Moving With 4 Cats

May 26, 2019

Cats do not like moving day, that’s for sure. And, of course, as cat owners we wish we could always just let them do what they do best, which is to be happy all of the time. But once in a while we have to put our kitties into their carriers and take them on a car ride, during which time they protest with their sad cries in an effort to make us feel as guilty as possible for ruining a perfect day of playing, sleeping and eating. How dare we?

And on moving day, as if to add insult to injury, we are not only taking them for an unwanted car ride, we are also wrenching them away from their familiar home and putting them into a strange new place which they will then need to learn about – ugh, that’s too much work for these naturally lazy beings!

So, what can we do to minimize their stress and get them back to their happy little selves as soon as possible?

My husband, Marty, and I have gone through this process several times, so I’ll share with you what has worked for us in the past. For our last two moves, we had four cats in our family.

The Cat Car

On moving day, before the movers arrived, we packed up one of our vehicles with the cats’ essentials – litterboxes, food, water bowls and some blankets. Then we put the four cats into their carriers and into the vehicle. The vehicle was a small SUV, so all of the carriers and the litterbox and everything else fit in there ok. Marty then took the cats to the new home, while I coordinated the movers at the old place.

The Cat Rooms

At the new place, Marty created “cat rooms” inside the home. We have one cat, Maggie, who doesn’t always get along well with the other three cats, so to keep things civil during the moving process, we needed two cat rooms, one for Maggie and one for the other three to share.  We used one bedroom but we needed to keep the other two bedrooms available to move our stuff into, so Maggie ended up in a bathroom. Marty set up each cat room with a litterbox, food, water and blankets to rest on. He let the cats out of their carriers in their assigned rooms. Then he closed the door to each room and that’s where they stayed until after all of our things were moved from the first home to this new home.

You could also use the cat room in the home from which you are moving, while your stuff is being moved out of the house, and then move the cats at the end of the day. We prefer to get the cats settled into the new place first, and then handle the move, because then we don’t have to worry about them for the rest of the day.

In our experience, the cats seemed fine with this arrangement.

A New Adventure

The fun part is then letting the cats out to explore the rest of their new home. Some cats can be timid and will look for a hiding place of their own choosing. Once, when our cat Lucy was young, she found the bathtub in our new home and she sat in the tub for a few hours before she was brave enough (or bored or hungry enough) to explore the rest of the home. Another time she went under the stairs in the basement and stayed there. Now that she’s older and has moved with us a many times, she does not hesitate to wander around and figure out her new territory.

During the days of unpacking and moving furniture around, the cats will probably be wishing for some peace and quiet, but their curious tendencies will have them jumping in and out of boxes and playing with all the stuff that hasn’t been put away yet.

Moving can be stressful for everyone involved. Just remember that our cats usually have a pretty good life, with us catering to their needs every day, and not having to go to work…. Do your best to minimize their stress on moving day, but don’t feel guilty about the move. They will get used to their new home and get back to their usual routines of napping and playing, all in good time.