Moving with your pet (c) 2016-2018 Frania Shelley-Grielen all rights reserved

Moving is one of the top three stressful experiences for humans and when the move
includes our pets, the stress can affect everyone in the family.  However, humans do
get to offset some anxiety through exercising some choice and control over what the
move might bring while our animals simply get none.  Planning and executing a move
for us, includes all sorts of think ahead moments from anticipating potential issues and
figuring how best to address them to what to look to forward to in your new home.  
Each new experience from packing boxes to moving trucks to rearranging furniture
are events that your cat or dog or both get to show up to without knowing ahead of time
they are coming.  As many plans and expectations as you have for your new place you
pet simply cannot share them. This is all foreign, uncharted territory outside of the
realm of the routine world your cat or dog has come to know and depend on.  Knowing
this, how can you make that move less stressful for the companion animals in your

Before you go:  Pack for your pet too-  Toys, beds, scratch posts, litter pans and other
pet paraphernalia need to be as recognizable as possible to provide familiar smells and
known object recognition (think “their stuff’).  You know how you hear that packing a
suitcase for humans is a good idea for that initial settling in period of your new place?  
Your pet needs one also.

Moving day:  is sure to be chaotic with everyone coming, going and doors left ajar,
open, slammed, not to mention all sorts of strangers to your pets in the form of moving
men, etc.  Keep it safe the day of for cats by making sure to confine pets to the last room
anyone will enter with a securely closed door.  Even better, place cats the morning of,
after food and litter breaks, into cat carriers with one of your worn t shirts to provide
scent and comfort.  Position the carriers against a wall and not in the center of the
room for additional security.  Partially cover the tops of the carrier with a pillow case
to block some visual exposure making sure there is sufficient airflow.  A spritz of
on muzzle and/or paws is helpful for both cats and dogs.

Larger dogs can be kept with you on lead and smaller dogs can also be confined to
carriers.  Make sure and bring your animals with you and never on the moving van
and check frequently on them to monitor stress.

Your new place:  Allow for less is more with cats initially. While you may think
having an option to explore the new digs is the way to go for felines all that new space is
overwhelming and scary.  Keep cats in one room for the first week or two.  Your
bedroom is the ideal space especially since you will be spending all those nocturnal
hours together and is full of your scent, all of which is incredibly reassuring in a new
space .  Install familiar cat beds, toys, litter box, and a feeding station.  Cat houses or
beds on a raised surface or cat towers are ideal for hiding and getting familiar with
things in cat time.  Allow for cats going incognito when they arrive and do remember
to greet kitties by name on each entrance and exit to and from the room for
reassurance in this new scary space.

Explore your new place with your dog- Make sure and take the time to allow the dog to
sniff around, on a leash, the block, yard, perimeter of your home.  This walk around
should also include the indoor areas of your home.  Remember to engage with your dog
at all times in the process-talk to your dog in a happy and calm voice, explain what is
going on and where you are now even if it is to describe each new room.  While your
dog may not understand every word you are saying, your tone of voice and
accompanying body language will reassure your dog that he or she is in a possibly
welcome and safe place.  Keeping the dog on leash with you keeps the dog physically
connected to you, helping to foster both emotional and physical security for the both of

Keep the routine:  Maintain consistency where you can.  This means feeding and
litter box cleaning at the same times as before, the same for walk schedules and other
outings.  Your pets anticipate events like these and keeping on schedule will give much
needed structure to getting everyone familiar with a new environment.

Share what’s good about your move:  You know the things you can look forward to
about your new neighborhood or home, your pet does not.  Consider the pet perspective
in cat tower placement –in the corner near that sunny window or other pet perfect
spots for beds and cat houses.  Map out the route to a new dog park or a great walk with
lots of sniff potential.  Remember to start small, all that great newness can
overwhelming so keep that familiar cat environment confined to one room for the first
ten days or two weeks before spreading out cat furniture to the whole house and keep
walks and dog parks visits shorter for starters as well.

Allow for excitement/reaction:  Your pets will no doubt respond to changes with a
level of excitement or inhibition.  Be the social support that your pet needs by
providing routine and calm energy.  Talking to your pets and playing classical music
at home on the first few days is soothing.  After the first several days introduce
interactive play time with cats and a five minute morning and evening training
session for dogs (sit, down, stand or any variation of three commands five times in a
row) to provide engagement, comfort and structure with all that excitement.

Allow for mistakes:  Even with the best house training your home is new to your dog
or cat, there are no familiar smells in the walls, or safe and comfortable corners to be
in, yet.    Should there be a break in house-training, know that this loss of control may
be stress related.  Avoid any reprimands as they will only serve to create more stress.

Moving is a stressful and exciting experience.  Here’s to making the best of it from the
canine, feline and human point of view.

Moving with
your pet
"Pack for your pet too-  Toys, beds,
scratch posts, litter pans and other
pet paraphernalia need to be as
recognizable as possible to provide
familiar smells and known object
recognition (think “their stuff’).  
You know how you hear that
packing a suitcase for humans is a
good idea for that initial settling in
period of your new place?  Your
pet needs one also."
copyright Frania Shelley-Grielen
copyright Frania Shelley-Grielen
Request an individual consultation
copyright Frania Shelley-Grielen
212-722-2509 / 646-228-7813

Entire website copyright Frania Shelley-Grielen