Moving home is stressful for everyone involved – your pets included! Sure, they may not have to deal with the logistics and finances of the move but at least you have some idea of what is going on. Your fur family is going to be very confused leading up to the big move, and even more overwhelmed once you’ve actually moved in. Animals are creatures of habit, and disrupting their usual routines and patterns can cause them stress.
Small animals, such as hamsters or fish, may not feel the stress so much. They are contained in their own little home within your home. For all they know, you’ve just moved them to the room next door. More independent pets, that are used to roaming around your house, do not have this comfort during your big move.
This is why you should always try to incorporate as many of their favorite items or areas into your new home as soon as possible, so that their favorite rug, cushion, or toy is available immediately for them to seek comfort from.
Cats especially find it difficult to adapt to new environments, the creatures of habit that they are. Not so much if they’re more of an indoor cat who won’t be craving the outdoors at every available opportunity, but if your cat is accustomed to roaming around their outdoor territory then you absolutely cannot let them outside for the first few weeks. They won’t immediately view the new house as their home and will be yearning to return to the home that they know and love. Many cats go missing each year due to relocation. The way to prevent this is to keep your cat in and let them become more familiar with their new surroundings until they start to treat the new house as their own territory again. For some cats, this may take just a couple of weeks, with others it may take up to two months.
Once you’ve collected your new keys from your estate agents, it’s all going to be go go go. Moving house can be chaotic. With everything everywhere, packing and unpacking (especially with kids) can be a nightmare. With everything up in the air, it might be easier for both you and your pet if they weren’t around when everything is being moved. It might be handy to keep your pet locked in an empty room with just a few comfort things (as well as food, drink, and their litter box if you have a cat), and tell any professional removers to pack that room last. If you’ve used a kennel or a cattery before, it may be easier for them to spend a couple of days there while you move everything. If you have a family member who is familiar to your pet, then you could even ask if they would mind pet sitting for a couple of days until the house is ready.
However, this isn’t so easy for longer distance, or even cross-country moves. It may not be possible to simply leave your pet at temporary accommodation if you’re going to be moving several hours away. In this case, your pet will most likely be accompanying you and you will need a suitable pet carrier that allows your pet enough room. For very long distances, there are even pet movers who can ensure that your pet is well looked after during the long distance move, building a custom crate by taking the dimensions of your pet and weighing your pet on an animal scale, so that they can build the perfect carrier for your pet. They can help with all vaccinations and sorting out pet passports.
If your pet is accompanying you on the road, then make sure that the car doesn’t get too hot or they may get agitated during the trip. For dogs, if you can afford the time, it would be recommended to make a couple of quick stops to allow your dog to get out for a short walk and to stretch their legs.
Good luck with your move, and don’t forget to change the contact details on any microchips!