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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May. 20, 2008
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    Default What is your opinion - moving with cats? UPDATED 4/2/13!

    I will be moving soon and have five felines that own me. One of them is an elderly girl who actually gets an abnormal heart rhythm when stressed. My plan is to lock everyone in my master bathroom, clear out the bedroom, and then let the girls loose in the bedroom while clearing out the rest of the house. Then I will grab them during my last trip from the house. What do you think? Good plan, or do you have other suggestions?
    Last edited by JumpQH; Apr. 2, 2013 at 10:47 PM. Reason: Update!



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar. 25, 2011
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    Pennsylvania
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    I would board them with your vet or kennel, get your move done, and then pick them up after you're done.

    Paula
    He is total garbage! Quick! Hide him on my trailer (Petstorejunkie).


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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb. 24, 1999
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    In the land of make believe
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    I suppose it depends on the circumstances of your move (distance of move, duration of packing/unpacking, etc.). When DH and I moved, we boarded both our three dogs and three cats with our vet while the movers where there, during the transport of household goods, and during the unpacking at the new house (6 days total). Once everything was settled, we went back and picked up the pets, and brought them to the new house. The drama of the movers coming in and out (both at old and new house) would have been too much for the dogs, and we were worried about the cats sneaking out.

    If you have an older cat, maybe she would be happier at the vets/kennel until you are all settled in your new place, and can then devote time to making her feel comfortable in her new home. If it isn't a huge/long distance move, your approach seems fine. Maybe just pay special attention to the older girl to make sure that she is handling everything well.
    ~*Friend of bar.ka*~


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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul. 13, 2011
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    East Longmeadow, MA
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    3,375

    Default

    I've done it cross country (L.A. to Massachusetts) with a screamer. Sedatives, which I knew I would need, just made her groggy but did not make her quiet. Three days of hell for all of us. I think your plan sounds good but would look into a kennel if she would tolerate that better. My last move, which was local, I did exactly what you are planning - cats (4) were the last things I loaded up and when I got to the new house they all were shut in the master bath before the movers moved all my stuff in.

    Good luck!
    What's wrong with you?? Your cheese done slid off its cracker?!?!



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov. 15, 2005
    Location
    Eastern Shore, MD
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    1,279

    Default

    Even if it's just a quickie local move, I'd try to keep the cats out of the new place until the furniture is set up and the majority of in and out activity is complete. Ideally, I'd drop them all off at the vets or boarding kennel (or groomers) while the move was taking place - might cost you a little bit of money, but moving is stressful enough, without having to worry about the safety of your critters, too!


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  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec. 18, 2006
    Location
    NY
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    4,485

    Default

    I agree that it depends on where/how you are moving. Obviously if you are moving across country, it doesn't help to board them at the vet unless it's only for the purpose of packing.

    I would suggest that you use crates; my biggest fear in moving out or moving in would be that they would sense the disruption and that someone will make a break for the door and get out of the house somehow. And same with the new place; since they will be disoriented, I would be very careful that they don't escape.

    My brother's cat got very stressed during their in-town move; they locked him in a room with a pull-out couch and somehow he climbed into the pull-out bed portion after the cushions were taken off for moving. They thought that he got out somehow and they lost him, searched everywhere and were heartbroken. A few days later they heard meowing from the couch (now with cushions replaced) and found him trapped inside.

    A crazy store for sure - but one reason why crates might be helpful if you have them (or can borrow them). Then at least they are all within sight.



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec. 27, 2006
    Location
    Western NY
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    1,715

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    When I moved I brought the cats (4) when I brought the horses (move was ~20 miles) and locked them in the basement until I was mostly done cleaning out the other house setting up the new house, about a week.

    Christa



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug. 18, 2011
    Location
    CT
    Posts
    242

    Default

    OP, I followed pretty much your plan for two moves with my dropoff-barn-kitty-turned-indoor-house-ruler, with one addition.

    When the boxes started piling up and she started getting stressed, I pulled out the Hated Cat Carrier, put a blanket in it, and left it in the empty room where I was going to shut her during the chaos, hoping she would process the idea of "you're going in the car."

    The second time, same routine, only when I pulled out the Hated Cat Carrier amidst the moving boxes, she hopped right in it, like "Okay, I'm packed!" And she spent moving day in or on the carrier, waiting for her turn.

    Anthropomorphizing? Maybe. But to this day any non-moving-related appearance of the HCC triggers the Disappearing Cat Act.
    Horsey romances written by a horsey person
    www.JesseHayworth.com


    2 members found this post helpful.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec. 25, 2005
    Posts
    1,910

    Default

    I think it depends on how you move. Personally, I think they might feel better to stay in a room they are used to while you finish moving the rest of the house, unless you think the movers are going to make a huge amount of noise and stress your guys out. For many cats, boarding is not exactly anxiety-free.

    You know the situation and your cats best so that's really a judgement call you have to make. Personally, I would lock my cats up in a secluded part of the house. Its less stressful for them than a car ride and several days in a strange, sometimes loud, boarding facility.

