HOW TO KEEP YOUR FURRY FRIENDS SAFE, COMFORTABLE, AND OUT OF THE WAY
Like kids, pets thrive on stability and routine. That’s part of their charm: they’re the reliable part of your life, the comfort factor, waiting patiently at home for you to come back from whatever place has stolen you away.
So when it comes time to moving with pets, it’s important to consider their emotional wellbeing in addition to their physical wellbeing throughout the moving process. Forcing the change on your pets too abruptly can unnecessarily prolong their adjustment period, impact their health, and sometimes even send them running for the hills in a desperate attempt to make their way back to the old house.
It pays to put extra effort into caring for your pets while packing up and moving into your new space.
They may not be thrilled with the situation, but there are ways to lessen the impact of your move on their nervous systems. Here are some ideas that will reduce stress on your animals, and in turn lessen the potential pee stains on your new floors, or trips to the vet.
Animals can’t always communicate their feelings clearly, but they definitely understand when something’s not right in their world. The minute you start packing up all of your things, they’ll get the clue that their environment isn’t the same safe place anymore.
They’ll figure it out at some point or another, but the longer you can keep them blissfully ignorant, the shorter their suffering.
Keep them secluded and sheltered from the chaos in a room that you can save for the end, filled with all their familiar favorites. Not only will this limit their exposure to the situation for as long as possible, it’ll also help you by keeping them out of harm’s way in the midst of stacked-up boxes, shuffling feet, and wide open doors as you flit about. Pay them plenty of visits over the weeks and days of your move, and try not to feel bad—they’re safer (and happier) shut in than on the loose.
CONSIDER A KENNEL
At first this may sound gut wrenching to spend time away from your beloved pets, but if you have a good relationship with a local kennel, you may consider giving your dog a puppy staycation. Let them go romp around with friends for a few days while the actual moving takes places.
For your cats, if you have a trusted pet sitter or relative, considering asking them to house your fur babies for a few days. Having a full moving crew of strangers can cause unnecessary stress and anxiety. Instead, let them bask in the cuddles of their Great Aunt Mildred.
Just like you want to safeguard your pets in your first home for as long as possible, you also need to give them a safe space in your new home as soon as possible. Think about working in reverse from how you moved out. Start slow with one room where you can unload the same toys, items, and furniture that they remember from their last days in the old room.
Those recognizable scents and sights offer them enough of a reminder of home to soothe your pets while everything else around them changes. Make sure that room is free from potential dangers like cords, threads, choking hazards, plants, and loose ends dangling out of bags and boxes that they might turn into chew toys to manage their anxiety.
Once your pets seem to settle into the first room, you can think about expanding their horizons. A good way to make the transition is to use those same familiar items to gradually broaden their comfort zone. You can take one of your dog’s favorite toys or your cat’s litter box, for example, into a neighboring area of the house to show them that this next room is just as trustworthy as the last. Keep adding additional rooms until they’re equally comfortable in each.
Remember that many animals tend to communicate stress through their bladders—so take precautions to protect carpets and fabrics until they’re reliably using their litter boxes or comfortable using that new doggie door and finding the bathroom in their new back yard.
As much as you want to remind the furry members of your family that their pain is only temporary, every chaotic moment feels like forever from their perspective. The best way to reassure them, especially when it comes to cats, is to ease out of the old and into the new one small space at a time.