of me.  I would not want an animal in the cargo hold.  He only meowed a few times, not really crying.  He was better behaved than a child on the filght!

Post # 4
1178 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2016

I just moved a week ago with two kitties. Granted we only moved an hour and a half… but our situation is simliar.

Our cats had never been in carriers… not even when we came home from adopting them because we took her to petco right away and bought everything. Now my kitty is also pregnant so it may have been a little worse for her, but she was not happy. She was breathing really hard and I had to pullover to the gas station and take her out and try and give her some water. She had started panting and her nose was running!


She did a little better after that cause I put up the arm rest in the car and let her sit by me and she just curled up in a little ball. Moving is extremely traumatic for cats I think.. and its going to be difficult for yours especially because they have no experience in the carrier :/

a two day drive sounds miserable with a cat and the cat would have to have somewhere to potty, but at least they would be by you. i dont know what flying wiht animals is like but i thought they put them somewhere away from the people? and if the kitty doesn’t have you that might be worse :/


def ask your vet for advice cause im not sure! but this was my experience!

Post # 6
1963 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: January 2013

@StL.Ashley:  I have moved quite a few times with my cats including cross country. I found that travelling by plane is better, although they are still stressed they are not stressed for as long. The cat can usually go in a hard carrier in a climate controlled section under the plane, or is a soft carrier under the seat in front of you like carry on luggage. You can get drugs to help them relax but I have never used them as when I discussed it with my vet she said they make the cat more so loopy than relaxed and that they may still be just as scared but scared and acting strangely. This was a few years ago though so I don’t know if maybe there are better options now? Once you get there, show them where their litter food and water will be and leave the carrier out so that they can go hide somewhere familiar if they want to. Some people also suggest keeping them confined to an area and gradually letting them explore further and further although I have never donE this. Your kitty will likely be pretty freaked out at first but hopefully back to normal within a few days to a week of settling in

Post # 7
2564 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2014

@StL.Ashley:  If it is the two of you in the car and you are able to pay attention to the cat in the carrier that might help.  When I was at rest stops or stuck in bad traffic I would pet my cat through a little zip at the top of the carrier and she calmed right down.  I know some people let cats out in the car, but I am far too nervous to do that.  All it takes is a second for them to bolt and it could be very dangerous, especially travelling at highway speeds.

@Utopia4us:  The medication that can be used in cats to help them relax is what I tried with mine, but they just got so high I think it made things worse. 

Post # 8
1782 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

 Years ago, I used the medication to sedate my 4 cats when I moved 4 and a half hours away once. I had none of them in a carrier – freely roaming about the car. After about 45 minutes one found a spot under my car seat – where she remained the entire time, after realizing the dashboard wasn’t very inviting or comforting. One eneded up under the passenger’s seat, the other two sat on the back and front passengers seat. I think the sedatives made it worse to be honest, poor kitty – their 3rd eyelids show when you sedate them, all she wanted was to see normally. I moved early in the morning to avoid any heat. 2 of them panted for part of the way – which terrified me. But once we got to our new location – everything was all better. Ever since then I have put them into carriers and then cover the carrier with a dark thin blanket – and put the air conditioner on (if it’s warm out) – and they do so much better. You can get him there. He might be best with the two of you with him, taking turns to make him feel safe. Seems like once I drove over 55mph, they got real vocal. Good Luck. 

Post # 9
634 posts
Busy bee

Do NOT let kitty out in the car. Some cats will go into the back window and be perfect little angels and nap in the sun. Some will hide under the seats, making it difficult and stressful to et them out when you want to leave the car, or flee if you just open the door. Some can even hide by your feet, with no concept that your feet are controling the car, and can interfere with you using the pedals. It’s tempting to let kitty out, specially when they cry SO miserably, but don’t do it. 


I’ve taken my kitties for moves across town, but honestly if it was a big move like that, I would take the miserable creatures as a carry on for the plane, no doubt about it. It’s stressful for them either way, but I would rather stress them for a much shorter trip.

Post # 10
131 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

I moved 12 hrs away with my cat. She was in a dog carrier ( a bit bigger than a cat carrier) with a blanket on top. We used kitty tranquelizers but like a bee mentioned above, it made her loopy. But it did seem to help. I was apprehensive to give it to her, so i did half doses and when she started clawing to get out so bad her claws bled, i gave her another dose. She was then mellow and sleepy. She definately had that face “are we f-ing there yet?!” lol when we got to new place, she was out of that carrier lickety split and was normal and happy instantly even thought we were in a new strange place. haha. she hated that car and im glad it was only one way! 

The vet suggested we try the tranq’s befor the trip to see if they worked. apparently, some can do the opposite effect and make kitty go bonkers! lol another thing i was worried about was peeing and pooping, but just as the vet predicted, the stress of everything would allow her to hold it in and not do until she was out of the car with a litter box

Post # 11
3256 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

Give him the Romney pet experience.

Post # 12
1856 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: March 2013

I flew with my cat recently, about 6-7 hours of travel time total. She didn’t make a peep. She normally yells very loudly in her carrier anytime she’s gone in a car/on the bus, so I was really prepared for a miserable time. I think it depends a lot – I think mine was so scared of the new situations that she just went very quiet and wanted to be as close to me as possible. I would never, ever drive with her – I think that would be absolutely awful. I was really worried about flying but it really was fine.

Post # 13
4581 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: October 2011

It can be done but it’s not fun. I drove about 14 hours straight in a pickup truck with two cats. Fortunately my mom was with me, otherwise I don’t know what I would have done. We made the mistake of putting them in soft carriers and my one cat tore a hole through it and broke free before we even made it to the highway. Apparently the place he most wanted to be was at my feet. Obviously, that didn’t work since I was driving.

He ended up sleeping on my mom’s lap most of the time. Our other cat was more mellow and did ok in his carrier. Our vet recommended giving them children’s benadryl, if I recall correctly but we didn’t end up doing it. Definitely ask your vet what they recommend. 

Post # 14
206 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: April 2014

I had a 4 lbs dog that I used to fly with on a regular basis.  I gave him childrens cough medicine (vet approved) to make him drowsy and he would just fall asleep for the 6 hour flight.  Maybe that is an option?

Post # 15
4605 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: March 2014

I’ve moved with cats twice, and it was not a pleasant experience. The first time, I covered their carriers with a blanket and that seemed to help calm them. The second time, my vet gave me calming tablets for them and those helped. They were natural and I can’t remember the name of them now, but those worked wonderfully. They were calm for the two hour drive and it started to wear off by the time we got to our house, but the vet said I could give them six a day. The vet also said they could have benadryl.  

Post # 16
945 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

We just moved 500 miles with our cat and it was quite the experience. The best thing I can say is to start getting the cat used to being in the crate, and in a car. I only started doing this a few days before, and wish I had spent more time on that.

She really didn’t respond well to the tranquilizer the vet prescried. Though I’m sure that differs on a case to case basis. In our case, it just seemed to make her more anxious.

honestly, the only thing that helped was when I took her out of her crate, so she could sit in my lap. She was on a harness and leash, so Icould keep her from running around the car.

honestly, in your case, i think i’d rather fly. The less time in transit, the better I think.

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