As stressful as moving can be for you, it can be even more stressful for your pets. They don’t know why the environment they’ve gotten used to is suddenly gone, and they’re forced to adapt to a new one. With careful planning, you can make their move as smooth and stress-free as possible; ideally, for both of you.
The first thing to know is, your cat is not cool with this move at all, even if you’re going to a better place for them. Cats don’t adapt to change as readily as dogs, so be prepared to put more planning and effort into transitioning your feline.
Cats should always be transported in a hard-sided carrier. Put the carrier you’ve chosen to transport your cat out well in advance of your move, and place their favorite toy or blanket in it, then reward them with praise whenever they go in it. You want them to become comfortable and “at home” in the carrier before your move.
On the day of your move, put your cat in the carrier and cover it with a sheet for at least the first few hours of the trip until they relax. Make sure there’s room around the carrier for adequate ventilation. Most cats can travel for around 8 hours or so without using a litterbox, so if your trip is going to be around that length or longer, bring along a disposable litterbox.
Always remember to pack a bag with plenty of food and water, your pets’ favorite toys, a first aid kit, and towels.
Dogs are more adaptable to new environments than cats, but they can still get stressed out by a move. When your furniture is being loaded, keep your dog (and cat) in a room with the door shut, or secured in the back yard.
Since most dogs are used to going places with you in the car, there’s less to worry about than with a cat once you get in the car. But long, unusual trips can cause distress to a dog as well, so we recommend using a safety harness, which attaches to a seat belt, or safety gates that allow your dog to move around in a restricted area. This will prevent your dog from disrupting you if he becomes agitated, or escaping the car during stops. When letting your dog out on the trip, always keep them on a leash.
As with a cat, remember to pack a bag with plenty of food, a first aid kit, towels, and a gallon of water per dog.