General Cat Care and Tips

Moving With Cats? 6 Helpful Tips to get you through it.

When I was planning on doing a long-distance move I had no idea how to take my cats with me. I had done short moves with them before, however, I was looking at an almost 10-hour drive with two cats. I had no idea what to do, so I searched and found some tips that actually worked.

Talk to your vet about the move

Once you know you are moving you want to have a talk with your vet about how to move safely with your cat. Long-distance moves with cats is a bit different then it is with a dog.

You want to take your cat or cats in for a check-up to be sure they are ready to do a long-distance move. You then want to discuss any health issues with your vet to make sure you are prepared for them during the trip.

Your vet can also give you advice and any medication you may need for low stress and a successful road trip with your cats. Many cats really dislike cars and therefore will be very stressed when having to be in one for hours on end.

how to move a long distance with cats

Get your cat ready for the trip

Get your cat use to their carrier

Once you pick out a carrier you will want to get your cat use to the carrier. You can do this by leaving the carrier out and open so they can get in and out of it whenever they want.

Letting your cat get used to the carrier is a great way to help them keep calm during the trip. The carrier will already smell like them and if you include a blanket you have left out for them to lay on in the carrier it will feel and smell like home.

Take your cat on a car ride

Once you have your cat use to the carrier you will want to start taking them on short car rides. You may want to be prepared for accidents as some cats, tend to urinate whenever they are in a moving vehicle. It is not fun going any distance with the smell of cat pee. I always have a towel and a plastic garbage bag on hand when I take my cats anywhere.

You can’t just do one or two-car rides and expect your cat to be okay. You need to do a few a week. Start small, ten minutes or so is fine, then work up to your cat being in the car for about an hour. Do this for a month before your move and your cat should be okay. If you still notice your cat having problems with the car, talk to your vet about it.

Get yourself some calming treats.

Calming treats was the trick for getting my cats to stay quiet in the car for the whole trip. I used Pet Naturals of Vermont calming treats and I have to say I am impressed. They did not make a sound the whole trip, just slept and snuggled with one another. When we stopped at rest stops they were alert and were able to eat and drink so this does not have a drugging effect on cats.

In fact, I even keep these on hand for the days when Pumpkin gets a little too crazy and needs to calm down. He’s a very energetic cat, but also works himself up very easily. I just give him these calming treats and he is much better behaved in about a half-hour.

The calming treats I used you can buy on here or you can find them on here

Invest in Pet Insurance

You may be thinking that pet insurance will be a bit too costly at this time. However, if your pet does get sick on the trip or an accident happens you may want the extra protection. You really just never know what is going to happen when you do a long-distance move.

I recommend Embrace Pet Insurance. This is what I use for my cats and it really does come in handy when there is an issue with my cats. They cover vet checkups, dental, cancer coverage and so much more. You can check them out Here

moving with cats

Plan your move

The best way to keep your move cat-friendly is to plan ahead. You will want to plan your trip so that your kitty feels safe, is able to eat and use the bathroom, and of course, so they can have plenty of water.

Keep stops to a minumum

During our trip, we had to stop often due to also having a dog on board. So my cats had fresh water and food pretty often. Keeping them hydrated and fed is a must during this stressful time, However, we didn’t do any sightseeing or side trips.

You want to keep your stops to a major minimum. Think “I’m only stopping for gas and food” minimum. Your cat will do much better if you just keep the car moving as much as possible, not only is it safer for your cat (fewer chances to escape) but starting and stopping can make them anxious.

You also want their total time in the car to be at a minimum. Unless you’re moving in an RV where they can roam around easily and have access to heat and air conditioning your cat wants out of this car asap. This means no tourist stops to see the sights and no long drawn-out meal breaks.

If you also have kids and need those breaks make sure to do the following.

  • Make sure your cat has food and water.
  • Have one person stay outside with the cats while the other one eats.
  • Order takeout and take your kids to a park to eat. They can run around and you can keep an eye on your cat.

Find pet friendly hotels

If your long-distance move requires hotel stays you will want to plan ahead. Some hotels do not allow pets so winging it for a hotel room won’t work. Plan your trip to figure out where you can stay that allows pets and make a reservation. Let them know that you are moving and maybe there late in the day or at night.

You also want to check the rules for each hotel and make sure to tell them you have cats. There are many hotels that will allow dogs, but not cats. Also, find out if you are allowed to let your cats roam the room or if they need to stay in a crate.

You can find a great list of cat-friendly hotels here

Get your moving supplies in order

You may not realize that you will need more than just a simple cat carrier to go on a long-distance move. Unless you plan on stopping a lot having the following items on hand will really help you get to where you’re moving.

Carriers designed for long trips

Normal cat carriers are great for short car rides however if you have a large cat or an active cat there is not much room for them to move around that is why a larger travel carrier is a better option for long-distance moves.

Here are a few cat carriers that are perfect for a long-distance move with your cat.

