How to prepare my cat for the big move

by Darlene Burrow

Good morning everyone! Milo and I are planning on moving to a completely different county in the beginning of next year.

My biggest concern is my cat, Milo. Milo really dislikes car rides at all possible. It will be about a good forty five minutes or an hour depending on how traffic is.

I don’t want Milo to be even more stressed out. What can I do to prepare her to be calm and relaxed?

Is it a good idea to take her on short car rides weekly like around the block or something so she will get used to car rides or isn’t that a good idea?

Any feed back and suggestions would be very helpful to me please

Thank you.


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How to prepare my cat for the big move

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Jan 04, 2012 updates on milo’s vet appointment
by: darlene burrow

Hi everyone just letting you know that i did take my baby milo to the vet for a check up and some shots too everything seems to be okay besides the fact that she needs to lose some weight and that in the coming year milo will need to get dental work done depending on if the vet needs to pull anything in her mouth the account would be 400 to 600 bucks otherwise milo is doing great!!

Nov 24, 2011 You have time
by: Ruth

Hi again Darlene, as you aren’t moving until February at the earliest you have time to take Milo for his check up soon and then for him to settle down again before your move.
Good luck.

Nov 23, 2011 to ruth
by: darlene burrow

hi ruth i need to move out either feb. or march at the latest i really can’t postpone the vet appointment because i have to pay a co pay to the city of west bend each year in order to keep milo and that co payment is coming near its due in jan even though i am moving in feb or march its still a new year and i need to take milo to the vet before hand before i make the co payment or the city won’t accept it unless i take milo to the vet but i take milo to the vet anyhow for appointments

Nov 22, 2011 Unfortunate timing
by: Ruth

Yes the timing of her check up is a bit unfortunate.
When will you be moving ? If it’s soon and she’s well I’d be inclined to postpone it until you’ve moved, although you’ll then have to find a new vet I suppose.
If she has time after the visit to the vet and before you move, to calm down, she should be OK.

Nov 22, 2011 UPDATES


Nov 20, 2011 Good luck, Darlene!
by: Ruth (Monty’s Mom)

Of course I was hoping that you were moving south instead of north, to the Milwaukee area! Fond du lac is pretty nice though. My husband and I looked at some houses there when we first got married, but we ended up staying around Milwaukee. Fond du lac is the tail end of the Fox cities, a whole string of small cities in a row including Oshkosh, Neenah/Menasha and Appleton. You won’t be very far from the aviation museum in Oshkosh. There are some good shopping malls up that way too. And Fond du lac has a Hardee’s restaurant– you never see those around Milwaukee anymore for some reason. We always stop to eat there when we are traveling up that way.

I think you’re going to really like it up there. It has all the good things about a small town, even a country atmosphere, but all the big city amenities too. There’s so much there, but it’s just a little more spread out than Milwaukee. The highways and roads are excellent though, so it makes it really easy to get around. Not like Milwaukee where the traffic is backed up all the time. They really are forward thinking in the Fox cities and built roads to accommodate growth. I think you’ll like everything about it. My husband is from Neenah.

Your cat Milo will come to like the new home also, it will just take time. If you’re happy there, Milo will be happy also. Keep writing and let us know how it goes!

Nov 14, 2011 thank you everyone for the great advice!!!
by: darlene burrow

thank you so very much for all your questions ,comments,and great advice for me and milo that helps me out a lot more more than you know thank you so much one question ruth had asked me was are you moving from country to city the answer is i am moving from city which i currently live in west bend wi and i will be moving to a much bigger city which is fond du lac wi i really don’t have much of a choice but to move really i am in a state program that helps the disabled people which i am disabled since i was eight years old but the program i am in are no help to me at all and the person who is helping me currently is also not really helping me at all there is no one else in west bend that can help me i have to move to fond du lac if i want to or not so i can be closer to my daddy and he helps me a lot that way i can be cared for more if i move thank you again for everything god bless!

Nov 11, 2011 traveling with cats
by: Gwen

Only one of my 8 cats likes traveling and that’s because I made her get used to the carrier and the car when she was a kitten…
I think people here have given you good advise and you shouldn’t worry too much,1 hour isn’t a long journey.11 yaers ago we moved from Belgium to Ibiza,Spain.2 cats by car,2 by plain.the ones in the car complained a lot,the ones by air were calm
(they got to stay in the cabin with me)
Once they were in the new home,they settled in soon.
I think having stuff from the old home and their people there,makes it easier…
You do need to keep the cat inside for 3 weeks(if
ever it goes for walks)
Good luck!

Nov 10, 2011 Moving is hard
by: Ruth (Monty’s Mom)

Moving is tough for people and for their companion animals. I think all the advice you’ve been given is wonderful. Be patient with Milo. You can understand that the move will be hard, but that things will eventually settle down. No way to explain that to your cat. I think just keep as many familiar things around Milo as possible. Think about familiar smells. Scent is a big deal for cats. The t-shirt idea is a good one.

My husband and I have decided to never move because it was so godawful the last time. We plan to live where we are until we have to go into a rest home or die. Sometimes I think living in the country up north would be so nice, but I can’t stand the thought of having to move, so I’ll stay a city animal. Also, I would never even think casually about moving while Monty is alive. This house and the back yard is his whole world. I couldn’t take him away from it. He was born under my porch, he’ll live his whole life here, and someday he’ll rest beneath the soil of his beloved “paradise” out back. But I have the ability to make that choice! I know sometimes there just is no other option but to move.

