pets relocate

7 Tips to Make Relocation an Easier Experience for Your Pets

Nowadays a lot of people are permanently leaving Hong Kong. Relocation could be a big stressful event for both humans and for our beloved animal companions.

Sophie was moving to UK, and due to circumstances, she was unable to travel on the same flight with her 2 cats, Rocket and Poppy. The cats will be flying on a different flight in cargo, and after the long flight they will have to go to a cattery over night, before being sent on a ferry the next day, only arriving at the new home after 3 days journey. When she contacted me, Sophie was very anxious and worried about how her 2 cats would survive this ordeal.

Rocket is a 10 year old boy, and Poppy is a 9 year old girl. They generally get along, but they were never too close to each other. Both of them are very skittish cats. They are afraid of strangers, and they especially hate being put in a cat crate. It’s a big mission for Sophie every time when she had to bring them on a trip to the vet.

There are many things the humans can do to make it easier for the animals. I told Sophie to start doing the following:

  1. Get the cat crates at least a month prior to the trip. The crate must be different from the ones that they go to the vet with, so they don’t have negative association. Make the crate comfortable by putting their familiar bed and toys in. Use treats or other ways to encourage them to go in, and reward them when they are in. In this way they can associate the crate with good experience.
  2. Play airplane noise music at home frequently. You can easily find such audios on Youtube. Get your cats familiar with that kind of noise.
  3. When it’s time to travel, leave some of your own dirty clothes/pajamas in the crate. Those clothes carry the human’s scent, which can reduce the anxiety for the cats.
  4. Use Feliway or other brands of pheromone products. Start using 2-3 weeks before and after the relocation. Those products have a calming and soothing effect on cats.
  5. Use Bach Flower Essence Rescue Remedy 2-3 weeks before and after the relocation for relieving stress. Just give 1-2 drops in water. This is natural therapy.
  6. Keep talking with your pets. Explain to them why you have to move, why they have to experience the trip, and how their new home will be better. Trust me! – Animals understand you when you talk with them! It’s us humans who usually don’t understand them. We are pretty “dumb” according to animals. 
  7. Keep calm, and practice visualization. Always remember that your anxiety and nervousness can affect your pets. Visualize images about things that you WANT to happen. Visualize your pets smoothly going through the trip and happily arrive at the new home. By visualizing, you are sending your intention to the Universe and attracting positive energy that helps things to go well as you wish.

[Note to the readers: these tips work for both dogs and cats except #4. Feliway is a product for cats only. There are similar products on the market for dogs. ]

After talking with Sophie, I connected with Rocket and Poppy to discuss with them. Both of them were quite unhappy about this whole moving thing.

“Why does mom have to move? “ Rocket asks me.
“Well.. human’s life is complicated! There is no option to avoid this.” That’s the best answer I could come up with.
“Why can’t we stay with mom for these 3 days? “ Rocket asks again, with bit sadness.
“You know, there are many people out there making rules. Your mom tried but she has to follow those rules. They won’t let her stay with you while traveling.”
“Those are bad people!” Rocket pouts.
I agree.

I go on to tell Rocket that 3 days will pass very fast and their mom would be waiting for them at the new house, and that he must be the strong and brave boy, because he has to set an example for his sister and take care of her.

Finally, Rocket answers, “Ok. I will try my best. I will be a brave boy!  Please tell mom not to worry. She’s too stressed. I’ll be fine, and I’ll take care of my sister! “

As for Poppy, she’s silent most of the time. She was very anxious and frightened.  But she became a bit more relaxed when I told her that Rocket will be next to her and protect her.

The moving day finally came. I waited eagerly to hear from Sophie. A few days later, at last, I received an email from Sophie.  

I just wanted to say a massive thank you for helping Rocket & Poppy through their relocation (and helping me!).

I believe that your communication with them greatly helped, because when it came to putting them in their crates they were clearly nervous, but they were very well behaved and did not fight (as they normally would have when getting put in their cages for a trip to the vets!).

I am so happy to report they arrived safely are now happy in their new home.  They are a little nervous of loud or sudden sounds, but they are both purring away and enjoying exploring the new house.

Thank you so much!

It’s so funny because Rocket really was proud of himself when he arrived – he really had been a brave boy!

When Poppy saw me she hissed at me for putting her through it all, but she soon warmed up and wanted a head scratch.  She’s now more obsessed with Rocket than ever.

I am so grateful, thank you!

It warmed my heart when I read this email. It was such a big relief, and I was super happy to hear things went so well.  These 2 cats are such great kids. Not just Sophie, me too, I’m very proud of Rocket and Poppy!

If you are planning to relocate with your pets, consider hiring an Animal Communicator to talk with them. This will certainly help to reduce their stress and make the trip much easier and more tolerable!

Originally Published in: Naari Magazine