The Truth About Moving Pets

The Truth About Moving Pets

We’ve talked a lot about preparing for your move and how things affect you. But what about moving pets? The four (or eight) legged members of the family? Your pets are just as affected by change as we are. . . well except for fish. . . I don’t think fish really care which house their bowl or tank is in. But the dog and cat are going to notice something’s up once the moving boxes and tape come out. My dogs always became worried whenever I moved. . . the cats however, well, they were all about taking ownership of the boxes as soon as they could! Here’s a little advice for moving pets smoothly.

Huckleberry - Moving Pets
Huckleberry caught in my "cat trap" - if there was a box, he owned it!

1. Emotional Discomfort When Moving Pets

I’ve moved with animals back and forth across the country, as well as locally, so I know what you’re going through. Keep in mind that your pets are going to need time to adjust. They’ll pick up on the increase in your stress levels as you’re preparing for the move, which can increase their stress as well. Pets don’t understand what is going on. When the boxes start coming out and items in the house start getting packed up, it can be quite upsetting. My dogs would always get anxious when the moving boxes came out. They would display their anxiety by getting “clingy” and constantly underfoot.

2. Safety and Security When Moving Pets

On the day of your move, you’ll want to make sure that your pets are safe and secure. For cats, you can either put them in their carriers or keep them in a room that has already been cleared out with the door closed. However, just be prepared for them to explode out of the room Mach 10 with their tail on fire the minute you open the door! So, be sure to bring backup to chase the cat around the now empty house. And for Pete’s sake, keep any doors to the outside closed or you’ll really have a tough time catching the cat!

3. Prepare for Long Car Rides

For moves that require a longer ride in the car, be sure to bring what your pet will need (like food and water). Also, be prepared to make several stops for potty breaks. If you’re traveling with pets other than a cat or dog, be sure to take into consideration any special needs they may have. For example, my parakeets loved having their cage high enough to see out the window, but I had to avoid cold drafts from vents or open windows. Harriet the Tarantula preferred her case on the warmer floor boards. . . naturally the parakeets thought it was tremendously funny to drop their empty seed husks through the screen on top of Harriet’s case (and yes, they got a stern talking to for tormenting the spider).

Looking for a pet-friendly hotel? Checkout the Ultimate Guide to Traveling with Pets.

Claire - Moving Pets
Claire hiding in the cupboard.

4. Resettling Into Your New Home

Once you’ve arrived at your new digs, it can be difficult to get your pets to settle in. The key to getting your pets to settle into their new surroundings is to get them back into a routine as soon as possible. Cats will make themselves scarce almost immediately, hiding in closets, cupboards or under furniture – until they realize everything is safe and the new home won’t actually eat them.

For my cats that went outdoors, I typically waited for a week or two before letting them outside so that they knew this was “home”. Dogs are a little easier in some cases because you can take them for walks in the new neighborhood right away. But don’t be surprised if they “inaugurate” the middle of the living room floor at first. They’re not trying to be bad, they just haven’t learned where the door is yet to go outside. So be patient and understanding with your pets as they adjust to their new surroundings.

5. Patience and Planning

Moving is challenging enough but when you have pets it can really add an extra degree of difficulty. With a little bit of planning, and a lot of patience, you can make the move a lot easier on everyone involved!

Moving Pets
Sookie and Rolex adapting to the new neighborhood.

About the Author


Stephanie Armato
Customer Service Representative

After moving across the country (twice) with her two favorite horses, Stephanie has experienced first-hand what every single one of our customers goes through. Her passion for helping people for the past 16 years as a customer service representative has led her to delve into the world of writing informative blogs to help our customers during the moving process. If you have questions for Stephanie, please feel free to add a comment below!

Have Anything to Add to This Article? Leave it in the Comments Section Below!

Best Local Movers

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.