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On Moving a Multi-Pet Family

We are in middle Tennessee. For the most part, the move went smoothly. There were some issues- there always are- but we survived….. well, I’ll get to that later.

If you are planning a move with your multi-pet household, here are a few tips that have worked well for me.

Accept that the moving preparations will stress out your companion animals. You are stressed, and your animals will pick up on that and become stressed too. Make sure you keep things as normal as possible. Walk, feed, treat at the same times. Pay attention to your furry family. Assure them that this is temporary and that they will not be left behind.

Let your vet know you’re moving. Ask for copies of your vet records, and refills of meds. Ask for any advice your vet staff have for making the move smooth for your companions.

Consider moving your companion animals first. My mother lives near where we moved, and graciously allowed the cats to stay at her home for a couple of days. I boarded Rumpy at a vet in her town. When I moved to Florida, I made contact with a local vet and they agreed to board the animals so they would be safe while we were loading, driving, unloading. If you do use a new vet…..

bath

Rumpy after his boarding experience. He got a bath too, allegedly.

Check out that vet you’re using. I didn’t call around earlier and was scrambling to find a vet that would board Rumpy before Memorial Day. I ended up paying more than I should have had to, because the vet clinic I used required they do a physical and give Rumpy flu vaccines in order to board them- an extra cost of $89. That’s the price ya pay for not planning ahead.

Once in the new home, find a local vet if you haven’t already done so.  If you’re moving to a large metropolitan area, finding vet care is not a big deal. But when I moved to Panama City, most of the local vets did not see patients on Saturday and would only provide emergency services if you were an established client. Otherwise, it was an hour drive to the nearest emergency vet clinic. Go ahead and establish yourself with a vet and let them know your companions’ special needs. And if you have your vet records, you can drop them off with a new vet without having to have an actual vet visit for each animal.

Be vigilant with open doors and windows, and don’t let cats outside right away. Your companion does not know this area. A stressed pet may try to bolt from an open door or window. Cats that spend time outdoors need time to acclimate to the new home’s location. Otherwise they may get lost. The last thing you need right now is to have to conduct a search for a lost pet, so keep your guard up, and advise others entering the home to do so also.

junior in crate

My poor baby. Please keep him in your thoughts.

And last, but very important, pet-proof the new home. I woke up this morning to find Junior had caught his paw in a mini-blind cord. I scrambled to find a vet that would see him on a Saturday morning. There was no bone fracture, but the vet is concerned there may be nerve damage and that he may never be able to use the leg again. I am devastated, but it didn’t occur to me that could happen. He’s recuperating in Rumpy’s crate and taking meds twice a day. Please send all the healing energy you can spare his way.

I do have a better idea. Don’t move if you don’t have to; it’s really a pain in the ass.

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About rumpydog

I am a malamute that was rescued by her. I live with June Buggie the cat. I blog about animal welfare and responsible care of companion animals at rumpydog.com. You can follow me on Twitter - @RumpyDog. And don't forget to LIKE my Facebook page! Thanks!

Discussion

56 thoughts on “On Moving a Multi-Pet Family

  1. Good advice! Glad it went well. Did you move your records to your new doctor as well? Emergencies are much easier to arrange for humans.

    Posted by Bernadette | May 28, 2016, 4:16 PM
  2. Finding a good vet when we moved here was important, and although we signed on with one ‘very friendly’ surgery, when it came to Maggie’s surgery last year, the attitude just wasn’t up to the job, so we changed. It was a good move.

    Posted by pensitivity101 | May 28, 2016, 4:19 PM
    • Yeah, that’s important too. When I moved to Panama City I tried 3 vet clinics before I found a vet I was happy with. The vet that treated Junior this morning really impressed me. She is polite but sounded confident and knowledgeable. I’m definitely going to stick with her.

      Posted by rumpydog | May 28, 2016, 4:21 PM
  3. Good luck to you all. I’ve moved cats several times. Never easy. Boarding is a great suggestion. You don’t have to worry about anyone opening the door to that one room where you have them all confined.

    Posted by Kate Crimmins | May 28, 2016, 4:22 PM
  4. Definitely sending healing thought for Junior to completely heal. What a stressful time for all of you.

    Posted by The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap | May 28, 2016, 5:37 PM
  5. Great advice. Especially the not moving part! Ugh What a hassle. Prayers have been said for JB’s recovery. It sounds like he is in good hands. Stay fluffy R. Your family needs you.

    Love and licks,
    Cupcake

    Posted by Cupcake | May 28, 2016, 5:45 PM
  6. Good advice. Glad the move went relatively smoothly. Prayers for Junior that he will be okay.

    Posted by jowensauthor | May 28, 2016, 6:05 PM
  7. Great advice! I’m so sorry about poor Junior. Please don’t blame yourself. Sometimes these things just happen. You may be aware that my beloved Natasha kitty only has three legs. She lost her front right leg in a freak accident that nobody except a psychic could have foreseen. She lost her leg when she was less than a year old. She’s now going on fifteen years of age. She doesn’t even know she’s missing a leg! And she gets around just as well as any four legged cat. So please take heart! And I’m sending positive, healing thoughts to your dear Junior! Much love, Russell

    Posted by Russell Smith | May 28, 2016, 6:07 PM
  8. It is just me and the Wee Little Doggie, so a bit different. WLD loves to travel. She went with me from greater Boston to Vermont to North Carolina, Texas, California, Mexico and the back to Texas. Her only need is to get out of the car every few hours and pee and to have a couple long walks in the morning and evening. She loves smelling new places. But it is just we two. We are attached at the hip, for the most part. Small moves (from one apartment to another in the same complex) perplex her. There is no long distance involved. What is the point?

