Besides the obvious changes going on around them, your pets usually know when something big is afoot – especially moving. I am preparing my house to sell and my pets are more than aware that their life is changing. Both dogs and cats may become either more clingy or become more aloof and hide. One cat has decided to select a “new” place to do her business, just to let me know she still has some control.
If you have a cat that starts to relieve itself in inappropriate places, don’t scold – just move the box to that spot for the time being and you won't have to replace your flooring. If you are moving there will be plenty of time to establish a new potty place in your new home. Both dogs and cats will take their cue from you. So if you are super stressed out, they will be too.
Make sure you take time to just sit with them every day and comfort them. Your pets can’t know what you know; they only know things around them are changing and that they have little control. They will be underfoot a lot, so try to keep your temper in check.
Feliway and Comfort Zone, Calming Agents for Cats and Dogs
My veterinarian introduced me to an incredible product, Feliway. Feliway is a behavior modification product that is a synthetic copy of the feline facial pheromone cats use to mark their territory and feel safe and secure.
The product can be used in a number of ways and they also have a diffuser you can plug in. If you are moving, this product is ideal. I went away for a long vacation last year and came home to happy cats, which felt like a small miracle. You can also rub the product on your cat’s fur to help calm them during the move and have a diffuser in your new home so that it feels safe and comfortable for them.
There is a similar product for dogs called Comfort Zone. Comfort Zone also helps to cut down on whining and barking, so if you are moving to a less dog-friendly place, it may help with your relationship with the neighbors and your new landlord.
Both products are fairly inexpensive and also can be purchased as a collar.
First or Last to Move
There are two tactics to moving your dog or cat. One is to keep them in a separate room until you are done moving and move them last. That way, they can go into an environment that feels similar right off the bat.
Otherwise, if you can set up a room for them ahead of time with toys, water, and food in your new home, you can introduce them slowly to your new home. Sometimes cats will hide for awhile. I had a new cat once that disappeared into my basement for three months. We began referring to him as “the alleged cat.” Just keep leaving food and water out for them, they will eventually acclimate.
Secure Your Dogs and Cats
I once had a friend who decided to move a couple of states away and simply put her two cats in the backseat. She thought they would be less stressed this way. In fact, the first time my friend stopped for gas, the cats dove out the door and she never saw them again.
Make sure your dogs and cats are in a crate or pet carrier when you do move them. While it might seem obvious, allowing your pet to be unsecured in your vehicle is a recipe for disaster.
Cris Carl writes about Boston-area roofing and home issues for Networx.