Interview: Tips About Moving with Cats

Laura McHolm, co-founder of NorthStar Moving

There's a lot of planning that goes into a move, and tips about moving with your cat can help make the process a little easier. In this exclusive interview, find out how to reduce your pet's stress and help him feel more comfortable in his new surroundings.

About Northstar Moving and Laura McHolm

A graduate of the University of California at Berkeley, Laura McHolm is the co-founder of NorthStar Moving Services in California. Laura wanted to break free of the dim view consumers held about the moving industry, bringing graceful customer care to the business, and moving service back into what should have always been the ultimate service industry: the moving industry. NorthStar was founded in 1994, but it has grown to include luxury pet care services and has an impressive list of celebrity clientele.

If you want advice about moving with your cat, Laura McHolm is the person with the answers.

Exclusive Interview: Tips About Moving With Cats

LTK: When did you first realize there was a true need for a moving company that also considered the needs of the family's pets?

LM: Moving is more than schlepping boxes from the old home to the new home; it's moving an entire family, and family includes, of course, our furry friends. I wanted to provide our clients with total peace of mind in all the aspects of their move. There is so much going on during a move that we can often forget about the transition for our animal companions and the confusion and fear our feline friends might experience during a move. By offering high-end cat care as part of NorthStar Moving's extensive list of luxury services, we can help ease the stress for both pets and the human family during a move.

LTK: You also have partnered with California Cat Center. How do the two services work together?

LM: We are proud to partner with the California Cat Center as one of the luxurious optional services we offer. Their accommodations are designed exclusively for the cat accustomed to the finer things in life. The center have some really great luxury offerings such as "cat suites" featuring flat screen TVs and live bird watching. At the center, cats have access to in-home veterinary care, cat grooming, prescription veterinary diets and boutique retail shopping. Cat owners can rest easy because the center employs experienced care givers priding themselves in personalized services that honor and respect cats as part of the family.

Help Your Cat Avoid Packing Chaos

A cat relaxes at the California Cat Center.

LTK: Cats are known to be creatures of habit. Is there anything owners can do to minimize the trauma of a move on their felines?

LM: Absolutely! The most important thing a cat owner can do for their furry friend during a move is to remove him or her from the entire process. With movers shuffling boxes and furniture, cats feel their territory is being torn apart. Many a cat has made a run for it on moving day, leaving the rest of the family searching high and low to make sure it doesn't get left behind. Make sure your cat is unable to dash off during the week or two before and after your move. Hey, they know what your suitcases mean, don't they? So imagine their reaction to all those boxes and strangers in the house. By removing your feline from the hectic situation and temporarily boarding it at a secure and comfortable like the California Cat Center, you are preventing fear and confusion and providing peace and relaxation.

Tips to Help Kitty Settle Into a New Home

LTK: What about once the family is finally moved and settled. Any tips for helping cats feel more secure in the new location?

LM: Cats do develop strong bonds with their homes, so the move in is definitely stressful for them.

  • Use the same feeding bowls, cat box, scratching tree and cat toys in your new home so the cat recognizes those items.
  • If your old feeding bowls, etc. don't go with your new home and kitchen's new décor, put off replacing them for a month or two until you are sure that the cat has made your new home his new home.
  • For indoor-outdoor cats, we also recommend that you do not let the cat outdoors for at least a week or two after you move your cat to your new home. This gives the cat time to learn where its water bowl and favorite sunny spots are.

You know your cat best. Watch him to see when he has gotten back to being his own happy self, and then give him a couple of more days before you let him out to venture the wonders of your new backyard and meet the cat pals and bullies of your new neighborhood. You want your outdoor cat at his best before he tackles the new busy streets in your neighborhood.

Another tip is to spread your cat's scent throughout the house by using a soft cloth to collect your cat's scent from the scent glands in his cheeks and head, and rub the cloth on furniture and doorways. This will help your cat become familiar with his territory. It sounds silly, but it really works!

Celebrity Cats

LTK: You have some celebrity clientele. Are you able to share who any of them are?

LM: Our client lists reads like a dream come true for a Hollywood agent. We have moved celebrities like Angelina Jolie and Eva Longoria to name a couple. We move celebrities on a monthly basis, but for the most part we tend not to list them for the sake of their privacy. We take their privacy very seriously; in fact, we've even deployed decoy trucks to ward off the paparazzi, worked with high end body guards and our crews have turned down bribes from tabloids. However, we can say that we definitely do move some cat owning celebrities!

Final Words

Moving a household is not just packing and unpacking boxes. The transition can be emotionally exhausting for people and pets alike, beginning with selling your home and ending with hanging the last curtain. Taking measures like the ones suggested by Laura McHolm can help get everyone through that move a little easier.


LoveToKnow would like to thank Laura McHolm for offering these tips about moving with cats. For more information, please visit NorthStar Moving Website or call (800) Ask-Pros (275-7767).

Interview: Tips About Moving with Cats