Moving With Your Pets Safely

Heed these expert tips to keep your pets as safe as possible during this important time of transition.

Moving day can be a miserable, hectic blur – one of those times youd really like to be able to just twitch your nose and be done with it. Unfortunately, it just isnt that easy. And cat owners have the added stress of worrying about how their cat(s) will react to the disorder and mayhem. However, there are several precautions that


can be taken to help ensure that your pet will remain safe during the move – and to promote a quick adjustment to his new home.

Take Extra Precautions. Losing your cat on moving day is something to be avoided at all costs. Pets are notorious for sneaking out on moving day; confining the cat to a bedroom or bathroom with a note on the door is a smart, and safe, idea. Make sure that the cat has food, water and litter and is comfortable – and then close the door and put a highly visible note on it, spelling out in no uncertain terms that the door must remain closed. Not only will this reduce the cats anxiety at seeing everything familiar removed from the home, but it will also help ensure that the cat does not dart out an open door. When it comes time to transfer the cat, crate her while shes in the confinement area and double-check the latch before opening the door.

If your cat gets motion sickness or needs something to help him relax while traveling, you should speak to your veterinarian before medicating him. As a safe alternative, a favorite toy, blanket or some article of clothing with your familiar scent on it may help reduce anxiety associated with traveling and moving.

Upon arrival at the new home, it is equally important to choose a room in which to confine the cat while everything is being moved in. Confining the cat at the new home serves a dual purpose. First of all, it helps ensure that she doesnt slip out the door into unfamiliar territory; secondly, it creates a safe-zone in an otherwise unfamiliar home. You can also create a safe-zone by plugging in a Feliway diffuser (a facial pheromone-based diffuser which may help reduce stress) in a certain room and confining the cat to that room with food, water and a litter box for a day or two. This is especially important for timid cats. Generally speaking, most cats simply do not adapt well with change. Expect some cats to cope poorly with a move. It may take weeks for them to get settled, so creating a safe-zone is a good idea.

Make it Safe. Cat-proofing the new home should ideally be done while the cat is in the confinement area; make sure that all screens are secure and that there arent any holes or crevices that he can squeeze into (and get stuck in or escape through). It is also a good idea to be especially vigilant about keeping all outside doors closed for several weeks – at least until things have settled down considerably and you can trust your cat not to make a run for it. The method used to introduce the cat to the rest of the new home should be dependent on the cats personality.

You should gradually introduce timid cats to the new home, whereas bolder cats may be allowed to explore the entire house earlier. It is normal for a cat to hide under the bed or furniture for some time, and to have a decreased appetite as well. However, it is important to try to engage the cat several times a day and also to make sure that the cat is eating something throughout the day. Consult a veterinarian if your cat is too stressed to eat. Medications to increase appetite and decrease stress may ultimately be necessary.

All in all, you should try to take every precaution to keep your kitty safe and happy when moving into your new home. And hopefully it wont be long before your “new home” becomes just “home” for the whole family.