How To Move Cats Long Distance?

How To Move Cats Long Distance

Relocating to a new city or country can be daunting if you have cats. They are creatures of habit and prefer routine, so a sudden move can make them stressed or anxious. If you are facing a dilemma over how to move your cat to another area without the stress and anxiety, you are not alone. Plenty of relocating cat parents share this problem. Read on for some helpful tips on how to move cats long distances, safely and effortlessly. 

How to move cats long-distance

1. Consider the needs of each cat. 

If you are moving two or more cats to another city or country, you need to create a plan for each of them. Consider each of their needs, since every cat is individual. If your pets suffer from stress or motion sickness, consult your vet beforehand on the right medication to use. Ideally, each cat should be placed in a separate carrier during the trip to reduce stress and for them not to get into a fight with each other. 

2. Select the right carrier.

Invest in a durable carrier for your cat if you are traveling long distances. Carriers come in various sizes and styles. If you are traveling by plane, be sure to coordinate with your airline regarding the specific size requirements. A crate with a wide opening is ideal, as this makes it easier for cats to get inside. 

If your cat tends to scratch furniture and other objects, choose a carrier made of hard plastic instead of fabric. If you are traveling by car, provide a carrier that can hook into a seatbelt so your cat is secured while you drive. Choose a carrier that is easy to clean, with a solid tray that you can slide out and wipe down in case your cat suffers a bout of car sickness. Your cat should also be comfortable, so it should be spacious enough. 

3. Introduce the carrier and leash to your cat gradually.

A few weeks before moving long-distance, place the carrier in an area where your cat likes to be. Keep the carrier’s door open and place treats inside to entice your cat to go in and explore. As your cat becomes comfortable being near the carrier, place the treats further inside the carrier. This way your cat will eventually go inside the carrier voluntarily. 

You can also help your cat get used to being on a leash by introducing it gradually. Training her with the use of treats is usually effective. 

4. Allow your cat to get used to car rides. 

Once you have trained your cat to be comfortable in a crate or carrier, tag her along for short car rides inside it. Start by just going around a few blocks, and then gradually increase the distance and duration of the trips. You can also stop and walk your cat at various places so she becomes accustomed to getting in and out of the carrier in different areas. 

5. Prepare your car with the necessities. 

Make sure that you have considered all your cat’s resources before moving long-distance. Pack her food and water bowls, leash, treats, travel litter box and pet waste bag. See to it that these are accessible so that when your cat needs them it is easy to bring them out. 

6. Make a concrete plan for your long-distance drive or journey.

Cats are calmer during the day, when they tend to sleep or nap, so it is ideal to travel during this time. Have some stops planned in advance, such as a convenience store or a pet store; the latter is ideal if you are making a bathroom stop since they allow pets inside. 

7. Make sure your cat is secure and comfortable during the entire trip. 

Place the carrier in a well-ventilated area of your car. Your cat should be able to see you through an opening, and you should have access to the carrier door. This way you can easily get your cat out during stops. Keep any cords, strings or chemicals away from the carrier, as these can harm your cat.  

To avoid extra stress, keep the radio at a low volume and do not slam the doors. If you sense that your cat is anxious, cover the carrier with a towel or blanket to calm her down. Provide water for your cat at each stop and, if she is not drinking well, try to give her wet food or find someplace with a running faucet to encourage her to drink. Give your cat a minimal breakfast and give her a second feed once you arrive somewhere for the night. This will minimize any chance of motion sickness. 

8. See to it that your cat’s vaccinations are up to date. 

Schedule your cat’s check-up with your vet before traveling long distances and make sure that her vaccinations are updated. If you are traveling by plane, there will be specific vaccine requirements that you should follow. Certain states, such as the state of Texas, require that cats should be vaccinated for rabies at least a month before traveling to the state. 

9. Make sure to have your cat microchipped. 

Have your cat microchipped before traveling long distances, and remember to register the chip online with all your contact information. This way, if the unexpected happens, you can easily be contacted.  Some cats tend to wander away from new places, or if they are startled they may jump from the car and hide somewhere. If your cat gets lost and somebody finds her, it will be easy to track you through her microchip. 


Moving cats to another city or country entail a lot of planning and preparation. Felines are creatures of habit and routine, and abrupt changes could make them stressed and anxious. If you are traveling with your cat, consider her individual needs and train her to get used to a carrier and leash before moving day. Make sure all her resources are available, her vaccinations are up to date, and that she is microchipped in case of unexpected incidents. 

Image: / Lihana