    I have never had a problem finding a good vet. I guess I am just lucky. Also fortunate not to have emergencies – yet – knock on wood. Sorry to hear about Junior – hope he recovers well.

    WLD and I are pretty much set now, unless I win the lottery and buy an Airstream. 😉 She was happy as a clam driving 2 hours each way to from Tyler to Dallas and back to Tyler. Probably wasn’t enough sniffing and exploring is all. Next time I’ll find more places to stop for her.

    Posted by anotherboomerblog | May 28, 2016, 7:43 PM
    • Sniffing is important! Rumpy and I went on an exploration of the neighborhood and he was upset I didn’t let him sniff more, but I’ve not had a chance to meet neighbors and don’t want to upset anyone with a dog leaving peemail on their mailbox.

      Posted by rumpydog | May 29, 2016, 7:29 AM
  9. I like your last advice best, the one I have taken for so long, Don’t move.

    Posted by Jan | May 28, 2016, 8:03 PM
  10. praying for him.

    Posted by bjpup (lynda) | May 28, 2016, 8:09 PM
  11. Poor baby! And poor you – as if moving isn’t stressful enough. Sending happy healing settled thoughts your way x

    Posted by bumpyroadtobubba | May 28, 2016, 8:59 PM
  12. This is a great checklist, Jen, with vital info. I don’t believe most people realize how stressful a move can be on pets, since they often think animals aren’t astute enough to comprehend what’s going on around them. We true animal lovers, of course, know otherwise. I certainly hope things turn out well for you and the kids in Tennessee!

    Posted by Alejandro De La Garza | May 28, 2016, 10:56 PM
  13. I have had to move twice, over a 1000kms, with a cat in the car.
    I found it easier to let her walk around the car and find her own place to settle(usually on my lap).

    Posted by granny1947 | May 29, 2016, 12:29 AM
  14. OMG! I’m so very sorry to hear about June Buggie….my dearest kitty…..I hope that what the new vet said would never happen to him….(about the leg…..) He is a strong kitty so he would be get well soooooon!!!!! We’re sending powerful healing thoughts on his way!!! Moving is a really hard thing…to humans and animals…..Thanks for giving us useful tips, Jen. I hope you would get some rests from hard works. hugs

    Posted by eripanwkevin | May 29, 2016, 4:09 AM
    • Thanks Eripan. I am so upset about June Buggie. I let him out for awhile this morning while I cleaned his hospital room and he didn’t seem fearful of anyone. He gave Rumpy a nuzzle, which was nice.

      Posted by rumpydog | May 29, 2016, 7:32 AM
  15. thanks for so much great tips! it can be a challenge to move with one (or more pets)… we were totally clueless as we moved to brittany… 3 dogs and of them in heat… it was a chaos but we fortunately survived :o)

    Posted by easyweimaraner | May 29, 2016, 6:40 AM
  16. Keeping June-Buggie in my thoughts and prayers! Sending healing energies!

    Posted by becca givens | May 29, 2016, 8:51 AM
  17. Poor June Buggie! The fact that he’s walking on the leg already sounds good, he’s a tough little cutie. ❤

    Glad the move is over & you're settling in, hope everything continues to get better!

    Posted by 2 Punk Dogs | May 29, 2016, 9:01 AM
  18. Get well soon June Buggie,Has to be said it a lot easier with a pet rabbit,so long as you plan well,xx Rachel

    Posted by speedyrabbit | May 29, 2016, 12:40 PM
  19. Poor Junior!!! Sending him [and you] my thoughts and healing vibes!
    Yep, I’m very familiar with the thing called ‘a move’ and yes, better avoid it if you can!
    But, as I always tend to look on the bright side: new home= fresh start, so may your new home be always full of love and happiness! 🙂

    Posted by marina kanavaki | May 29, 2016, 4:21 PM
  20. Hope that Junior is better soon. My last move was over 32 years ago. The thought of moving makes me cringe.

    Posted by corkscot | May 29, 2016, 6:46 PM
  21. Our cat could always tell when we’re about to move. She would get agitated and disappear the moment cardboard boxes started being assembled.

    Posted by The Good Greatsby | May 29, 2016, 9:35 PM
  22. Good tips. And poor Junior. He never gets a break, does he? (In this case, glad it isn’t a break)

    Posted by heretherebespiders | May 30, 2016, 2:42 PM
  23. Great advice! And so sorry to hear about the accident. 😦

    Posted by Marc-André | May 30, 2016, 5:53 PM
  24. You’re so right, Jen. Moving is an absolute PITA. Thank you for all these important reminders, just in case we ever have to do so.

    Big purrs and prayers for June Buggie. We hope he will be okay. ❤

    Posted by meowmeowmans | May 30, 2016, 7:41 PM
  25. Wait…ou couldn’t convince the old vet to move with you? 😉 Glad you survived. Good luck at the new crib and job. ღ

    Posted by Tails Around the Ranch | May 30, 2016, 8:54 PM
  26. Oh, so sorry Junior got hurt! Here’s hoping the healing is quick and complete.

    I hear ya on the moving. Back in 2005, I moved from The Netherlands to Winnipeg, Canada, with two Dutch Shepherds and a cat. No direct flights. International travel. Customs. Basic level and high-level freaking out on my part. I cried when the porters wheeled the kennels away in Amsterdam and I cried again when they got wheeled back out to me in Toronto and I could see they were safe. I’m just never moving again. Ever. (Fun fact: we drove to Winnipeg from Toronto because I could not bear to put the animals on a connecting flight.)

    Posted by nissetje | May 31, 2016, 2:58 PM
  27. Oh, baby paws! Sending many warm and healing thoughts for Junior. And a bit of calming for all the rest!

    Posted by philosophermouseofthehedge | June 2, 2016, 6:08 PM

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