Moving House

Why do pets try to return to their old house?

Pets can be very territorial animals and they may have problems accepting a new house as their home. If the old house is nearby pets may return to their old haunts and try to take up residence with the new people living there. If the move is further away pets may just wander off and get lost.

What can I do to help my pet settle in a new home?

  • • Before leaving the old house pets should be fitted with an identity collar (elasticated) with the owners name and new address. This should be kept on until pets are fully settled in their new home. An Microchip is legally required in cats and dogs and is a the best method of identification.
  • • Cats should be transported in a safe well secured container such as a cat basket or cat box so there is no danger of escape.
  • • On arrival at the new house the pet should be left in one room has been sorted out and installed with familiar objects. Pets can then be let out but kept confined to this room and a litter tray provided for cats. To help the pet to settle it should be fed with its favourite meal.
  • • Once the removal men have gone and the house is quiet check that all the doors and windows are closed and allow the pet to explore. With outdoor dogs fences, gates etc must be checked as secure.
  • • Pets should be given lots of extra attention, petting and extra food during the period of settling in.
  • • Once a cat has begun to accept the house then it can be shown the garden. At first, it should only be let outside before meals so food can be used to lure the cat back inside if it wanders too far. Cats are much more likely to fight in a new territory so careful observation and curfew attention is vital especially in first few weeks.
  • • Initially cats should be let out alone only for short periods during the day. It should be hungry so that it will not wander too far and will readily respond to a call when its meal is ready.
  • • If possible try to avoid having builders working in the house during the initial settling in period. Many pets hate this and it will inevitably make readjustment more difficult.

How long will it be before I can safely let my pet outside alone?

This is very variable depending on the disposition of the pet and how much time has been spent on making the pet feel at home; some cats take only a few days to settle down whilst others may take three weeks or more. Outdoor pets with a wide experience of change tend to cope best.

My pet is very nervous. Are there any special precautions I should take?

It may be wise to board particularly nervous pets in a friendly cattery or kennel before the packing up of the old house starts and to keep them there until everything is unpacked and positioned in the new house.

My pet keeps returning to our old house. What can I do?

This happens because the bond with the new home is not sufficiently established. Measures must be taken to establish the new home as the source of food and shelter ( in contrast to the old house where these things are denied him). It may take weeks or months before the pet can safely be let out unattended.

  • • Keep the pet indoors if possible at the new house for about a month. Use the guidelines given above to try increase the bond with the new house. It may help to feed the pet small meals several times a day.
  • • When the pet is first let out it should be starved for 12 hours so that it is really hungry. It should be left out for only a short time and then called in and fed. For the first two weeks it should only be let out once a day and be called in after no longer than 30 minutes and fed immediately.
  • • Warn the new occupiers of your old house and discourage them from feeding the pet, talking to the pet or otherwise encouraging it.
  • • As a last resort consider boarding the pet for a few weeks in a cattery as far away as possible from either home to try to scramble its memory of its old home and its homing mechanism.

My pet never goes outdoors so moving house should be straightforward

Moving house can be just as traumatic for the indoor pet because it involves a complete change of personal territory. Gradual introduction one room at a time with lots of attention will help to reduce the stress of the upheaval.

THOUSANDS of pets are made strays each year through insufficient thought and care


Get in touch with us

Four great Veterinary locations in Sydney Australia
  • Alexandria
  • Dee Why
  • Kingsford
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Shop 1/138 Botany Rd
Alexandria NSW 2017
Phone: (02) 9698 4120
Fax: (02) 9698 4125

815 Pittwater Rd
Dee Why NSW 2099
Phone: (02) 9972 2044
Fax: (02) 9982 2307

70 Gardeners Rd
Kingsford NSW 2032
Phone: (02) 9662 6703
Fax: Fax: (02) 9662 8829

402 Illawarra Road
Marrickville NSW 2204
Phone: (02) 9558 2500
Fax: (02) 9559 3410

  • Alexandria
  • Dee Why
  • Kingsford
  • Marrickville


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