Moving to A New Home Is Stressful for You and Your Pets!
16 March, 2015
Moving to a new home can be one of the most stressful life events you’ll ever have to encounter. However, in all the chaos and things to do including hauling boxes, packing tape and organizing moving trucks, you might not realize how stressed your pets feel, too. They may feel unsure about their new environment, which can lead to behavior issues that were not a problem in the past.
Cats, especially, aren’t big fans of change. You can help your cats and frightened dogs adjust to the moving process by bringing in moving boxes early and by keeping your furry friends in a familiar room that you will pack up last. On moving day, keep your pets in a quiet room with the door shut or at a friend’s house. This will ensure that your cat or dog won’t get scared and try to make a quick getaway while the movers load up the truck.
There are many ways to make the transition as safe and easy as possible for your furry friends.
During the packing stage, plan ahead for your cat or dog
During the packing stage, the actual move and the transition in your new home, plan for your cat or dog’s safety. Some pets will be upset and scared once the boxes and suitcases take over. They may hide or run away. Set aside a safe place where they can’t get lost or hurt. Make sure your cat or dog has identification and your contact information and that you have copies of veterinarian records. Learn about any structural risks in the home or yard such as a working fence or gate.
Try to settle in by using one room at a time
When you arrive at your new home, it will be tempting to set your dog or cat loose in the house to explore. However, a new and unfamiliar space can be overwhelming to your pets. Start by allowing them to adjust to one room, which should include their favorite toys, treats, water and food bowls, and litter box for cats. When they seem comfortable, gradually introduce them to other rooms in the house, while keeping some doors shut. You can slowly move your cat’s litter box to a different room too.
Bring your cat or dog’s favorite items along with you
You may be tempted to get your cat or dog some new bowls or toys, but this is not a good time to introduce new items. Instead, bring your pet’s favorite bed, crate, toys, food and water dishes, treats and other familiar items. Put them in similar places as they were in your previous home. If you have the familiar bowls and toys, it will help your cat or dog feel in control and more at home.
Maintain your daily routine including walks and feeding times
Keep your routine and schedule for feeding, walks, playtime, cuddling and bedtime. If a dog is used to using a doggy door, set one up in your new place. If your cat is accustomed to outdoor time, arrange for that, even if you have to use a leash initially for safety purposes to keep your kitty from running away. The key is to help your cat or dog feel secure by having the same prior schedule.
You can minimize anxiety by watching your cat or dog to see how they are doing
Think of ways to ease your cat or dog’s transition. Some will feel best being near you no matter what you’re doing. Others will do better in a crate or away from the moving madness. Or perhaps it’s better for your cat or dog to stay at a friend or family member’s home during the actual move; joining you once you’ve unpacked. The more secure they feel, the better they’ll adjust to the change.
Flourish your dog or cat with extra attention
Give your cat or dog the attention he is used to. As stressed as you are about the move, a bit of extra loving will go a long way as they come to feel at home in their new surroundings. Remember that difficult behaviors are a result of their discomfort with the change and a sense of not feeling in control. The more love and affection, the more easily your cat or dog will transition.
Be patient as you all transition together
Allow your pets to take their time sniffing around their new digs. Let them explore and if they decide to hide for a while, that’s OK as long as they know where the doggy door or litter box is. Allow them to come out when they are ready. Their behavior may change for some time and include “accidents” or missing the litter box, barking, pacing or other behavioral issues. They need time to get used to their new home, just as you do, and will pick up on your anxiety as well. So, relax, giver your pets some extra affection and you can all enjoy your new home together.