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Let's Talk About Cats and Moving: Mine Cried Throughout the 150-Mile Journey to Our New House

My cat, Dahlia started singing the prison blues before the movers even showed up. As soon as the car started moving, her howls of despair got even louder.

 |  Apr 4th 2012  |   31 Contributions


A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a Let’s Talk piece on preparing your cats for a big move. I took your advice and added it to my own knowledge about how to handle moves of house, and at least that part went well.

What didn’t go so well was the 150-mile road trip to get from my old home to my new home.

My three cats reacted to the journey in distinctly different ways. Siouxsie, the oldest at age 15, had seen this all before, so she got into the carrier without much struggle. Likewise, Thomas, my 10-year-old, didn’t like the carrier, but he didn’t fight much with me as I put him inside and held him gently by the scruff as I closed the zipper around him. He gave me a sad “why have you done this to me?” stare and settled down to bear his misery in silence.

I wish all of my cats could have been this chill. Image: Cat resting in carrier by Shutterstock.

Dahlia, on the other hand, fled to the bedroom (where I had installed the carriers, knowing this was going to happen). I closed the door and literally took the bed apart so she had no place to hide. She tried to flee again, leaving little pieces of poop behind her the whole way, until I finally grabbed her, turned the carrier on its back, and held her as tightly as I could so she wouldn’t escape again as I closed the zippers around her.

"Well," I figured, "at least I scared the crap out of her before we left so she won't mess her crate on the way!"

Dahlia started singing the prison blues before the movers even showed up. And once they’d packed everything, I brought the carriers to the car and buckled them in for the long trip ahead.

As soon as the car started moving, Dahlia’s howls of despair got even louder.

I had nursed some vain hope that by the time we drove past the vet’s office, she’d realize there was no threat of being poked and prodded. But no: the further we went, her dirge only continued.

Alas, Dahlia took it more like this unhappy kitty. Image: Cat in carrier, hating life by Shutterstock.

By the time we’d gotten about 40 miles down the road, it seemed that she’d either accepted her fate or lost her voice. But again, no! As soon as I made my way around a cloverleaf from I-395 to I-95, the cries started anew.

Seventy miles further on, I had to make a pit stop. Dahlia was blessedly silent.

As soon as we started moving again, it was Siouxsie’s turn to start cursing. She rattled the bars of her cage and yelled at me to let her the $%*!!@ out of there RIGHT NOW!

Naturally, this triggered Dahlia to start anew.

With a sigh, I once again told Dahlia what a good, brave kitty she was, and that we only had about half an hour left to go. That was no consolation.

But then, something strange happened. I started singing along to the music playing (softly) on the stereo. Everybody chilled out. Maybe it was something about my voice -- which is pretty good, I might say -- or the fact that when I sing it means I feel relaxed and happy. Maybe it was just that by hearing me constantly, they knew I was, in fact, with them.

So, I sang the rest of the way to m new home. And the cats were quiet.

I only wish things had gone so smoothly when I got here.

It’s been two days since the move, and Dahlia still hasn’t fully recovered. I've got the Feliway diffusers going, I've rubbed Stress Stopper remedy into her fur (that certainly has helped, because she's no longer hiding in the closet!) and I've even given myself multiple doses of Bach Rescue Remedy so that I'm more relaxed. I feel bad for her, but I hope she adapts to our new home once the moving boxes are gone and it’s obvious that we’re here for the duration.

What about you? How well do your cats travel? What have you done to quiet the chorus of despair (aside from giving kitty some tranquilizers, which I chose not to do)?

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