Moving home with pets
If you have pets, there are a number of things to consider before moving, depending on the type of animal. Cats are very sensitive creatures that do not enjoy leaving their familiar surroundings. We have put together some tips for making your four-legged companion feel perfectly at home in your new place in no time.
What to be aware of before moving with pets
First things first: if you will be renting a new place, you must inform your landlord that you have a pet. Keeping cats or dogs usually requires the landlord’s permission.
Ideally, your new home will have a similar set-up to your old place. Does your cat like going outdoors? In that case, it’s probably accustomed to coming in and out of a cat flap whenever it likes. It will find the move much easier if that stays the same. If you were living in a house with a garden before and your cat or dog was used to going out, then having a similar outdoor space when you move would be ideal.
Whether you are going to a new apartment or house, if you are moving any distance, you should look for a new vet and perhaps register with them straight away. Obtain any previous documentation from your former vet, including records of any treatment, so that you can pass these on to your new vet.
Use a pet carrier to transport your cat or dog. Do a few practice drives in the days leading up to your move to prepare your pet for the journey to their new home.
If you have a dog, you may find it helpful to go on regular walks in your new area in the weeks before the move. Dogs are relatively straightforward and tend to feel comfortable wherever their owners are, but it will still help to get them used to their new neighbourhood.
Our tip: Animals, especially cats, are very sensitive creatures and can sense stress, upheaval and change. To stop them feeling anxious, try to be well organised, radiate calm and avoid getting stressed yourself. This will give your cat or dog the feeling of security they need.
Moving day: helping your cat to make itself at home
Dogs and small pets generally cope very well in new surroundings, but cats can find it difficult to settle in to a new environment. This is bound to happen whether you take your cat along with you when you move or leave it with a trusted person and pick it up after the worst of the chaos is behind you.
Follow our tips to help your cat make itself at home shortly after you move.
- Familiar things: Your new home represents a major change for your cat. So you should keep your usual equipment and hold off on buying anything new. Your cat’s toys, feeding bowls and litter tray should all remain the same.
- A similar layout: If you are keeping the same furniture and the design of your new place allows it, arrange your furniture in roughly the same layout as before to help your cat to feel at home.
- Space for settling in: Set out a specific room within your new home for your cat to get used to the property. You can start by unpacking all its familiar things, and only then get the cat out of its carrier. Now give your cat some time to look around the new room, play with its things and get settled in. Close the windows so that it cannot jump out if it gets nervous.
- Company: Be sure not to leave your cat completely alone. Over the first few days, it will help if you have a person your cat knows and trusts staying with you, as this will signal that everything is fine and that they are safe.
- Keep outdoor cats indoors for now: As a general rule of thumb, outdoor cats should remain indoors for about four weeks after moving so that they get used to their new environment. You know your cat best, so you will no doubt have a sense of how quickly after the move it can be let out and start finding its way around. However, be sure not to overwhelm it. If in doubt, keep it inside for a bit longer to be on the safe side.
Tips for moving with dogs and small animals
Dogs and small animals are not quite as sensitive as cats, but you should still make moving as stress-free as possible for them. Here are our tips for moving with dogs and small pets:
- Dogs: If you walk your dog around your new area before your move, it will already know the neighbourhood a little. This is always a good idea, so keep it up. Make sure that your dog has a cosy place to rest in your new home. Having its bed, blanket and favourite toys will help it feel at home quickly after the move.
Don’t forget to register your dog at your new address straight away and deregister from the old one. You must do this for the dog licence fee.
- Rodents: It’s best to transport hamsters, guinea pigs and other rodents in a dark carrier. A specially designed pet carrier is ideal, or you can simply wrap your pet in a towel or drape a dark cover over its cage.
- Birds: Birds are also less stressed if you transport them in darkness. Like cats, they take a little time to get used to their new home. It’s best to keep your bird in its cage for the first few days after the move, so that it can get its bearings.
- Fish: If you plan to transport your fish in a bag or small tank, use the water from the old aquarium rather than fresh water. This will make them more comfortable and less likely to get stressed.