    Another option is to leave them in a room without moving stuff out, do the rest of the house, then move the cats and that single room. You can also try to shut them up in there for a few days before moving so they get used to being confined to that room. But this might only be an option if you are moving locally.



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb. 11, 2013
    Posts
    52

    Default

    Moving with cats, le sigh: its never fun but there are some things you can do to minimize the pain for you and for them. I have moved my five both long distance (CT to Chicago) and short distance. Some of the things that help are:

    Get each cat a crate, set the crates out near their feeding area with doors open, and start feeding them in the crates about a week ahead of the move - even earlier if your cats are the suspicious type. This sets up some positive associations and makes it easy to get the cats in the crates when moving day arrives.

    On the day itself, give them breakfast in their crates, then harden your heart and shut them in. They are still going to howl piteously and get upset, but at least this way there is no stressful fight about getting the cat into the carrier at the last minute.

    Next step: move all the crates to a bathroom or other dark confined space while the moving of furniture is going on. It's better if they can't see it. when you arrive at the new place, same protocol: put the crates in a bathroom or a quiet bedroom while the actual moving is going on, and don't think about releasing them from the crates until the dust is settled and the move is complete.

    Keep them confined to a single small room like a bedroom for at least several days, maybe as long as a week. When they get a little of their moxie back and boredom kicks in and they start feeling like they're dying of curiosity to see what's outside the door, then its probably time to let them explore further.


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  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun. 11, 2007
    Posts
    313

    Default

    Our "method" is a lot like Sooty Tats.

    We've moved a few miles away to over a thousand. I guess with job changes and rental changes our cats get used to it. I do know that they react to a suitcase being packed by hoping in it while it's being packed. Place item in, get next item, take cat out, place item.... You have to close the top to stop this and it's either a, "Don't go!" or "Take me with you" kind of thing. (Even though there will still be people in the house)

    We have big cat carriers that one will hop in and one won't. When moving day comes, we put them in the carrier at the last minute and then a dark, hopefully quiet closet. Let me add that we are careful the carrier-averse cat does not know they are down and ready to go. That cat gets put in first. The other one will be trying to get in that carrier too so all we have to be careful about is cat #1. Check in from time to time to assure them they are not being left. New place, put carrier in closet, check in on them, then they are out when movers are gone. Have not had to keep them in one room for a time and they are indoor cats. Also, we take them out of the carriers near the cat box and show them where it is now..

    Most of the time, moving takes more than a day and the van may come and pick up while you have to stay and clean an empty house. In that case, we rent at a pet friendly motel and I have one of the family members stay with the cats. Also have a cat quilt that is over the sofa that goes with them always. It's familiar. Put that on the end of one of the beds and cats are just fine. They know they are not being left. We elect to stay at motels when driving cross country if we can and always have someone with them, which most motels require anyway, or only gone for short periods of time. And we've found that cats have motel preferences too.

    Some time back we quit trying to put them in a bathroom and telling the movers not to open that door. There is no sign in the world or warning to be said that will keep the door from being opened. Thought we'd lost a cat but finally heard mewing from some where in the kitchen cabinets. We still don't know how the cat got in where it did....

    Last move, one of the cats was on our bed before we could get any linens on it.

    I think the most important thing is they know you are still around and there is something familiar with them. (The quilt) The furniture does the same thing once you're at the new place. It's all familiar and they have spent years on it- whether invited or not.
    Last edited by Catsdorule-sigh; Mar. 14, 2013 at 01:04 PM. Reason: Cat box and capture



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep. 23, 2002
    Location
    Eastern MA
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    2,370

    Default

    We'll hopefully be dealing with this this summer, if our house ever sells!

    My plan is to lock me and the cat in the already-emptied guest bedroom (with food/water/litterbox/bed, where I will then sit with my back against the door while the movers are here - luckily DH is around to deal w/ the movers. Will pack up cat and her stuff and head to the new house. Movers will then unload furniture from the guest room into the new guest room, and cat and I will lock ourselves in there until movers have unloaded and gone. Cat will be put into carrier before door opens, and not let out of carrier until door closes.

    Boarding would freak her the hell out so it is NOT an option.

    If it were just me, she'd be in her carrier in the closed room the entire time - I do NOT trust movers to not open a door, even with signs.



  13. #13
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    Mar. 9, 2006
    Posts
    1,830

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    You are wise not to trust movers to leave the door shut. Heck, I couldn't even trust my friend whose mom bred show cats. How hard is it for a person who grew up in a cattery to figure out that cats go out open doors? Sheesh.



  14. #14
    Join Date
    May. 20, 2008
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    972

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    Hey, great thoughts and ideas! As usual, you all thought of things I didn't, and I appreciate it! This is a local move - several trips to and from, about 10 minutes away. I never thought about movers opening a door, but everyone is right - it's very possible, especially if it's a bathroom door! Thanks for all the food-for-thought - I need to mull it over!



