Moving Across Country with Pets

In response to this article about moving with pets, here is my comment synopsis on our recent move from Pennsylvania to California with our pets.

We just moved across the country from Pennsylvania to California in a van, with our cat and three bird cages of birds. Five days! I’m telling you….it was something else. The birds were absolutely fine. I left them in the car overnight (it was autumn and not too cold). I didn’t change their papers the entire way because I was afraid of them getting out. So all that was good.

But the cat. He was in a good sized dog cage. He is a territorial indoor-outdoor cat with a routine of guarding the house during the day and his yard at night. He had a thing down and had the best of both worlds. This move was really hard on him. It was a pain to clean his box twice a day when he poo’d because we couldn’t let him out of the cage. And he’s not a good coverer, so it did smell really bad in a van. So we had to stop and clean it every time. And he yowled and yowled he wanted out. But during the day he slept hard. We also left him in the van to sleep at night.

I did use this product called Feliway. It did help calm him. Some. A little. Very little. But every bit of help helps.

When we finally got to the destination, and we settled into the apartment, he was let out to roam. The first thing he did is find a corner and pee 😦 So we put a box there as well as left the one in his cage.

His cage is still up (we’ve been here two months+). He just goes in there to use the box. He still wants out and paws at the window. I will get him (eventually) a cat tree and things to sit on so he can look outside better. He has his place by the window now. Rescue Remedy helped at the apartment to not be so stressed. I think it takes the edge off. I had toys and we played with him but all he wanted was out. He still wants out at night. Sometimes I feel bad for him, but you know, I want a house again too. So….one day hopefully we can get a house and he can establish his cat guard routine there.

I had to do all the paperwork like this article mentioned. States like California and Florida have border guards and they will inspect your vehicle. All the work I did beforehand, though, for the vets, my cat, and my plants…when we got to the border, the guard just said, “Go.” We were surprised. I’m still glad I went through all the plant/cat/bird inspection process. I learned a lot.

With all these things in our van, we had little room for anything but bags. Just FYI if you plan to drive pets across country you won’t have space for much more than a few bags. Keep that in mind.

We shipped all our home items via U-Haul storage containers. It was fabulous, and less expensive than PODS. It took them a long time to arrive but well, it took us a long time to arrive across the country too.

To everyone else who makes long trips with their pets, good luck. It can be kind of tough and a little scary and frustrating, but if you care for and love your animals do all you can to make them comfortable and be prepared to have plenty of patience and wherewithal for your trip.