Moving house is incredibly stressful, even when you are looking forward to the benefits of your new home. But imagine what it would be like if you didn’t understand what was going on and suddenly found yourself in a place that you didn’t recognise. That is how your pets are going to feel when you take them to the new house.
Unfortunately, it isn’t possible to keep your pets informed of developments with your house move! They won’t be aware that they are about to be taken away from everything that they know. But they will probably have detected your stress and will have seen unusual activity in the house like the appearance of a pile of cardboard boxes! They will be thinking that something is about to happen and so they are liable to be feeling uncomfortable. It is crucial to maintain their routines as far as is possible during the build up to the move.
It is best to board your pets somewhere whilst you are actually moving as this will shield them from all the comings and goings including the presence of the removal men in the house. This will also prevent the removal crew from tripping over your animals as they work and you will know where your pets are. Cats and some dogs may choose to do a runner when the removal van arrives and the familiar furniture starts disappearing into the lorry.
Preparing the New House
Don’t collect your pets and take them to the new house until you have arranged your furniture and unpacked most of your possessions. There is no point saving your pet from the chaos of moving out only to expose them to the chaos of moving in!
When you pick up your pets from wherever they have been staying and take them to your new home, they will feel confused and vulnerable. It is best to prepare a room for them in advance so they have their own space and a small area to get to know first. This should be filled with familiar and comforting objects such as the pet’s bed, favourite blanket and toys. Dogs will need to be walked but cats should be confined to this room for a day or so to enable them to settle down.
Once your pets have had time to acclimatise to the one room, start introducing them to the rest of the house. Let them explore in their own time and try to be relaxed yourself as the animals will pick up on your stress.
Cats should be kept indoors for a couple of weeks, if at all possible, to help them to acclimatise to their new surroundings and to reinforce the fact that this new and strange place is now home! If they see you behaving normally and following familiar routines, animals will feel more comfortable with the situation.
When you first allow your pets venture outside, choose a quiet time when there are no visitors to your home. Let them out before feeding them so you can tempt them back in with food. Allow them a few minutes to explore and then call them back in for a tasty treat. Over a period of a few days, increase the length of time that they are permitted to remain outside.
Don’t try to force the issue with your pets. Let them explore at their own pace and always give them access to objects which have a familiar scent.