Reccomended travel cat carriers

Necoichi Portable Stress-Free Cat Cage

Top Pick

This is the travel carrier I decided on getting. the Necoichi portable cat cage is a large carrier that will hold both of my cats together.

This will help to reduce stress from the move and will give them some room to move around.

EliteField Expandable Soft Airline-Approved Dog & Cat Carrier Bag

The EliteField Expandable Carrier is another great option for a long move or if you are flying with your cat.

You are able to carry the cat easily to your car or plane then once you are there you can expand the carrier so your cat can move around a bit.

K&H travel carrier

What is great about his travel carrier is that you can stabilize it with any seatbelt to ensure your pet is locked in tight.

It also has several openings so you can easily get to your pet. It also folds down for easy storage.

Travel Litter Boxes

You may not think that having a litter box is important. After all your cat will be in a carrier they don’t need that right. Not true, you do not want your cat sitting in its own urine and feces for hours on end. Give them a good traveling experience to help keep them calm and help keep your sanity.

Reccomended Travel Litter Boxes

Necoichi Portable Cat Litter Box

Top Pick

I choose this litter box mostly because it goes with the carrier I found. However, it does have some great features.

Its waterproof liner helps keep your car dry and makes for easy cleaning. It also folds flat and snaps closed so you can fit it anywhere.

Pet Fit For Life Collapsible Portable Litter Box with Collapsible Bowl

This is another litter box I considered mostly because it also comes with a free water bowl.

The features of this litter box also stood out to me for a few reasons. It is made of a sturdy nylon fabric outside and Poly-Plastic inside. It also collapses for storage.

Travel cat dishes

When it comes to traveling long distances with your cat you need to be ready with food and water often, sometimes this means pulling over on the highway and giving your cat a drink. That is why I was very picky when it came to figuring out how to feed and water my cats, without having to stop at a gas station all the time.

Reccomended Travel Cat Dishes

Teamoy Dog Travel Backpack

Top Pick

This is technically for dogs, however, it will work well for cats when your traveling long distance. I love how you can put everything in one place.

It has water dishes and a place for food and water bottle storage. For me, I have one cat that does go on a leash so I can store that in here as well. I choose this set because I could easily stop on the side of the road and take care of my cat’s needs.

You can buy this on here

Good2Go Collapsible Silicone Pet Travel Bowl

I love these because they are collapsible and they are also top-rack only dishwasher safe! For me, that is just awesome. However, it’s not a major reason to choose this as when you’re moving you don’t always have access to a dishwasher.

travel bowl

Dexas Popware for Pets Double Elevated Pet Bowls

These bowls had to be added to this list because I can see any large house cat-loving this set of bowls. It comes with a stand where you can put the bowls for easy reach.

The bowls are removable so you don’t have to use it if you don’t need them or just need one dish at that moment.

Leashes and Harness

There are many reasons to make sure you have a leash and harness for your move. You don’t want your cat sitting inside their travel carrier all day and night. They need exercise too. If you have a cat that reacts well to a leash and harness before the move then having one on hand will help with that.

However, don’t force your cat to use it. If your cat is not a fan of a leash just let them out to roam the car a bit when you stop for food or gas.

Reccomended Leash and Harness

Wisker City Harness and Leash set

I love this leash set I got for my cat and will be using that one to do my move. It fits my cat well and he really loves going on his walks with it. It’s also got a flexible leash so you don’t have to worry about jerking your cat around.

If you are new to the idea of walking a cat check out my post: 5 Great Reasons You Should Walk Your Cat


You also want to make sure your cat has your contact information on them. If you have not gotten your cat chipped you will want to at least get an id that has your name and phone number on it. You also want to make sure it is securely fastened to your cat’s collar.

Reccomended ID Tags for your cat

My Pet DMV

Almost everyone knows you can just go right to Petsmart and print out a cute ID tag for your pet. If you didn’t know, now you do. I wanted to share with you something different, however.

My Pet DMV allows you to create an ID tag that looks like a driver’s license. I just think it’s cute and a fun way to ID your pet. Check out the video below to learn more.

Invest in a cat tracker

If you have a cat that just loves to sneak out you will want more than just a good ID. You want something that will tell you quickly where your cat is and how to get to it.

Tabcat Cat Locater

Along with ID tags, you may want to invest in a cat tracker. I really love the Tabcat Cat Locator. It’s a one-time purchase so it’s pretty affordable and it will track your cat within an inch.

This is perfect for a move and great to keep on your cat all the time. We all know that they love to get out and roam.

TabCat Pet Tracking Cat Collar Tracker 4

Moving with your cat doesn’t have to be stressful for you or your cat. Following these tips and doing a bit of planning will help make the move easier for you and your cat.

Having everything in order is so important when you move with cats. After doing my move I made this simple checklist that will help you make sure your cats have everything they need for a comfortable move.

Moving with your cat checklist