Moving house with your cat

So you are about to move house and concerned about settling your cats into their new environment? Here's some handy tips on making the transition stress free and as safe as possible for your pet.

Cat owners are often concerned about the best way to settle their cat into a new home. Cats form definite attachments to places and often try to return to their old home, but a few precautions can ensure that your cat will accept their new address.

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 removalist arrives. Cats do not like change or disruption to their household and will often become uneasy when packing commences and may leave home rather than be in the midst of all the confusion. It is best to lock your cat securely in one room while packing to prevent this. It will also ensure your cat doesn't climb into a packing box, crate or even shipping container for a sleep and get sent off with the household goods!

Transporting your cat

Transport your cat to your new home in a secure cat carrier. Cats can become frightened by a car journey and may attempt to escape.

Releasing your  cat

When you arrive at your new address do not release your cat until all removalists, helpers and visitors have left and your new home is quiet. Before doing so, also check that all doors and windows are closed. If you have an open fireplace screen the chimney as frightened cats have been known to hide in a chimney.

Choose a room which you can dedicate to your cat for a few days. This will become their room until things settle down. Place their litter tray, food and water bowls and a sleeping bed or basket here. When the time is right, restrict your cat to one room and sit quietly with him/her. Your cat will 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 having trouble, or you know he or she may have trouble settling in, a calming pheromone dispenser may help considerably, please call your local clinic to discuss this.

Outside cats

If your cat is an outside cat, let him/her outside for short periods and stay with them. Do this for a few weeks until you are confident that they have a feeling of attachment to their new home. Cats are very territorial and it may be that a neighbours cat has claimed your new backyard as its territory. Your cat will have to claim this territory as its own so you may experience some hissing and posturing but generally cats will work things out for themselves. If you have ever thought of keeping your cat indoors, now is a good time to do so. Indoor cats generally live healthier and longer lives 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 is a cat enclosure.


Settling your dog into a new home

So you are about to move house and concerned about settling your dogs into their new environment? Here's some handy tips on making the transition stress free and as safe as possible for your pet.

Dogs can sometimes be more difficult to settle into new routines, particularly those that have the run of the house or are used to 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 daily, especially in the mornings before they are left alone. This will help reduce any excess energy that they have.

Avoid making a fuss of your dog when you arrive home and leave home. Your dog may interpret the fuss 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.

Owners are often tempted to replace the dog or cat's bed when they move into a new home. If you can resist the temptation, provide them with a bed, toys, food and water bowl they are familiar with.

Barking, digging and more

Most dogs only bark, dig or develop destructive behaviours when they are bored so keeping your dog busy is the main priority.

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 shed, garden and shelves for anything left at 'nose' level. Also check the garden beds for any rat or snail poison left in the yard by previous owners.
  • Fencing - do a backyard check to make sure you have 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. Disgard any old bones, small balls and anything your pet maybe attracted to.
  • Identification - Ensure your pet is wearing a collar, and has an identification tag with your new phone number. If your pet is microchipped, contact the relevant microchip registry to change your contact details. Finally contact your local council to update your pet's registration details.

If your dog is having trouble, or you know he or she may have trouble settling in, a calming pheromone dispenser may help considerably, please call your local vet to discuss this.

And just remember, patience, patience, patience... and you will enjoy your new home together in no time.