So you are moving house and concerned about settling your pets into a new environment? Here’s some real handy tips on making the transition less stressful and as safe as possible for your pet.
Cat owners are often concerned to find the best way to settle their furry friend into a new home. Cats form definite attachments to their home and often try to return to their old home, but a few precautions can ensure that your cat will accept their new home without running away.
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 dislike change or disruption to their household and will often become anxious when packing commences and may leave home rather than be in the midst of all the disorder. To prevent this it is best to lock your cat securely in a safe room while packing. It will also safeguard your cat from climbing into a packing box or crate for a sleep and get sent off with your household goods!
Transporting your cat
Cats can become frightened by a car journey and may attempt to escape. Transporting your cat in a secure cat carrier to your new residence can prevent this.
Releasing your cat at your new home
Upon arrival at your new address do not release your cat until all furniture removers, helpers and visitors have left and your new home is more peaceful. Before releasing your cat, also check that all doors and windows are closed. If you have an open fireplace close the chimney as scared cats have been known to hide in a chimney.
Choose a safe room which you can dedicate to your cat for a few days until things settle down. Place their litter tray, food and water bowls and a sleeping bed or basket here to make them feel more at home. When the time is right, limit your cat to one room and sit quietly with him/her allowing time to explore every corner of the room and rub itself around the furniture to mark his/her scent and claim it as his/her territory.
If your cat is used to living outside, let him/her outside for short periods and stay with them. Repeat this for a few weeks until you are positive that they have a feeling of attachment to their new home. Cats are very territorial and it may happen that a neighbours’ cat has already claimed your new backyard as its territory. Your cat will have to claim this territory as its own so some hissing and posturing may occur, but generally they work things out for themselves. If you have ever considered rather keeping your cat indoors, now is a good time to do so. Indoor cats generally are healthier and live longer, because they are less exposed to diseases from the cat community, such as FIV (Cat AIDS). If space permits, another option which can be considered for outside cats is a cat enclosure.
Dogs can be more difficult to settle into new routines, particularly those that have the run of the house or are used to having more space. Taking your dog for walks around your new area, will give him/her both the mental and physical stimulation they need as well as familiarise them with their new surrounds. Walk your dog at least once per day, especially in the mornings before they are left by themselves. This will help decrease any excess energy that they have.
Avoid making a fuss of your dog when you arrive and leave home. Your dog may interpret this incorrectly, and begin to worry unnecessarily. You do not want him/her to wait all day for an exciting event (ie. your arrival). If you get home and nothing exciting happens, your dog will start to think it is not the best part of his day and will stop pining for that moment of extra attention.
Pet owners are often tempted to replace the dog or cat’s bed when they move into a new home. It is better to provide them with a bed, toys, food and water bowl they are familiar with.
Barking, digging and more
Most dogs only dig, bark or develop destructive behaviours when they are bored. Keeping your dog busy can prevent this.
Make sure your new home is safe
Before you let your pet into a new environment, do a simple check for the following:
Poisons – check your garden, shed and shelves for anything left at ‘nose’ level. Also check the garden beds for any snail or rat poison left in the yard by the previous owner.
Fencing – do a backyard check to make sure there are 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. Discard any old bones, small balls and anything your pet maybe tempted to chew and swallow.
Identification – Ensure your pet is wearing a collar, and has an identification tag with your new address and phone number. If your pet is micro chipped, contact the relevant microchip registry to change your contact details.
And remember, patience, patience, patience… and you and your pet will enjoy your new home together in no time.