Are you moving from the country to the city or will your new home be similar to where you live now? Just curious! Good luck to you and Milo. I’ll keep you in my prayers during this stressful time for you, your family and Milo.

Nov 10, 2011 My thoughts
by: Ruth

Grahame’s idea is very good, to leave the carrier Milo will be travelling in, open from now until you move, with something you have worn in it for him to lie on.
Feliway spray is very good for calming most cats although it doesn’t work for some.
A quote from the instructions for moving day:
‘Apply Feliway Spray directly into carrier 15 minutes before introducing the cat (one spray in each of the four corners, two sprays on the floor and 2 sprays on the ceiling)’
I don’t think I’d risk taking him out in the car before the move because if he hates it he will be even more traumatised on the moving day.
We moved here with 2 nine year old cats with no trouble at all, although the journey wasn’t as far as yours will be. The main thing is to stay calm yourself as cats pick up on stress and to put him in a room with his familiar things like his scratching post and open his carrier door, as soon as you get to your new home. Then when your furniture is in place and the removal men gone open that room door and let him explore the whole house.
We took our cats out into the garden a few times every day for a week and they soon learned all the scents inside and outside their new home.
Sadly they are both gone now from old age but if we moved again we’d do it the same way with the 2 cats we have now.
Good luck to you both.

Nov 10, 2011 A little advice
by: Finn Frode, Denmark

Hi Darlene.
Yes, it is possible to train cats for car rides like you suggest. If you do, start out by just getting the cat used to being inside it’s carrier box in the vehicle without starting the engine. Use lots of treats and positive encouragement – and maybe after some sessions you’ll be able to start the engine and later even get the car moving a little…

The training will take lots of patience, so the question is whether letting Milo go through all that really is worth the trouble and inconvenience to him. Most cats don’t like riding cars, but when they have to, covering the box with a blanket so that it’s dark inside often makes them a little more comfortable. Our cats really hate it too, but so far they have survived their yearly trips to the vet. 🙂

You can of course ask your vet for a tranquilizer, but one should always be careful when using drugs on cats. Instead I’d rather recommend Zylkène, which is a natural product (made from milk) that can help cats managing stress. It’s quite commonly used over here, but I’m not sure whether it is available in the States. You can read about it at the British (name plus website.

Cats have their daily routines and don’t like too much change. So when the time comes for actually moving to the new home, make sure that it feels as familiar as possible. Don’t rush out to buy a new cat bed or scratching tree – Milo will appreciate that his old things are there for him, when he arrives.

And make sure that there is no way he can run out during the move. Have a special room ready for him both at the old and at the new location – and make sure that everybody have been instructed not to let him out!

Good luck with your move and the new home. 🙂

Nov 09, 2011 Poor Milo
by: Dorothy

I have heard that a cat eventually calms down in a car, but probably not in 45 minutes. You may just have to put up with the howling.

Something else to consider is a few drops of Bach’s Rescue Remedy on his tongue or anywhere you can get it in his mouth. It is made of flower essence, all natural. It calms down animals in a hurry. I’m not sure how it works, but it does work. Even on my 85 pound dog. It’s worth a try.

Good luck with your move.


Nov 09, 2011 These procedures work a treat!
by: Grahame

Milo gets put in her carrier.

Into her carrier also go some of her favourite things. Also sommething that smells strongly of you, like a t-shirt you have worn.

Milo should already be quite comfortable in her carrier. Otherwise, start now to acclimatise her. Put aforementioned comforting things in carrier. Put Milo in carrier. Leave carrier door open. Do not argue with Milo, do not force Milo. My experience has been that the cat(s) come to see the carrier as a non-threatening place and will come to like being in it. Mine came to like sleeping in their carriers. If they shy away, try leaving the top off of the carrier at first. Here, it got to the point where the cat(s) did not want to come out of the carrier because, it seems, it was a restful and secluded place for them. After your cat(s) are used to the carrier, move it to a quiet and not too brightly lit place.

These procedures work a treat!

Nov 09, 2011 Hi Darlene
by: Michael

Nice to hear from you again, Darlene. I think the move is more that just about the traveling for Milo. Milo will have to get used to the new home. Cats like routine and it will take a good 6 months and more, I think, for Milo to get used to his new home.

People require a similar amount of time to get used to a new place. It might take up to a year in fact.

The journey is not that far so I think Milo will be OK whatever happens. Perhaps you might try a homeopathic type tranquillizer such as Rescue Remedy (
for humans). Low dose required.

I wouldn’t take him out in the car beforehand. You agree that. It won’t help and it would mean more upset for Milo.

I will ask Finn Frode to comment as he moved home about a year ago and he has two cats. I am sure he can pass on good advice.

My three-legged cat was nervous during the journey. He was in a cat carrier and went to the toilet in it. He was that nervous. He hid under my desk when he got here. It took about 3 weeks for him to get over the initial upset and fear.

They say that you should keep a cat inside a new home for three weeks before letting a cat outside (if you do that). This allows the cat to settle down a bit.

Good Luck to you and Milo

Michael Broad

Hi, I am 70-years-of-age at 2019. For 14 years before I retired at 57, I worked as a solicitor in general law specialising in family law. Before that I worked in a number of different jobs including professional photography. I have a longstanding girlfriend, Michelle. We like to walk in Richmond Park which is near my home because I love nature and the landscape (as well as cats and all animals).

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