Moving With Pets

Sissy says, "Let's go, Mom!"

Sissy says, "Let's go, Mom!"

Hello Readers,

We're getting ready to do another cross-country trek with our pet family in tow.  If you're also moving with pets, I wanted to share some resources with you that I've found helpful.  Also, a printable checklist.

Pet-Friendly Hotels: 

La Quinta Inn & Suites: La Quinta is the MOST pet-friendly hotel chain we've found.  Unlike almost every other hotel chain out there, they do not (in our experience) charge you a pet fee/room cleaning fee/pet deposit to stay with pets. I've seen hotels that will try to charge up to $250/room to keep pets in there!! Read: not pet-friendly.  La Quinta is especially great for families with cats--as long as you keep them in their crates in the rooms, they're fine with them.  They also have free breakfasts, and a nice discount & rewards program for traveling military families.

Drury Inn & Suites: Perfect if you're just traveling with dogs, they charge a very reasonable $15/day cleaning fee to have up to 2 dogs in the room with you.  Also offer a military rate. Plus they have free hot breakfasts AND a free happy hour which ALL of us need during a stressful move, right??

(Active-Duty Families, varies by duty station) Base Lodging:  Base lodging used to be a really, really affordable deal, but these days the nightly rate in most places we've stayed rivals that of an off-base hotel (minus the free breakfast too).  They typically only allow 2 pets, and will sometimes try to charge a nightly pet rate as well, so call ahead to check on the details.  ALSO OF NOTE: not all Base Lodging is created equal. Some places we've stayed have been gorgeous, clean and immaculate, whereas others have been so old and infested with mold that we literally couldn't sleep in the room due to allergies.  You've been warned...If you're moving on orders you (technically) have priority lodging but remember that during the busy PCS season they may not have room.  If so, check to see if you can get a nifty thing called Temporary Lodging Expense (TLE)--you will need a Statement of Non-Availability from billeting, and then you can get paid to stay up to 10 days (for CONUS moves) in an off-base hotel at your losing base and/or your gaining base.  This is a separate reimbursement from your per diem PCS rate which covers travel days. See the link above for TLE to read more about the difference.


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Printable Checklist for Moving With Pets

__ Current copies of all vet records--at a minimum, make sure your pets are up on rabies, either the 1 or 3-year vaccine

__Leashes, collars & tags with your name & phone numbers on them (Petsmart is an inexpensive place to get these name tags made)

__Recent photos of your pets (taking them on your smartphone is perfect)

__Food and dishes for the road  

__Dog beds and crates

__Cat crates and/or carriers (I love this tip from another military family, via Amazon, for how to comfortably transport your cat family cross-country!!) 

__Litter boxes, scoops, & litter for your cats (I like to use disposable ones from Kitty's WonderBox)

__Poo pick-up bags for the dogs

__Plastic sheeting/tarps to protect the upholstery of your car  

__I like this dog hammock from Nac & Zac and these doggie seat-belt buckles to keep the dogs secure during trips in the car!

__Treats/catnip/rawhide bones/chew toys  

__ Thundershirts can be a great help to soothe anxious (read: constantly barking) dogs!  Tried them on my cat Tricks once, it was NOT a success.

__Hotel reservations at pet-friendly hotels along your route (if you have multiple pets like we do, it's best to confirm the number of pets you're traveling with directly with the hotel manager.)  

__Boarding reservations at BOTH ends of your move, as-needed.  Make sure your pets are up-to-date on the shots required by the boarding facility, and have your local vet fax their medical records over in advance.  Try to get any shots they need ahead of time, so they're not being vaccinated while they're already stressed out by the move!


Good luck & thanks for reading,




Finding New Homes for Outdoor Cats When You Move

I'm good-looking AND talented!

I'm good-looking AND talented!

Hello Readers,

Around here, we've started a list of several new four-letter swear words, worthy of a contribution to our family Swear Jar.  

Are you ready for this?  

1. Move  

2. Pack  

3. Load  

Yes, it is summer and this is when the military moves us (again, for the 12th time...)

We're simultaneously dealing with a small crisis over what to do with our sweet outdoor kitty. We've been working on this issue for months and only just realized it was turning into a mini-crisis and that we needed to figure out something, STAT.  With restrictive Homeowner's Association rules at our next base, we're unable to keep taking care of him in the great outdoors. Boo, hiss. 

If you're finding yourself in the same boat, I have the website(s) for you!  

Check out BARNCATS Incorporated and their sister blog, BarnCatsLewisville.  Now this blog, which is run by a gal named Peg, is one of the funniest blogs I've run across in a long time. If you're at all involved in animal rescue, you will absolutely get Peg's rants ("I hate people!") Both sites have a lot of good information on how to find your outdoor kitty a good new home if you cannot take him/her with you when you move. There's also a comprehensive state-by-state listing of barn cat programs near you!  I was glad we found this site because I had no idea it took 2-4 weeks of confinement in a dog crate in a secure environment, like a barn, to get kitties acclimated to their new surroundings...otherwise they'll get scared and run away. I think this website saved our sweet boy's life, I would have done it all wrong due to lack of know-how!

At the time of this writing, no less than THREE of the cats who dine in style in my kitchen are the victims (most likely) of moves, when their people had to relocate and decided that it was OK to leave their poor cats behind in the neighborhood to fend for themselves..."Oh, they'll catch mice," I can imagine them saying.

No, they won't.  They will starve, get run over by a car, or get trapped by an uncaring neighbor and hauled off to the pound to be summarily executed. If they're super-lucky, a caring neighbor (*ahem*) will feed them and adopt them, or find a loving home for them elsewhere.

If you're moving and having a cat crisis like ours, know that you're in my prayers and that I am right there wringing my hands alongside you.  There WILL be a wonderful new home for your cat, and there are TONS of great resources and friendly, helpful people to help you out in a pinch.  


Good luck & thanks for reading,