If moving house is a stressful experience for humans, think what it’s like for your pets! At least you know what’s happening and why – from their point-of-view, their world is suddenly in upheaval and they’re being wrenched out of the familiar surroundings they’re comfortable with. They have no idea that in a few weeks time, they’ll have got used to their new way of life and probably have forgotten the current upset.
And this kind of anxiety won’t be restricted to cats and dogs – even caged animals will be upset by all the noise and activity. The best way of lessening the stress for all your pets is to ask someone else to look after them whilst the move is underway, and only introduce them to your new home when you’ve got everything ordered again.
If this isn’t a possibility and you’ll have to have them with you during the move itself, then there are a few things you can do to lessen help them through the process.
Make sure the first room you empty is one you can put your pets in and close the door in order keep them out of the way whilst the rest of the move takes place. Keep reassuring them, and if you have someone who can sit with them for a while, so much the better.
Open the window a crack to give them air, but don’t open it wide enough for them to escape! Give them plenty of water to drink and their bedding and toys which will smell reassuring to them. If you have old clothes with your smell on them to use as extra bedding, that could help too. And make sure there’s a litter tray.
And, obviously, make sure everyone knows your pets are in that room – your family as well as the removal men – so no-one accidentally opens the door enabling your pets to make a run for it.
Cats are creatures of habit and will be particularly upset by your move, so you need to be especially careful with them. When they’re frightened, they’re very likely to try and bolt. If they run too far away from familiar territory – even if it’s over a garden fence they don’t normally go past – they may not be able to find their way back again.
If you don’t have your cat micro-chipped, do so just in case. And make sure you have an identification tag on its collar with your current phone number/s so if it does get lost, the people who find it will know who to ring.
Cats are notorious for hating going in their carriers, so it might help if you bring it out a few days in advance to get them used to it. Maybe put a few treats in it from time to time too.
Once you’ve moved your cats to their new home, keep them in a quiet room with food, familiar bedding, toys, a scratching post and litter tray so they can begin acclimatising to their new situation. Cats usually take time to get used to new situations and will want to find a place where they can hide away and feel secure for a while before they start exploring.
Keep them indoors for two or three weeks until they get used to what is now their new home. Gradually introduce them to the garden – it may be a good idea to put them on a cat collar and lead and take them for walks around their new territory so if they get scared and bolt, they won’t get far.
And make sure you have an up-to-date photo of them in case they do run away so you’ve got something recent to show the neighbours. If you do lose your cat, start by asking the people whose gardens back on to yours as the likelihood is that it won’t have gone far.
The nature of a dog means it will probably be calmer about your house move than its feline counterpart, but there are still a lot of things you can do to lessen the stress. The Kennel Club has published a useful fact sheet with lots of useful advice to help your dog adapt to its new situation.
If your pets are prone to travel sickness or severe anxiety in the car – especially if you’re moving a long way away – ask your vet for advice about medication.
At Anglo Removals, we have moved many households with their pets and will be happy to share our experience and advice. If you are moving house, click here to obtain a removals quote, or phone us for specialist advice on 0333 355 6942.
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