As a pet sitter, my first obligation is to keep pets safe. Sometimes I’m taken aback when I hear the nerve-wracking details of clients having moved their pets. Eek! Why didn’t they remember to call me first? Let’s go over some basics, with an assumption that you’re making the move by car, and perhaps you are going farther than just across town.
Of course, you’ve kept your kitty secured in a large carrier with food, water, and a litter pan. It wouldn’t hurt to secure the carrier. Your dog should be harnessed and secured to a seat belt. These are precautions that will help keep your pets calm. In case of a car accident, your pets will be less likely to be injured, and they cannot escape the car.
The judicious use of a calming agent such as Rescue Remedy and smaller portions of food are both wise.
All of that is the easy part, harrowing as it might be. Dogs and cats are such different creatures that we have to talk about their adjustment to their new home separately. Don’t care much about where they are as long as they are with their pack (you). Cats are rooted to real estate. As hunters, they know who they are when they know where they are.
When you arrive, remove your (microchipped!) dog with his leash attached and walk him around the property, maybe around the neighborhood, to get a good grounding. He’ll need to relieve himself anyway, and this is a way for him to get his scent on the place. Good start. When you take him inside, give him plenty of time to look around. Try to intercept any attempt at marking indoors! Make sure he knows where his stuff is – bowls, bed, and toys. He may need a big drink of water right now. If the move-in is not complete, confine your dog in a secured location until the foot traffic has quieted down. While he wants to be with his family, the stress may make him bolt.
Bring your kitty, still in her carrier, into a room that is preferably quiet and out of the way. When the movers and well-wishers are gone, allow the kitty the freedom of movement in that room only for a day or so. Make sure she has all the basics, including a blanket or bedding that already has her scent (or yours). Don’t give her total freedom immediately. That’s too much territory to master all at once.