Moving house can be stressful for humans, but it’s essential that you don’t overlook the impact it might have on your pets.
Remember, many pets are territorial, while others may feel extremely insecure in unfamiliar surroundings, especially if they are left alone in the property in the daytime.
It’s important to prepare for their comfort during the move, and for them to settle in quickly once they arrive at their new home – we’ve all seen the newspaper headlines about cats turning up back at the old family home a hundred miles away.
Cats can be booked into a cattery or pet hotel for a few days around moving time if you want them in a safe place, or alternatively keep them in a closed room until you’re about to leave – you don’t want them wandering off into the neighbourhood when the van’s almost fully loaded.
Don’t feed them too close to departure time, and don’t let them straight out of their basket into an empty, strange house.
Just like humans with a familiar soft toy or comfort blanket, it will help if you can quickly fit out one room with toys, bedding and scratching posts that let your cat know this is still ‘home’, even though it’s a different location.
You may want to go so far as to artificially introduce your cat’s scent into the new property, by gently stroking their face with a cloth, and then rubbing this on the walls and furniture at your kitty’s head height, as this will help them to feel more territorial about the new home.
Again, dogs can be placed in kennels around move time, so their routine is not disrupted too much leading to higher stress levels.
And again, keep the dog where you know where it is, and don’t feed it too close to moving time, to avoid travel sickness.
While cats benefit from a few days indoors after a move, dogs typically prefer to experience the new outdoor surroundings too, so take yours for a walk to explore.
In either case, make sure your pets are microchipped and collared with contact details, and warn the new occupants of your old home to be on the lookout for them finding their way back, especially if you’ve only moved a few streets away.