Moving house with your pets?
Moving from one home to another is one of life’s most stressful experiences and knowing that both dogs and cats may try to return to their original home following a move, it is important to make sure that they are at ease.
Just like a blind person, will have their other senses heightened so that they are capable of living with their disability, so do animals sense that something is going to happen. They sense your stress.
When it comes to cats moving homes you basically have to revert back to the same way you introduced your cat to your family and home when you first brought kitty home. Taking the time to make the move stress free for kitty will reduce or eliminate fear-based house soiling, excessive meowing and crying, hiding, escape attempts and aggression.
- Allow your cat time to get used to his carrier. Every cat is different and can go ballistic if you suddenly put your cat in a carrier that kitty isn’t used to.
Leave it sitting out with the door open and a comfy bed inside. Occasionally leave a couple of cat treats or cat nip in it so your cat can find them on his own and have “happy hormones” activated when in the carrier.
Start feeding your cat in the carrier. If your cat is reluctant to enter the carrier to eat, start by just placing his dish next to it. After a few days, put the dish just inside the carrier, right near the opening. Then, over a week or two, gradually move the dish toward the back of the carrier so your cat has to step a little further inside each day. Eventually, place the dish at the very back of the carrier to your cat must go all the way into it to eat.
- Try to keep your cat’s daily routine as stable as possible. Stick closely to his regular schedule for feeding, play and attention.
- For cats who go outside to do their business, start getting them used to a litter tray again. Kitty will need to use a litter tray in your new home for a minimum of two weeks.
- If your cat is very skittish, nervous or easily stressed, speak to your vet about using anti-anxiety medication to make the moving process easier on him. There are natural options to keeping kitty calm too. The important point here is speaking to your vet!
Packing and moving time
- When it is time to move out of the old home make sure that you lock your cat in a secure room or cat carrier before the removal company arrives. Cats do not like change or disruption to their household and will often become uneasy when packing commences and may leave home rather than be in the midst of all the confusion.
It is best to lock kitty securely in one room prior to packing to prevent this.
Place a sign on the door asking the movers to keep the door shut.
All cats love boxes, so it will also ensure your cat doesn’t climb into a packing box, crate or even shipping container for a sleep and get sent off with the household goods!
Transporting your cat
- Transport your cat to your new home in a secure cat carrier. Cats can become frightened by a car journey and may attempt to escape. Never open the carrier while en route to your new home, even if you want to soothe your unsure kitty.
Releasing your cat
- When you arrive at your new address do not release your cat until the removal company, helpers and visitors have left and your new home is quiet. In fact keep kitty in his carrier in a secure room. Preferably one that you won’t be using immediately for unpacking, so it can be dedicated to kitty.
This will become kitty’s room until things settle down. Also place kitty’s litter tray, food and water bowls, toys and a sleeping bed or basket here.
- Before opening the carrier, check that all doors and windows in the house are closed. If you have an open fireplace screen the chimney as frightened cats have been known to hide in a chimney.
- When the time is right, restrict your cat to one room and sit quietly with kitty. Your cat will explore every corner of the room and rub itself around the furniture to mark kitty scent and claim it as kitty territory.
- More skitty kitties will even hide in a cupboard for weeks after moving, only leaving their new found safety spot for food, water or to use the litter tray. It is their way of coping so leave kitty to hide or do what ever is comforting. You certainly don’t want to add to their stress.
- If your cat is an outside cat, let him/her outside for short periods and stay with them. *this is after keeping them indoors for a minimum of two weeks*
Do this for a few weeks until you are confident that they have a feeling of attachment to their new home. Cats are very territorial and kitty will need to claim your new backyard as kitty territory.
If you have ever thought of keeping your cat indoors, now is a good time to do so. Indoor cats generally live healthier and longer lives because they are less exposed to diseases from the cat community, such as FIV (Cat AIDs).
Dogs can sometimes be more difficult to settle into new routines, particularly those that have the run of the house or are used to more space. Just like kitties, dogs too can end up with behavioural issues if they are too stressed during a move.
- Taking your dog for walks around your new area, will give doggy both the mental and physical stimulation they need as well as familiarise them with their new surroundings. If possible do this prior to moving so doggy is already accustomed to his new neighbourhood.
- Make sure your new home is safe. Check any boundary fencing and walls to make sure that it is secure, of sufficient height and “escape free” before letting your dog run free in the garden. If your dog is able to escape then take him out on a lead until you are able to do the necessary improvements.
- Walk your dog at least once daily, especially in the mornings before doggie is left alone. This will help reduce any excess energy that doggie may have. Don’t give doggie more or less attention than he is used to having from you; this may cause him to become anxious or over dependent on you and lead to behaviour problems.
- Dogs that are anxious can be kept in a quiet room like kitties. Although leaving your dog with a friend or family member on moving day could be even more beneficial or even booking doggy into kennels for the night. This would have to be confirmed some time prior to moving.
Packing and Moving time:
- Owners are often tempted to replace the dog or cat’s bed when they move into a new home. If you can resist the temptation, provide them with a bed, toys, food and water bowl they are familiar with. Also don’t wash doggies blanket or bedding for the first few days after moving. Having the familiar smells will be comforting to them.
- Stick to your dog’s routine, even on moving day. This means sticking to the same feeding times, walks, and other things your dog is accustomed to.
- If practical, take your dog on a long walk on moving day. This will stimulate your dog and tire him out so that he’s more relaxed around the movers.
- If moving means a long car trip, you’ll need to make regular stops. Take a dog for a short walk on a lead. Make sure pets have familiar items and favourite toys for the trip, something comforting that will help reduce confusion and stress.
- Be patient with your dog in the new home and make allowances for “accidents” on the carpet if they should happen. Don’t make a fuss, punish your dog or draw his attention to them as this may make the problem worse. Quietly pick up their mess and clean the area. Once your dog has settled in they should stop. Always praise him when he goes to toilet in the correct place (i.e. outside or on newspaper) so that he knows where to go.
Last important info:
Before you let any of your pets into a new environment, do a simple check for the following:-
- Poisons – check your garden and shelves for anything left at ‘nose’ level. Also check the garden beds for any rat or snail poison left in the yard by previous owners. It is worth your while to ensure you don’t have any poisonous plants growing in your new garden prior to releasing any pets.
- Fencing – do a backyard check to make sure you have no escape holes.
- Remove chewable objects – to prevent obstruction injuries (injuries that could choke or damage your pet’s gastrointestinal system) remove suspect items from your yard. Bin any old bones, small balls and anything your pet maybe attracted to. See String – A danger to cats
- Identification – Ensure your pet is wearing a collar, and has an identification tag with your new phone number. If your pet is microchipped, contact the relevant microchip registry to change your contact details. Also read Helpful info for owners of lost or stolen pets for further preventative measures and in the unfortunate event that your pet does go missing.
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Posted on September 17, 2012, in Animal Welfare, Di's Articles, Doggy Style, For Cat Lovers and tagged boxes, carrier, cat, catnip, crate, dog, lead, leash, movers, moving, property. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.