Keeping our four-legged family members happy is an important part of any successful moving day. With attention to a few small details, your pets can be safely and happily moved into your new home.
Good pet care around moving house doesn’t start once you’ve signed on the dotted line. It’s a good idea to consider your cats and dogs as soon as you list your home for selling. Keeping your property open-home ready obviously involves your pets, as you need to ensure is free of animal related mess. If you have a dog, try and make time to give them extra walks and park visits so they’re less inclined to be destructive around the house.
Always make sure your dog is away from the property during open homes as even small, friendly dogs can make some visitors anxious. Having strangers traipse through their territory can also be very stressful for dogs and cats.
When it comes to cats, they’ll most likely have a secret spot they will sidle off to during the rush of open homes. Ensure they have a safe place to hide out and they have plenty of food and water in a discreet place outside. Make sure you call them and try for lots of reassuring cuddles when the open home is finished.
Try and keep pets away from the hustle and bustle of packing, as they do pick up on unsettled vibes and may decide to hide out where you can’t find them until the fuss is over.
Talk to your vet about how is best to calmly transport your pets between your old and new home. Depending on the distance you’re travelling and the age of your pet, they may recommend some sedation to ease the stress.
Once you arrive at your new home, it will be tempting to set your pet free from their cage to explore, but new spaces can be very overwhelming for animals. Set aside a room for your pet that they can stay in as they get used to their new environment. Just keep in mind that if your pets don’t get along, now is not necessarily the time to lock them in a room together! Make sure they have plenty of toys and scratchy poles available to amuse them and ease stress.
Make sure they have somewhere secure to sleep, such as a familiar blanket or cushion in a box or on a familiar chair, as well as plenty of food and water – and, for cats, a litter box. Make sure you visit them often for reassuring cuddles and to make sure they’re eating, drinking and using the litter box, but if they’re reluctant to come out from under that bed, don’t force them. They’ll gradually come around once they get used to their new surroundings.
Take dogs outside for toilet breaks accompanied by you, on a leash if necessary as they get used to the new reality.
Although it might seem a logical thing to do, moving house is also not the time to do a big wash of your pets’ blankets or bedding. The familiar smell of their favourite blanket will be a big sign to them that your new house is their home now.
Make sure your pets are microchipped, even if they are not prone to roaming. If they are already microchipped, ask your vet to update your address and phone number. An unfamiliar area may confuse your cat or your dog may be excited by the new scents and sniff around a little further than they should! A collar with your phone number and address is a must too, but remember to get a quick release collar for cats, should they get caught on anything.
Use your pets behavior as a guide to when they’re ready to explore more further afield. If they still run and hide whenever someone comes into their room, they’re not ready. But if they’re friendly and relaxed, then you can start to expand their access to the rest of the house. With cats you can gradually move their litter box further afield until it’s outside. If it’s possible, locate your pets feeding and sleeping spots in areas similar to your previous home.
As they venture outside for the first time, let them explore at their own place with you nearby. You are who assures them that this is now their home!