The summer months are when more people move. It’s stressful! You know this, your dog knows this, and my goodness your cat knows this too! Moving with pets adds extra challenges but to make the process easier here are some tried, tested and true pet-friendly moving tips:
1. Set up a safe room for your cat: a cat’s home turf is everything to them. When you move a cat to a new home you’ll likely notice some fearful behavior like hiding, being more vocal or more needy than usual. To help her relax, set up a “safe room” during the first few hours, days or even weeks in the new home (this timeframe will depend on how nervous your cat gets). It should be a small, relatively enclosed space with all of their necessary and favourite items…litter box, food, water, bedding and favourite toys. Once the kitty is back to her normal routine, let her explore the rest of the house.
2. Consider taking your pet to a kennel on moving day: you can ask a friend to take your pet for an overnight stay, or have them spend a night at a familiar kennel. Strangers in your home taking your stuff can be confusing and scary to an animal. Not to mention, with the door open all day it’s an easy opportunity for a cat to escape. It will be easier for your pet to adjust once everything is moved and you’re in a calmer state.
3. Unpack your pet’s belongings first: set up your pet’s belongings before unpacking the rest of your house. This lets them to start getting settled in as soon as possible. Make sure there are unwashed items like bedding that smells like the older home. Also, be sure to have some of his absolute favourite treats. This can change the association from “oh, this is too scary” to “oh, this is great! I love it here!”
4. Pet proof your new home: give the yard a thorough inspection. If you have a fence check every inch of it and look for areas where your pet could escape. And stay with your pets the first time they explore the yard.
5. Explore the new neighborhood with your dog: your dog hears much more than you do. Let them become acquainted with new noises. Also, meet your new neighbors so your pet knows who is “allowed” on the block…it will also be helpful if they happen to escape. Your neighbors will know where they belong and to whom.
6. Carry on with your normal routines: this is the best thing you can do to help them adjust to their new surroundings. If you go for a walk at a certain time, no matter how many boxes need to be unpacked, keep that schedule. Don’t assume too that your pet will know when they need to take a potty break. The stress of a new location may cause her to act differently.
7. Update their microchips and tag information: make sure all places associated with your animal are updated with the new address and phone number. This up to date information can help get your pet home quickly if she’s lost in her new neighborhood.