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…..

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.

56 thoughts on “On Moving a Multi-Pet Family

    1. Only for June Buggie. I was a nervous wreck this morning and didn’t think of that. But I’m established now with this vet clinic and I can drop off the records next week.

  1. 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.

    1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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,

  4. 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

    1. If it comes to that, of course I’ll agree to the surgery. But June Buggie is old and I hate to do that to him at this stage of life.

  5. 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.

    1. 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.

  6. 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!

  7. 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).

  8. 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

    1. 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.

  9. 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)

  10. 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!

  11. 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! 🙂

  12. 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. ❤

  13. 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.)

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