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A cross country move is a pretty big deal, even if one is only moving alone. What do you do, however, when you also have an animal that you have to move with you as well? Having a cat as a pet provides one with years of happiness, companionship and love. Pets are shown to not only improve the health of our psyches, but they can also help us lead a longer, fuller life. So when it comes to moving, how can one make the process as easy on their kitty as possible?

Make the New Place Familiar

When a person moves, it upends the life of their cat. The home is their territory, all they know. Moving means the taking away of all they know as home. This is very tough for a cat who might not understand that the new space is also their new territory. Before bringing the cat into the new house, try to unpack as many familiar items for them as possible. Cat furniture, toys, or certain household items that the cat seems to prefer will help make the environment seem more welcoming.

Choose the Fastest Route

The trip to your new home is going to be stressful on a cat no matter what. Most often, cats must be contained within carriers, which reduces their space. They will also be subjected to unfamiliar sights and sounds which can be very frightening. If the trip can be done by car in a reasonable amount of time, this is likely to be least stressful on your cat. They will have your familiar presence and smell with them to make them comfortable. However, if you are moving a vast distance, a plane ride, while traumatizing, may be less stressful for the cat as the ride is over faster.

Make the Ride Comfortable

If you are taking your cat in a car, keep them in mind while driving. Don’t keep the windows down, blowing on them. Talk to the cat and comfort it. Make sure to stop on occasion to let the cat out of her carrier for a drink, a bit to eat and a bathroom break.

By following the tips outlined above, you can help reduce the stress of moving on your cat. Cats do not like change and no matter what, it will be a little stressful for them. However, by planning in advance and taking steps to make sure that the new home is as familiar as possible, while preparing properly to head across country with your kitty, will help make the whole process easier on everyone, getting you and your kitty to your new home sooner and with as little stress as possible.

Peter Wendt is a freelance writer and cat lover from the Austin hill country. He’s moved from California to New York to Texas all with a cat. If you need advice on how to move your pets long distances Peter recommends Unicorn Moving and Storage.