How to Move Cats Across Country

Cat sitting in the suitcase or bag and waiting for a trip

Any cat owner knows the ordeal of taking cats anywhere. First, you have to find them—not an easy task when they’re hiding under a bed, in a closet, or on top of the fridge. Then, you have to encourage them to enter their carrier, a step that often requires kitty treat bribes and promises of wet food dinners for life. 

It’s hard enough to take cats a couple of blocks down the street to the vet. So what about moving cats across the country? You want to make them comfortable during the hustle and bustle of packing, and you also want to keep them content during the long journey. 

Fortunately, we’ve got you covered. In this blog post, we’ll discuss all you need to know about how to transport cats across the country. By following these tips, you’ll make your felines less prone to show you their claws and more willing to give you affection no matter the distance.

How to Move Cats Across Country

Before moving your cats across the country, it’s important to know that cats generally hate changes to their environment. Cats are creatures of habit, and they tend to get anxious when their homes (and owners) are full of excitement. Even moving their litter box might cause them to panic.

That said, there are things you can do to make your cats feel at ease while their toys are boxed and their cat tree is disassembled. Below are a few tips to follow if you want to make your cats content before the move and during the journey.1

Tip #1: Schedule Vet Visits Well Before the Move

Pet vaccionation card

If you’re moving to a state that doesn’t require any additional vaccinations, you may be able to skip this step. However, if you’re moving somewhere that requires vaccines your cats currently don’t have, it’s wise to schedule a vet visit well before the move.

The problem is that while some cats like going to the vet, many cats don’t. Don’t add extra stress to your cats’ new adventures by scheduling a visit a day before the move. 

Your playful felines already have enough on their plates. Make their pre-move preparations as easy as possible by taking care of vet visits sooner rather than later. Call your vet to schedule that appointment well in advance so your furry friend can have some recovery time between the dreaded vet trip and the big move.

Tip #2: Get Suitable Carriers Ahead of Time

Chances are you already have carriers for your cats. However, if these carriers are too small or too uncomfortable, you’ll want to get different carriers.

If you’re flying, and have come to terms with the answer to “how much does it cost to fly a dog or cat?” you should also be aware of airline carrier regulations. The following regulations generally apply to all airlines:2

  • Cargo – Although many airlines allow pets to fly in the cabin, some airlines may require pets to be entered as cargo.
  • Weight limits – Most airlines will allow pets up to 18 inches long and weighing 11-12 pounds to fly in the cabin, but some airlines have different regulations.
  • Carrier limits – Your cats’ carriers should be small enough to fit beneath your seats. Additionally, carriers should have waterproof bottoms, adequate ventilation, security so your furry friends can’t escape, and enough toys to keep cats occupied.

If driving, you should still do all you can to make your cats’ journey as pleasant as possible.  If you’re spending hours and hours in a car, your cats will want to stretch their legs, find comfortable napping positions, and maybe even have enough room to play with a toy during the journey. 

Regardless of the mode of transportation, it may be wise to help ease your cats’ worried thoughts and feelings by giving them CBD. 

Natural and plant-based, Canna-Pet Advanced Small Capsules can help your cats feel at ease during their trip to their new home.

Tip #3: Make Cats Comfortable as Possible

Similar to the above tip, this tip involves making your cats’ carriers warm, friendly, and inviting. The last thing you want is your cats spending 18+ hours in the car with nothing to do.

The following are smart ways to make your cats’ carriers feel like temporary homes:

  • Make sure their carriers are large enough for them to move around.
  • Keep warm, cozy blankets on the bottoms.
  • Place—but don’t overstuff—the carriers with toys.
  • Make room for snacks and water, but be sure to remove them when they are finished so tuna bites don’t spill all over your Volvo.

If your cats are especially calm, you might be able to make their trips even better by letting them outside of their carriers. To do this, get seat belt harnesses and attach them to their collars.

