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Moving With Pets – Animal by Animal

Last Updated: Monday, September 7th, 2020

Having to move by yourself is stressful on its own but when you add another living creature to the Moving with pets adds a challenging layer to moving house. As much as we’d like to be Dr DoLittle or Eliza Thornberry, we can’t communicate to our pets why we’re moving home or where we’re going. Moving with pets and all the confusion and commotion that comes from it can panic even the most docile animals. But with a solid plan in place and a bit of preparation, we’ll teach you how to move a cat to a new house and how to settle a dog into a new home.

So, whether you’re a dog lover, a cat person, or own an entire aquarium worth of tropical fish, Smoothmoves has a few tips to make moving with pets a breeze.


The move

How to move a cat into a new house is all about patience. Because cats develop such strong bonds with their environment, moving can be challenging to handle. To help you calm your cat, keep your cat located in one room, with the door shut, during the move with their food and water bowl, a litter tray, and anything else your cat needs. If your cat is particularly anxious, consider taking them to a professional kennel.

Transporting your cat

Unlike dogs, who love going on car trips, transporting your cat is a little more challenging. We recommend speaking to your vet before embarking on the move for more specific advice. As for more general suggestions, we can teach how to transport cats by car long distances. We say long distance because, for most cats, any distance in a car is too much.

Before the move, feed your cat a few hours before the move. Then place your cat inside its carrier and secure it with a seatbelt in the backseat. Warning! Do not put your pet carrier in the front seat. You should also avoid transporting your cat in the boot of your car. Or, worse, a moving truck.

Settling in

Once you’ve moved in, allow your cat to investigate the new space room by room. This part is most important as cats naturally spread their scent throughout their environment. By doing the same, you can help your cat feel more secure in your new home.

Rub a cotton pad on your cat’s cheeks and head to collect its scent. Then rub that cloth along doorways and skirting boards. 

You should also ensure your cat stays indoors for at least the first two weeks. For outdoor cats, it’s best to feed them before letting them go outside to ensure they return home for food. However, we highly recommend retraining them to be indoor cats for safety reasons. 


The move

Moving house with a dog is still challenging, even if your dog is trained well. According to the RSPCA, pets can read human body language. Showing signs of stress or anxiety, may result in escaping, panicked behaviour, pacing, excessive barking, hiding or destructive behaviours. 

We recommend keeping your dog or pets minded elsewhere. Either at a friend or family member’s place or a local veterinary or kennel.

Transporting your dog

Thankfully, dogs enjoy being in cars much more than their feline counterparts. Secure your dog and make your way over to your new home.

Settling in

Like a cat, your dog wants to spread its scent around its new environment. You should also avoid leaving your dog alone at home for too long during the first couple of weeks. 

Aquariums, terrariums and other closed habitats

Fish, reptiles, guinea pigs, rabbits, rats, and mice, are all animals kept within an enclosure. While moving them may be as simple as transporting them from the old location to its new one, these pets can still suffer from the same anxiety dogs, and cats experience during a move.

Start the whole packing process gradually. The idea is to leave living conditions unchanged for the longest possible period to avoid unsettling your pets. 

Things to consider 

Here are a few extra things to consider while moving with pets:

  • Compile documents and ID tags. The tag should contain information about your pet’s name, your name and telephone number, and the destination for your travels. 
  • Pictures of your pet. In the unlikely scenario that your pet is lost, it’s better to have a picture of it close so you can properly search for it. 
  • Bundle together collars and leashes.
  • A large and comfortable-enough pet carrier. 

Flying with pets

Transporting animals by air is a particular situation and depends entirely on the airline you’re travelling with and the distance. 

To keep things simple, we’ll examine the travelling with pets rules from Australia’s most popular airline, Qantas.

  • All pets need to be at least 12 weeks old; for pets older than 12 years, you’ll need a certificate stating your pet is healthy enough to fly.
  • If a pet appears sedated, unwell, injured, heavily pregnant or aggressive, it cannot be accepted for travel.
  • Visit the vet for a health check-up before air travel to ensure they are fit, healthy, and ready for travel. 
  • Spend time in their pet crate before travel, so they are comfortable and familiar with being in a confined pet carrier for the duration of the flight.
    • The (IATA) Live Animal Transport Regulations is the standardised policy surrounding pet travel by air.
    • Your pet must be able to stand, sit and turn around in a natural manner inside.
    • There must be a refillable water container attached.
  • All domestic pet and animal transport bookings must be made through a Qantas Freight-approved pet travel specialist.
  • Only service dogs can be carried in the passenger cabin of the aircraft. All other animals and pets travel in a dedicated area in the hold of a passenger aircraft where the temperature and noise are similar to those experienced in the cabin.
  • Animals with shortened or flattened noses, known as brachycephalic, snub-nosed or flat-faced breeds, have a significantly higher risk of health complications due to their short snouts and compromised respiratory systems, known as Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome (BOAS). To arrange air transport for your brachycephalic pet, you’ll need to use one of the Qantas Freight-approved pet travel specialists.
  • Owners should consider avoiding booking pet travel during the hottest parts of the day. 
  • When temperatures are forecast to exceed 35°C, Qantas will rebook or cancel any pet booking without penalty.

A smoother moving experience

Moving with pets is difficult enough without worrying about lugging heavy boxes, furniture and everything else that comes from your home. Call the professionals to take care of your home relocation while you worry about your furry friends.
Give Sydney’s most popular removalists a call today to find out how we can make your move a smooth one.

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