My fiancé and I are planning a cross-country move for the first week in May. We're planning to book a moving company for our stuff, fly ourselves, and ... somehow get our three cats there. The logistics of arranging all these things is just baffling to me.
My current assumptions are that we'll fly out the same day our lease starts and just make sure we have an early enough flight to get there before the office closes. We'll have the movers load all our stuff the day before that, and then we'll presumably be without stuff for the first week we're there. My biggest concern is the logistics of getting the cats there.
I've looked at a few options for transporting the cats. Two
are young (3
) and healthy, one is old (17
) but healthy for her age. The first option we're looking at is having them flow out as cargo. Some cursory research shows that cargo (vs. checked luggage) is pressurized and temperature controlled, so would probably be less bad than flying them as checked luggage, which I understand is pretty horrible. I'm looking at Delta for this, currently, since we're flying out of a Delta hub. If we went this route, we could also potentially carry the older cat on the plane and just put the younger two in cargo. The other option we're looking at is hiring a pet transport company that would drive them cross-country in cages in a van. I'm not sure how much this would cost, and whether it would be more or less stressful for them, overall. It would certainly be stressful for longer. Before going with any of these transport options, we will of course have our vet check out the cats and make sure it seems Ok. The vet seemed initially encouraging about flying them as cargo, which is why it's on the list as an option.
So, I'm looking for advice specifically about transporting cats cross-country without driving them ourselves. Any suggestions I haven't thought of, or information about the options I'm considering would be welcome.
I'm also looking for any other advice about scheduling a cross-country move like this. I've never done it before, and am quite intimidated. Does the movers/flight schedule sound reasonable? Is there a better way to arrange that? What else am I not thinking of?