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March 17, 2006

Moving with Cats

You know how stressful a move can be, and now imagine how your cat can feel on seeing you packing boxes and movers wrapping the furniture and taking it away. Cats are territorial animals and feel the change of environment much stronger than dogs. So for the happiness and safety of your pet, be sure to spare some of your time for him during the move. One of the best ways to reduce you cat’s stress on a moving day is regular communication with him throughout the whole process of the move. Here are some practical tips to lessen the shock of the move for your cat and for you.

The simplest solution to make the move smoother and ensuring that the cat won’t escape amid the confusion of the move is to board the cat in a cattery close to your new home, provided you are moving locally. If you don’t have such an option than here are the steps to make your move as painless for the pet as possible.

Prepare the carrier for you cat. It should have good ventilation and strong body. Get your cat used to it before the move day. Usually cats associate carrier with unpleasant things like going to a veterinarian or to a groom. That’s why it is better to change this association to a more pleasant one, for example by putting there some treats for your cat. Putting a little blanket or something else from the house you are moving out inside the carrier would also make your cat feel secure and at home.

Prepare the id tag for you cat and ensure that your pet wears it during the whole move period. Put the name of your cat, your telephone number and the address you are moving to. Make a picture of the cat before the moving day in case your cat gets lost during the upheaval of the move.

On the actual day of the move out lock your cat in an empty room. Make sure that the moving men won’t come in there for any boxes or furniture. Cats usually don’t like any confusion and disruption in the household that’s why they sometimes prefer to leave home and run away, therefore the door to the cat’s room should be locked and have a "Don’t Open" sign. Put all the cat’s belongings in there and don’t let the movers load them in a moving van - it would be better if you take it on your own.

In case you are traveling to your new home by car, do some preparation regarding your cat. Get it gradually used to a car by making short trips long before the move day. Never leave your pet alone in the car. Don’t worry much if the cat doesn’t eat during the trip - it happens due to cat’s anxiety about the move, but be sure it drinks regularly. And try to avoid letting the cat out of the carrier. A cat is much more difficult to find than a dog in case it gets lost in the moving process. Check the pet friendly hotels you can stop at on your way.

Traveling by air, be sure your cat wears id tag and also rabies tag as most states require it. Most airlines allow cats in the airliner cabin in a proper carrier. You can check with Delta Airline recommendations on shipping your pet. And don’t let the cat out of the carrier until you get home.

Before moving take all the health records of your pet from the current veterinarian to transfer them to a new one. Find out the pet regulations in the area you are moving in ( you can use the website of USDA Veterinary Services) and check if pets allowed in your new home. If you know your cat gets very anxious and excited during a move check with the veterinarian - he might prescribe small doses of sedative. You get a word about using sedatives from American Veterinary Medical Association

On the move in day lock your cat in a spare room again with no access of the moving men to it. Bring the cat’s belongings in first and make sure the cat knows where they are.

Get the cat acquainted with the new home gradually: room after the room - so it won’t be overwhelmed by the new impressions. If you let your pet roam around the strange surroundings on its own it might get frightened.

Don’t change the regular routine of a day for your cat throughout the whole move; remember the sense of being secure is the most important for your pet.

For trusted information about moving with your pet see what American Veterinary Medical Association recommends on pet travelling; check what American Society For The Prevention Of Cruelty To Animals says about moving pets by car and by plane . See what regulations and recommendations do US Customs and Board Protectic and US Department of State have regarding moving your pet abroad. Also if you are determined to move abroad get some information on international pet passport . Finally, Delta and NWA websites will help you to get specific information for pet airtravel.

Posted by ezm at March 17, 2006 11:42 PM

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