Thursday, 10 April 2014

Renting with Pets – Part 3 – New Home

No post since Sunday, how did it actually get to be Thursday evening already?? I'm arranging a charity event which I'll tell you more about soon and it has taken up a lot of my time this week! For now part 3 of the renting with pets series, you can see part one here and part two here.

I'm not a vet or an expert, but here are my tips on moving to a new rented place with a new pet or an existing pet and how to minimise the stress for you, your pet and your landlord!
  • Moving to a new home will be stressful for an animal, give them space and allow them to get used to their surroundings slowly. It may help to make them a hiding place that they can go to if they feel overwhelmed, Jazzie hid under our built in TV unit for weeks at our last house. Make sure this place is not somewhere they can chew cables/wee in/get stuck though.
  • Even if they know you and you are just moving house it will still be stressful for an animal, so make sure to give them some extra love and attention if they need it. Our cats followed me round like shadows for the first few days in our new flat, and I made sure to reassure them when I could and tried not to get too annoyed with them being under my feet all the time!
  • I’ve found on moving day it’s best to move the pets last, as you can leave them at home for as long as possible where you don’t have to worry about them and they’re comfortable, then bring them to the new house once you have it all moved and they can explore without getting underfoot while you are moving furniture in. Especially with cats as you need to keep them inside for a few weeks at the new property, and while some dogs might happily stay in a crate while you move stuff around them our cats hate being in the pet carriers. We did our last 2 trips with the pets when we moved last time, the turtle tank went in the last run with the van, I carried the turtles in a plastic box in the cab then set up the tank again at the other end and got them into it while Tom and his Dad unpacked the last of the boxes and stuff from the van. I then followed Tom back in the car while he returned the van and we went to pick up the cats as the last job. This was about 9pm and we were almost passed out from tiredness but it made it much easier for us and the cats not to have to worry about them all day until it came time to take them over.
  • Putting pets into a kennel or cattery or having someone look after them while you move is also an option, especially if you’re moving a long distance, aren’t moving straight into your new home or have children or relatives to think about as well.  For us it’s an added expense and we don’t like to put them in a cattery unless we can help it (and we’d still have the turtles to think about any way) but we’ve only ever moved within a half hour drive, if it was longer we’d definitely think about it.
  • Keeping cats inside – Our cats hate being kept inside, Jazzie especially, but I always keep them in for at least 3-4 weeks after moving to make sure they’re settled and know where they live before letting them loose, and wouldn’t let them out until all their jabs were up to date when we first got them. Always make sure they have access to a scratching post or mat while being kept inside or they will take it out on your furniture or door frames!
  • Set the rules from the start. Especially if you get a rescue animal (I always will) they can come with the previous owners bad habits, for example our cats had lived in a house for about a year with nobody living there just someone coming in to feed them. They had come to associate human contact with food so constantly begged and mewed for food (don’t worry they weren’t underfed, the opposite if anything), even if there was food in their bowls every time you went near the kitchen they mewed constantly at you. Eventually they learned that they would get fed regularly and that we were not going to give in and feed them every 10 minutes! They also had become quite desocialised (not sure that’s a word) and walked on the kitchen counters, tried to eat off our plates, wouldn’t come near us for a while etc but we started as we meant to go on and chucked them off the counters every time and we never feed them from our plates so they soon learned not to beg.
  • If your pet is new to you, remember that you are new to it too and let it get used to your habits and the new rules slowly, try not to get frustrated if they don’t want to cuddle straight away or they have a few nervous wee’s on the carpet if they get scared. Trial and error is often the best solution, if they seem to be unhappy with something change it or try to give them an alternative, give them time to get used to the situation and to get used to you.
  • If you live in a flat or have any shared outside space once you start letting your cat or dog outside then it might be a good idea to let the neighbours know that it’s yours, just so they know it’s not lost and if there are any issues they can come to you. For example, our cats sometimes poo in the landlords garden, but they just let us know and we go clean it up, it helps keep neighbourly relations good as we can’t really stop the cats going to the toilet there but don’t want them to have to clean it up.
Next month will be the last in the series, on long term things to think about having a pet and being a tenant. 

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