pets moving guide: cats

If pets are a part of your family, remember that moving, whether down the block or across the country, is just as stressful for them as it is for you. But this stress can be greatly reduced with good planning and the tips that youll find here on Animals can sense and react to stress just like people! Anything we can do to make it easier on them can make recovering from the move easier on us. Here are some suggestions from top veterinarians, zoo experts and experienced pet owners on how to minimize the stress of moving with pets. Read the general guidelines, then check out the specific pets that make up your family!!!!!
Keep your pets routines as regular as possible as you prepare to move. If you normally feed, exercise or play with them at a certain time, continue to do so. During the final crunch of moving, you may find it works best to keep your pet either at a friends house or a kennel, reducing the chance of your pet getting upset and running away, or in the case of cats, hiding in a box about to be shipped.
Keep some form of identification on the pet at all times and be sure you have current pictures along with a written description available. This will reduce a lot of stress should your pet escape. If the length of the move requires the animal be provided with food and water, be sure the food is bland and easily digested and that the water comes from your home supply. Changing diet or water sources are common causes of diarrhea and vomiting from upset stomachs. If in doubt, check with your veterinarian for food recommendations.
Prior to moving, schedule a visit with your veterinarian for a thorough physical exam, making sure all vaccinations are current, especially the rabies vaccination. While at your veterinarians office, get copies of your pets records and check to see if he can recommend another veterinarian at your new location. You can also call the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) at (800) 883-6301 for the names of AAHA veterinarians near your new home.
If your pet is on any medication be sure to have an ample supply so you wont run out before getting settled in your new location. Also discuss with your veterinarian whether your pet should be tranquilized during the move. If so, get enough to try it out prior to the move to be sure the dosage works properly.
Since each state has different laws and regulations regarding the importation of animals and some counties and municipalities have their own ordinances, check with a veterinarian in the new area to be sure your pet complies. It is important to do this several weeks before your move to allow time for all paper work to be completed.
Temperature extremes should be avoided. In most cases, its best to transport your animal in a sturdy, insulated carrier to help regulate the changing temperature. Never leave a pet in a hot car during the summer time or a cold car in the winter.
If you are transporting the pet by plane, try to book a direct flight to minimize the time the animal may be sitting outside the plane in inclement weather conditions. Some airlines provide counter-to-counter service so your pet will be carried on and off the plane by an airline employee. While this service costs a little more, it may be worth it for your peace of mind.

Cats are notorious for getting into trouble during the moving process since they are particularly sensitive to stress. “Stress for a cat involves three things,” says animal behaviorist and psychologist, John Wright, author of Is Your Cat Crazy? “It involves reaction to novelty — cats dont like novelty. They like sameness. It involves reaction to unpredictability — cats dont like events to be unpredictable. The third thing is the degree of control– cats dont like to be out of control. When you move, you have a high degree of all three, until things settle down.”
For these reasons it is particularly important to maintain your cats normal routine. During the move itself, keep your cat confined to one room with food, water, a litter pan, some favorite toys, and the carrier you plan to use so your cat can get used to it. The door should be locked or have a large, “Do Not Open” sign on it, so the movers wont inadvertently let the “cat out of the bag.”
Transport your cat in a well constructed cat carrier large enough to have room for food, water and a small litter box. Upon arrival at your destination, place the cat and carrier in one secure room with at least two doors between the cat and the outside. Open the door of the carrier and let the cat decide when to come out. Allow your cat to become acclimated to the one room before releasing him to the rest of the house. If the cat scurries for cover when you open the door, wait a day or two longer, then try again. Let the cat explore other rooms of the house when it meets you at the door.
If your cat is accustomed to going outdoors, wait several days after arriving at your new home before letting the cat out, placing him on a leash or harness for short exploratory trips. After 2 or 3 days of these trips, you can begin to let your cat out on its own.

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