Planning a relocation that includes your pets adds a fair amount of prep work to the equation. Not only do you have to research pet import requirements, schedule vet visits, and buy an airline-approved travel crate, you'll need to help your furry friend feel comfortable spending time in the crate as best you can.
Some pet owners are lucky to have dogs or cats that tolerate or even like stepping into their home-away-from-home, but others have a challenge at hand. Based on general personality traits it seems easier to help dogs gradually accept crates and learn to treat them as a safe and cozy place, but we all know that cats can be a different story.
Before you throw up your hands in defeat imagining a lot of hissing, scratching, and yowling from your one-of-a-kind kitty, take a look at the following tips and give crate-training a try. Your cat will probably never love the experience, but with time and patience applied to the situation, you can at least remove some of the discomfort.
Familiarity - It's a problem if cats only associate travel crates with being jostled around in the car and then taken into the vet's office to be poked and prodded. Try leaving the crate out in a room where the cat often goes so that the sight of it becomes less of an event and just a part of everyday life instead.
Treats - Always leave the door open and place toys inside the crate to pique feline curiosity. When the cat goes near it or inside it, offer praise and maybe a yummy snack. Soon your little skeptics will begin to put two and two together and will look to you for a handout each time they step inside.
Time - Don't expect change to happen overnight. It might take weeks to see any progress, but with steady exposure and positive reinforcement, even the most stubborn kitty will show signs of progress.
Practice - Once your cat no longer freaks out at the sight of the crate and begins treating it like just another box to crawl inside of, it'll be time for some practice runs. Take a car ride around the block to start, and then try some longer drives so that when moving day arrives, that longer journey won't be such a shock.
Talk to your vet if you have any particular concerns about cat travel, and don't hesitate to ask your Pet Relocation Specialist for their own tips and advice, as well. We have lots of experience moving pets of all breed, size, and temperament, so don't be shy!
Travel crate? Yeah, I'll think about it.