Moving Day – Moving with a cat

You have found out you are moving. By found out, I mean you asked your boss for a transfer to a new place, you got that new place in town that you were setting all your hopes on or you got a new job out of town and you are embracing that new beginnings life.

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In these instances, you get two types of people in the moving game:

  • The newbies – Those who have only moved about five times in their lives or
  • The advent mover – These are special kinds of people. This person is someone who cannot stay in one place for extended periods of time, because they relish in the thrill of moving, always looking for something new and exciting. Always needing change. Me… In this stage of life, I am this type of person.

In the last ten years, I moved at least once a year, with the current cycle being the longest stay in one house (I have been living here for 15 months). There is however a big difference between this cycle and all the other cycles I have been in. Rusty. My one-year old cat. I got him right before I moved into this place when he was a little kitten, so the logistics around it was not as complex. Here we are now. The two of us are moving across country and the logistics behind the move has been daunting. Not only the commute to Johannesburg, but also the prospects of the first couple of days on that side. Luckily the two of us are accustomed to traveling, but not to such extent. I researched traveling with a cat prior to my holiday last year as he traveled with me to Cape Town.


What would you need to travel with a cat

First off, there are a few things that need to be taken into consideration prior to the big commute. To get your cat from Point A to Point B in such a way so as to cause him as little as possible stress. For instance, Rusty pants when he is under a lot of stress. Here are a few things to take into consideration when traveling with a cat, however I suspect a similar playing field is required when moving (I’ll keep you updated):

  • Know his limits in terms of small spaces. Prior to popular believes (and regardless of the countless ‘I fits, I sits- meems’), some cats don’t like the feeling of confinements.
  • Know how to calm him when he is stressed. For instance, Rusty prefers sitting on the lap of the person in the driver seat. Another example would be to talk in a calm, reassuring voice to your cat. It is all in your tone of voice.
  • Know whether there is a balcony or some form of enclosed area providing linkage to the outside world which could serve as a boundary area earmarked as his territory for at least two weeks.
  • As cats rely on scents, make sure not to discard his current blankets and scratching posts as a familiarity.
  • In order to instate the feeling of home and to familiarize him with the scents of the new environment, keep him indoors for at least 2 days before you allow him to explore the balcony area. This comes with a warning: If he is an outdoors type of cat, this will frustrate him to no end. Make sure you have a lot of toys for him to play with in this time.

Traveling/moving with a cat. What will you need?

You guessed it, moving or traveling is not free. There are a few things you will need to get before you attempt to make any type of traveling or moving plans with your cat. Here is a list of five things you would need:A cat carrier:

A cat carrier

The first thing, which is probably the most obvious thing you would need is a cat carrier. This needs to be a secure one which allows the cat to stand, lie and turn comfortably in the carrier. I got a carrier that is suitable (based on the specifications provided by the airlines) for air travel in South Africa as well, however there is a large variety of pet carriers available online. A couple of examples of these have been indicated below:

Tip: Let the cat sleep in the carrier for a couple of days before traveling with him in order to allow him to become familiar with the feeling of it.

A water dispenser

A water dispenser to allow the cat to stay hydrated whilst traveling for 8 hours across country.

A litter box and litter

Your cat will be living indoors with you for at least two weeks, so make sure you have provisions for him at your destination. Or at least know where you stored his current ones in you car.

Toys! Toys! Toys!

Ones with a little mouse on it, a feeding game, little balls, an obstacle course, bells or any other cat toy you can get your hands onto. He is going to be stuck indoors for two weeks, so better keep him entertained, or else your furniture will suffer under the wrath of your bored cat.

Last, but certainly not the least, a scratching post.

This is essential, not only to ensure that his nails remain sharp while he is kept indoors, but also to protect your furniture. Rusty takes all his frustrations out on his scratching post. So, for the love of couches and coffee tables, make sure you have a scratching post suitable to your cat’s needs. For instance, Rusty likes a tall scratching post to which he can stretch out to his full length.


Do you have any other tips and tricks you use for your cat when traveling? Or have you learned another lesson on traveling/moving with a cat? What are the things pertaining to moving that stresses you out the most? I’d love to hear from you.

Until next time, Ciao.


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