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We all know that moving house is stressful, but it can be just as stressful for your pets too, if you do not plan your move with them in mind. Here are some suggestions to minimize the moving headaches for both you and your pets.


Planning the big move

Most of us will move house at least once or twice in our lifetimes. What can be an exciting new start for humans often is terrifying and disorienting to animals. Some people just toss their animals in the car and go. But if you really want to make the move smooth for your animals and aid their adjustment, communication and preparation are the order of the day.


Your animals will see you box all your belongings and disassemble rooms. As the familiarity goes, insecurity and fear can set in. Will they be going too? To reassure them that they’re part of the deal, make them part of the process. Taking the time to communicate will help ease your pets’ anxiety. And even if you don’t believe in this sort of thing, it doesn’t hurt to go over your plans with your animals anyway to make sure you haven’t forgotten anything.


When planning the placement of your furniture in your new house, don’t forget the locations of your pet’s things like water and food dish, bed, litter tray or play pen. Travel arrangements on your actual day of the move would also have to be on your agenda. Whether you are hiring someone to sit your pets while you are busy tasking the movers, or you are shifting them yourself, your pets need to be your responsibility. If you feel that your household is counting on you to oversee the move, if would be wise to pass that responsibility to someone who has less duties, but at all times do know where your pet is on the actual day of the move and their condition.


Cats are notoriously suspicious of change within their environment, so imagine how a house move might affect your feline friend. If your cat is particularly sensitive and it is convenient for you, you may choose to broad him at a reputable cattery for a few days over the moving period.


What to pack?

Animals may become distressed or anxious during the upheaval of packing, so confine them to a quiet room where they can rest and be safe. Begin packing nonessential items several weeks in advance, leaving your pet’s possessions alone until you are close to the move date. Try to minimize the impact on her routine. Do not wash bedding until a couple of weeks after the move, so that they will have something familiar smelling in the new house.


When it is time to pack up your pet’s items, keep them all together. When you arrive at your new home, you can quickly unpack all that she knows and loves to help ease her transition in her new space.


Moving day!

Confine your dog to one secure room with its bed and toys, so that escape and injury cannot occur whilst people are going in and out of the house. Make sure that your dog is safely secured in the car or vehicle that they are to be transported in to the new house with a travel crate or car harness on the back seat.

Cats are notorious for getting into trouble during the moving process since they are particularly sensitive to stress. Early in the morning, put the cat in one room with all the doors and windows shut. This will keep him away from the upheaval of packing boxes and furniture moving. It will also save you hours of searching for him when it’s time to leave. Provide a litter tray water and food. Put a notice on the door to remind family members and the removers that the door should remain shut.


When it’s time to go, put your cat in his carrier with a familiar blanket and transport him, properly secured with a seat belt, in the car – either wedged securely in the back or in the well behind the seats. Don’t put him in the removal van or the boot of the car.

dog car.png

Settling in Try to unpack the essentials before introducing your dog to the new house so that he can see familiar items within the unfamiliar house. If possible place furniture and items in similar places to those in the old house, Be patient with your dog in the new home and make allowances for ‘accidents’ on the carpet if they should happen. Quietly pick up the mess and clean the area to properly remove the smell. Once your dog has settled in the accidents should stop. Always praise him when he goes to toilet in the correct spot.


Some cats walk into a new home, curl up in a favorite chair and never look back. Others take time to adjust to their surroundings but you can help them to settle in. Cats will rub their heads and bodies on furniture, walls, doors etc. to lay down scent from glands which are situated mostly on the head but also over the body. Rubbing their own scent around the house increases their feeling of security. You can help this process by rubbing a soft cotton cloth gently around the cat’s face to pick up its personal scent profile. Then dab this, at cat height, around the rooms where he will initially be exploring. Repeat this daily, widening the areas where you impose his scent. Use food and a regular routine to help during the adjustment period. Small frequent meals will give you more contact initially and help to reassure your cat that all is well.


The transition from old to new will not happen overnight. There will be times when you will fear that they will never forgive you for uprooting them. But they always do. That’s the beauty of animals.

If you’ve caught a rabbit, the HRSS advises that you should perform the following actions immediately:

  • Give the rabbit water as soon as you can. The rabbit has been exposed to the extremities of the outdoors and need to be hydrated as soon as possible.
  • Feed the rabbit with rabbit pellets, hay and fresh vegetables as soon as possible.
  • Bring the rabbit to a rabbit-savvy vet as soon as possible if it does not look well (i.e. malnourished, open wounds, sores, signs of lethargy, not moving, not eating, not drinking etc).
  • Do not place the rescued rabbit with your existing rabbits immediately upon rescuing it as it may have picked up infectious disease. Bring it to a vet for a thorough check up first. It is also advisable to sterilize the rabbit.


What else can I do?

If you are unable to offer a stray animal a loving home, you can still help by contributing to the sterilization programs that many of the societies are active in. The societies also need funds for food, medication, cages and other pet paraphernalia, and always welcome monetary contributions.


Rescue a stray animal only of you have the means to do so, financially, physically, and mentally. Many people pick up strays without thinking about the consequences. Melissa Wong of the ALL says that many people pick up stray animals and simply dump them at the doorstep of Pets Villa, ALL’s privately-run animal shelter. Shelters and volunteers have their limits too.


You can also help the stray population indirectly, by educating yourself about strays, helping to spread the word about them, or volunteering with rescue groups who help strays.


A little goes a long way, and every bit helps.


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Need help taking care of your pet? Visit clubpets for more tips for practical pet care, and the latest events and happenings for pet owners.


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