How to home your pet after a move

Pets don’t like change – especially cats and inside dogs. Moving home is a major change for them and incredibly stressful. Every smell, every visual and even their internal map of home gets catastrophically changed. Coupled with the stress of actually moving your own home your focus strays from your beloved pet to yourself.

Did you know that some pets can take up to two full months to settle into their new home. This is a long time to have a stressed pet! We love pet’s, here are some top tips to help your pet settle into their new home.


When packing boxes try and consolidate all the pet items into one place. This way when you get to your destination you can open this box early so your pet can have familiar toys with their own scent. Also important is to make sure you pack their food and a familiar place for them to sleep.

For cats

Collect a small of used litter just before you move. Cats are very sensitive to smell. They can smell their litter from great distances away. When you get to your destination you can scatter this litter on the new litter. This way your cat will find a familiar smell and most importantly recognise this as a place to use the litter tray as they are already familiar with those smells.Since cat’s are so sensitive to smell they will also be able to navigate to the litter tray using their nose alone.

On moving day

Pets will get very, very stressed with movers in your home. Even very confident dogs and cats will tend to hide with the amount of people and movement going on. Stressed pets aren’t happy pets. The best way to avoid this is to set them up in their own very empty room while this is happening. You have a few choices – setup this room in your current place and wait until all the movers have left to move the pets. Alternatively setup this room in the new place. Both options work best depending on where and how far you are moving.

If you are moving a long distance it may be more comfortable for your pet to go to a familiar pet kennel (or cattery) so they don’t get stressed by the actual moving process.

Pet routine

Pets are very reliant on their humans for comfort and companionship. Homing your pet is partly managing their stress levels during the move and setting them into their routines to make them comfortable as quick as possible. Feeding them at the same time or simply taking them for a walk which is familiar to them is sometimes all it takes to get them to start to settle down.

Settling them in post move

Remember all pets will react differently to the move. If you have a confident, fearless pet you can skip a few steps. On the other hand don’t just skip steps because your pet likes to run around in the park or explore the neighborhood. Their new home will still feel different. Especially if the old owners had pets, your pets will still smell those pets (no matter how well you cleaned before).

Setup a safe space with familiar smells and a place to sleep. It is better to confine the newly homed pet to a small section of your new home. This is less intimidating to them but also easier to “protect them” because you will be able to find their “escape paths” quicker and ensure they are closed off.

Feed them. Pets stay in places where they get food and water.

Give them a place to use the loo. Cats will have a litter tray. Dogs could have a bit of paper. Although dogs will also be able to go outside on a lead.

Give them private time. When your pet is highly stressed and is hiding for example under a bed they don’t want you to pull them out and cuddle them. Even though you are trying to help them it makes them more stressed. Just make sure they can’t escape their safe room, give them their food and water. If you check on them make sure when you enter they don’t run out. Also, just give a short glance at their current hiding spot – remember you still want to give them space. Check to see if they had anything to eat or drink. If they have then you are already making great progress.

If they are especially scared just be patient. Overtime they will find a place to sleep and will feel more comfortable.

In the most simplistic terms your pet isn’t sure what is happening. Their first form of defense would be to hide. As soon as they realise they aren’t in danger any longer they will relax. Your best job will be to not stress them out further.

Cat’s tend to need ore time than dogs. Cat’s can also escape easier than dogs. Keep them indoors for longer. We recommend keeping them in a small room for a few days up to about 2 weeks. Then keep them inside for another 2 weeks to a month. If they are outdoor cats give them some supervised time outside. If you are very paranoid you can get cat lead but most cats don’t like them because hey aren’t used to them. Remember most of this exercise to make your cat feel comfortable. Stressing them out with a cat lead does the opposite.

Newly homed cats are far more likely to explore. Everything around them is new and exciting. Including the neighbors (who may also have a big dog). The first step is to make your cat feel comfortable, the next step is to teach them where home is and how to get their.

If you haven’t decided on a way to let your cat in and out, now is a good time. Take them to that spot and place a small amount of food in that area. Once they know how to get in and out through that spot you can stop placing food. If they like to explore do the same with the way to get from the outside of the property back. The last thing you want is a cat who gets out but can’t get back.

Scatter their litter outside. Cat’s have a great sense of smell. Their smell in their litter carries a great distance and is familiar to them. If they wonder to far they will still smell home and find their way back.

If they wonder into your neighbors it could be useful getting to know them. It’s definitely less stressful than knocking on their door at 1am because your pet is in their garden and can’t get back. Plus, it’s good to get to know your neighbors.

Remember even a small change can be traumatic with your pet. Follow some of these steps and help your pet become accustomed to their new home.

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