When I was about six my parents and I moved from an apartment in Noe Valley to a house in the Haight-Ashbury. With us came our cat Pimpek (pictured above). In Noe Valley, Pimpek was an indoor/outdoor cat so when we got to our new home we naturally let him out right away. Unfortunately, we didn’t know the rules of moving with cats and Pimpek disappeared shortly after. I like to pretend he didn’t leave because he was tired of getting the bejesus squeezed out of him.
Cats, like pigeons, tend to want to return to their old territory. If you let them out too soon after a move, they may attempt to find their way back to what they consider home. Doing some research for my own move, I discovered that most folks recommend keeping indoor/outdoor cats inside for at least a month before letting them check out their outdoor surroundings and even after that you should supervise fun in the sun until they are fully comfortable.
While Bruce and I have decided our cats’ outdoor lives has come to an end due to the high traffic outside our new home, here are some more tips if you decide to let you cat outdoors after a move:
- Microchip your cat. If your pal is already chipped, update your info with the microchip company so they can reach you if someone finds your pet.
- Keep up with your cat’s vaccinations. Felines that venture outdoors come into contact with tons of diseases so keeping their shots updated is key to a long and healthy life.
- If you can, harness your cat and walk it around the yard on a leash so they can check things out and mark their territory under your supervision.
- Open the door to your garden and let your cat decide whether or not they are ready to head out. Keep the door open while they are outside so they can quickly retreat to safety if they find any trouble.
- If you hear a fight in the yard get your cat’s back. They’ll need all the help they can get in establishing their new territory.
- If you moved locally, email photos of your pets to the new tenants at your old place so if your cat returns they’ll spot them and be able to tell you.
- Locate the closest 24-hour emergency vet in case something happens that requires immediate care.
Do you have any post move tips for pet owners?
Image: Sonia Zjawinski