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Apr. 29, 2008
    Location
    Houston, TX
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    I personally like the room idea, but I've never had trouble with movers opening doors they shouldn't. Granted, we haven't yet moved from a really large house, so that's just my experience. My cats would be WAY happier in a small room, closet, or even their carrier than boarded. If you feel you can't keep the movers out of the designated cat room, I like the idea of warming them up to the crate (plus tranqs for your stressed kitty if she can tolerate them).

    I used tranqs during a couple of moves (for the car ride though), and they were a LIFE SAVER. Good to see how they respond to the meds in advance, but definitely worth looking into.

    My kitties have always settled in great if turned loose in the new place once "their" furniture is up. They are fine kept confined to one room for a day or a few hours as well. You know your cats. So decide how far you trust your movers and plan accordingly. If you do have someone else around to supervise the movers, you can be the animal keeper = )


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  16. #16
    Join Date
    Oct. 20, 2001
    Location
    San Jose, CA
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    1,118

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    My cats would be apoplectic if I left them at the vets!

    I am doing a local move in a few weeks. I will be clearing out the guest bedroom and then closing the cats in there. They will stay in there while the movers load everything. I'll then let them out so they can be in the old house. I'll go with the movers to the new house and everything will get unloaded. After the movers are finished at the new place, I'll drive to the old place and pick up the cats.

    I did the same when I did a long distance move, shut them in a room during the loading.


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  17. #17
    Join Date
    May. 20, 2008
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    972

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zevida View Post
    My cats would be apoplectic if I left them at the vets!

    I am doing a local move in a few weeks. I will be clearing out the guest bedroom and then closing the cats in there. They will stay in there while the movers load everything. I'll then let them out so they can be in the old house. I'll go with the movers to the new house and everything will get unloaded. After the movers are finished at the new place, I'll drive to the old place and pick up the cats.

    I did the same when I did a long distance move, shut them in a room during the loading.
    Ohhhhh, I hadn't thought of that - letting them have the run of the old house while preparing the new house! What a great idea!



  18. #18
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    Nov. 1, 1999
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    Shangri-LA
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    Having moved several times with several cats (even from Germany to the US) I would advise you to keep the cats in one room of your house while you are packing. If you are using movers be sure to post a sign on the door not to open. Cats will know something is going on and will get stressed when you start loading up everything. They will be more comfortable in your current house until you are ready to take them to the new one. I'm not sure about having them loose in the empty old house will be any less stressful, I think I would keep them confined to one room with their food/water, bedding that they are familiar with. Be sure to have a pet carrier for each cat or one large enough for two to go together, depending on how well they get along. I would pass on the tranquilizers, they will stress at first but will settle in after awhile. Putting a towel over the pet carry to make a dark place for them will help them feel more secure. When you get to the new house, once again, put them in one room and keep them there until all the furniture is in etc. DO NOT allow them to get out of the new house, they may well panic and run off because they will not be familiar with any of the surroundings. Give them some perches to look out the windows of the new house so they can get familiar with the new sites and smells.


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  19. #19
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    Aug. 24, 2009
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    289

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    We move all the time. Finnegan has moved from MD - TX, TX - VA, VA - MO, and MO to VA again. He's an awesome cat and as long as he's comfortable, doesn't get too stressed. (If he is cold or hungry, he WILL let you know.)

    When the packers or movers are coming, he goes in a large cat crate for the day. He's a master at sneaking out doors, and there's no guarantee the movers won't open the wrong door at the wrong time. His 'large' crate is big enough for him to stand/sit/turn around/sprawl out, so he tolerates it pretty well. I usually put a cat bed in there for him and check on him frequently (and provide toys or treats as needed.) TBH, he pretty much goes in there and sleeps until it's time to come out.

    When we get wherever we're going (hotel, temporary housing, or the new place) we make sure he knows where the litter box, food, and water are. I keep an eye on him for a few days to make sure that all of his 'amenities' are where he wants them to be and he's not getting bothered by the dogs while he tries to eat or drink. So far he has settled in well and quickly every time.



  20. #20
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    May. 20, 2008
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    OK, time for an update! I moved! I actually used two days to move. The first day, the cats were kept in my bedroom and the room was untouched (we were mainly moving all of my horse/outside stuff, and part of the house. No problems there, cats were happy. The second day, I had to put the cats in a cleared-out bedroom (all pre-planned with carriers in the bedroom). Cats were NOT happy. Scared out of their minds. In fact, when we finally finished moving everything and I went back to the old house to pick up the kitties, all but one were BURIED under the blankets and sheets I left for them to lay on! I didn't have enough carriers for each of them, so two had to go in one carrier. That didn't work well at all. After putting Pissed-Off-and-Scared kitty with three different partners, I finally found one that wouldn't react to her, so they stayed together for the 10 minute drive. Once in our new home, I put everyone in a circle facing each other and opened doors. Four kitties scattered out of sight. Last kitty stayed in her carrier for hours. However, everyone is doing fine now, aside from not appreciating the never-ending line of workers coming in and out of the house! I'm happy to say that I picked up my horse from my friend's and brought him home tonight! I missed him! Anyway, we're slowly making the new house a home.


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