Tip #4: Introduce Cats to Their Travel Environment

A ginger cat lying on the car seat inside a car when travel with owner

Obviously, this is way more difficult to do if you’re flying, but if you’re driving, it’s good to get your cats acclimated to your vehicle.

Before the long drive, take your cats on a series of shorter drives to see how they do. If they show symptoms of car sickness, roll down the windows. If they show signs of restlessness, you may need to upgrade their carriers.

Introducing cats to their travel environment early also helps you plan your travel space. By placing them in the car in their carriers, you’ll know how much space they’ll take up. This means you won’t have to frantically move belongings over to the moving van during moving day.

Tip #5: ID Cats Properly

You’ll need to get your cats a tag with their new address anyway, so why not do it before the move? Getting your cats fitted with new tags before their move will also ease your mind in the unfortunate case that they escape during the moving process.

Be sure your new address is on their tags, as well as your phone number. Don’t forget to let your neighbors know where you’re moving to in case your cats escape during the hustle and bustle of moving and head back to a familiar setting. 

Tip #6: Plan for the Movers

Unless you plan to load the moving van without extra help, you’ll most likely enlist movers. While these movers can help expedite the moving process, they might scare your felines. Warn the movers ahead of time that you have cats. You might also want to place your cats in a room until the movers have finished loading your belongings.

An even better idea is to move your cats to a friend or family member’s house until you’ve finished loading the van. That way they can play and explore while you do all the heavy lifting. 

Tip #7: Consider Using CBD

Along with learning how to massage a dog or cat to relieve tension after a long move, consider CBD for pets to help make your furballs as content as possible both before and during the move. Unlike THC, cannabidiol (CBD) doesn’t have the psychoactive properties that create the effect of being “high.” Instead, CBD uses all-natural, plant-based hemp products to help soothe and ease anxiety naturally.

Giving your cats CBD products before and during the move can have many benefits. In addition to helping ease anxiety before the move, CBD can help reduce inflammation and any soreness in your cats from their many hours spent in their carriers.

If you’re thinking about CBD for your cats, you’d be wise to consider Canna-Pet. As a pioneer of CBD products for pets, Canna-Pet is one of the few companies to create a line of hemp products specifically for felines. Check out our Hemp Canna-Pet Advanced Small Capsules which contain cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids.

Tip #8: Pack Food, Water, Litter, and Toys Within Reach

One of the worst things you can do for your cats during a long journey is to pack all of their comfort items away in a box you can’t find. To make your cats’ new adventure as stress-free as possible, pack food, water, litter, and toys in an accessible box that you take with you.

This is especially important if you plan on making multiple stops during your move across the country. Your cats will go through a lot during your move. Make sure their hotel stays are pleasant by giving them their favorite toys and litter box.

Tip #9: Give Them Lots of Love

Anyone who’s ever moved knows the moving process is chaotic. There’s so much to do and so little time.  Even so, make sure you spend more than enough time with your cats before their big move. 

Buying your cats a new toy or treating them to their favorite meal will go a long way towards letting your cats know you love them. Be sure to give your felines a ton of affection so that they approach the move with a hug—not a hiss.

Canna-Pet: Moving Made Easy

Contrary to popular belief, cats are warm, affectionate pets. However, some cats may show their claws during periods of change. This is especially true during big moves.

To make your move across the country as easy as possible for both you and your cats, it’s good to follow the above tips. From readying their carriers to providing them with enough snacks and toys, there are many things you can do to make the big move a pleasant memory.

You should especially consider giving your cats CBD oil from Canna-Pet. Made for felines, Canna-Pet’s CBD products for cats are designed to help ease your cats’ anxieties and reduce inflammation. 

In addition to following the above tips, supplementing your cats’ diets with Canna-Pet will help make your move stress—and scratch—free.


  1.  LifeStorageBlog. Moving Cross Country with Cats? You’ll Want These 10 Tips.
  2. Airline Pet Carriers: What You Need To Know.

Tags: ,

Get 30% off When You
Join Our Newsletter

Sign Up Today
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.