After packing your life into cardboard, finding the right moving company, and scheduling all necessary utility visits, you are ready for the moving day! P.S. your realtor can help you with all of that! I know relocation is A LOT, and I am always happy to take some of the burdens on my shoulders to help my clients.
Relocating with animals can be a difficult road. Whether you decided on driving or flying.
They're incredibly in-tune with your habits, so when the furniture starts disappearing, they grow concerned. They smell the change. I remember missing furniture was hard on my cats, suddenly they lost all of their favorite hiding spots.
Relocation can be just as difficult for them as it is for you. Here are some things to consider to make their transition easier.
While you are planning your relocation, add 'find a veterinarian' to your list. If you don't know anyone in the new area that could recommend you a vet, do the research online - yelp, google, Reddit - are excellent sources.
Make sure you either take all the essentials - food, bowls, litter, etc. - with you or if that's not possible, you order everything online to be delivered before you arrive at the new home. You can use Amazon, Chewy, or your local pet store.
DRIVING WITH YOUR PET
If your trip requires an overnight stay, call hotels ahead of time to ensure they're pet-friendly. For those who will kennel during the trip, keep the carrier in the living room until the day of the move. Let your pet become familiar with it - put their favorite blanket and toys inside and give them treats if they go in. If your dog is not used to riding in the car, take them on short trips. I'm not sure if you can make your cat get used to car rides, mine always 'complain' while being in the car.
On move day, make the car feel like home. Recreate their sleeping space and have their favorite toys and treats handy. Don't forget to take water bottles!
Dogs usually are okay with a moving car, but cats can occasionally throw up from the anxiety. Bring some extra towels in case there is an 'accident.' You can help your cat to lower his stress level by using a calming collar and putting a blanket over the carrier.
FLYING WITH YOUR PET
For those who will kennel during the trip, keep the carrier in the living room until the day of the move. Let your pet become familiar with it - put their favorite blanket and toys inside and give them treats if they go in.
The first thing to do is to call the airlines and ask them what their policy on flying with animals is. Ask if you can have your pet on board or if it has to be shipped as cargo. Most of the smaller animals - cats - can fly under your seat. They are treated as your carry-on, which means you can take only one bag with which will be to the overhead bin.
Check what the requirements in the state you are flying to with your pet, what kind of documents you need from your vet are.
Check the requirements with the airline if it comes to the carrier size. Generally speaking, it has to be small enough to fit under your seat.
If your pet is being shipped cargo, the general requirement is that your pet has to be able to stand up comfortably. Double-check that!
Put something that smells like home into the carrier to comfort your pet.
What I found helpful when I was moving from California to North Carolina, was putting a blanket on the carrier, so it completely covers it; it will calm them down.
You most likely be able to board early, talk to the airline staff, and ask them if that's possible.
PRO TIP: if you want to skip the line, sign up for CLEAR - one-month free trial! You will be able to walk quickly through the security.
Upon arrival, make your pet your priority - don't leave them in the car while you unpack. Find a room to make their own. Ideally, somewhere on the back of the house where they can have peace. Put down their bed, along with toys and other familiar items. Confine them to this space until most of the unpacking is complete. Check on them regularly to reassure them of your presence and to calm them down.
For cats, the good idea is to use a calming diffuser; it will help them to get used to the new place.
With proper planning, moving with your pet doesn't have to be complicated.