Pet shipping and moving is always a challenge, particularly for cats; unlike dogs, cats bond with their environment and have a harder time adapting to a new home. We have five cats who all hate moving, but they don't really have any say in the matter. Our next move will see us driving at least two of our cats through the mountains, while the other three fly. One of our cats has heart disease so we'll be having a thorough veterinarian check-up before we even attempt the move. If our vet thinks it will be too stressful for him, we'll forego the move - our pets mean more to us than a chance to live in a new city.
When moving cats, you'll notice that when you start to pack, they'll start to behave a little strangely, act up or cry at odd times. The more packing that's done, the more their behavior may change. Try to keep cat toys, beds, favorite blankets or sleeping spots in tact up to at least the last week before you move. What I do is keep their blankets, toys, cat tree and beds out until moving day. We set aside an empty box and pack all the cats' things last. This helps to comfort them and make them feel a little more at home.
Verbal assurance helps, too. Believe it or not, most vets recommend that you talk to your cat about the move and tell them that everything will be okay. If you normally don't let your cats sleep with you, maybe keep the bedroom door open and allow them this luxury. Most cats will seek some kind of comfort from their owners (or parents) and from each other.
If you're driving your cat, check out the article Pets on the Road. The best tip is to take your cats out for a drive around the neighborhood to get them used to the car. Another tip that comes from readers is to use Feliway inside the carrier or on the blankets, or to obtain a prescribed sedative recommended from your veterinarian. This is only recommended if you can keep an eye on kitty; sedatives can be hard on the stomach and your cat may vomit. If this happens, you want to be there to ensure your cat doesn't choke. Also, my vet recommends that you test the sedative first, before you move, and preferably at a time when your vet is open in case your pet reacts negatively. Again, speak to your vet about your move and your cat's needs.
If you're flying your cats, check out the article Flying Your Pets to their New Home.
On moving day make sure you keep your cat confined to one room, a room that can be shut off so your cats will be safe from open doors and mover's feet. Keep their toys, blankets and cat beds in the room with them for comfort.