Moving house with your cat Monday 11 June 2018 @ 08:00
MOVING HOUSE WITH YOUR CAT
We recently asked our followers about one piece of advice they would give to someone who is moving house with a cat. We all know that the process of moving house can be very stressful for territorial animals resulting in increased risk of them going missing.
Thank you, your response was truly amazing! We received so many great tips and valuable suggestions, that we decided to combine them all into one handy checklist that contains the wisdom and experience of so many people. It is a must-have for every family sharing their home with feline companions. So share it around and print/save it into your cat’s personal file (don’t have one? Time to make one) for future reference. Here we go…
“Moving house with your cat” guide.
CATTERY ACCOMMODATION. If you can afford it, place your cat with a cattery for a few days while moving.
Hazel Luckstedt recommends: “It is a good idea to put them in a cattery on the day the removal man comes. The removal of the furniture and the strange men really freak out most cats. I leave mine in the cattery until the furniture is safely in the new house. When you bring them home to the new house there are familiar things and smells which help to settle them in their new home.”
“We too put ours in a cattery. They are indoor cats and don't want them escaping through open doors during moving.” adds Wendy Goffage
KEEP THINGS UNDER CONTROL. If cattery is not a option, try following these steps provided by Toni Farlow:
“3-4 days prior to moving leave [your cats’] carriers out for them to get accustomed to.
On the day of moving, keep them in a room that won’t be accessed until you finally go.
Put them in carriers and take to new home. DO NOT LET THEM OUT YET!
Put them in a room that won’t be accessed while shifting furniture. Shut the door and leave them in the room in their carriers until all removalists have left. The cats can be let out of their carriers now but DO NOT LET THEM OUT OF THIS ROOM. Let them become accustomed to this room and its smells over 2-3 days. This gives them time to regain confidence after moving from their old home.
Depending on your cat’s confidence level, gradually let them explore more rooms a bit at a time. This could take 1-3 days or 1-3 weeks! ONLY THEN CAN YOU LET THEM OUTSIDE IF THEY ARE ALLOWED.” - Toni Farlow
Clare Dolphin also reminds you may need to “Wear earplugs for the drive…”
TAKE TIME TO ADJUST. So many of you have emphasised the importance of giving your cat enough time to get used to the indoors first by keeping them in for at least 2 weeks before allowing them to explore the outdoors.
Jan Kelly says: “I always keep them inside until they are comfortable in their new environment. Depending on the personality of the cat this could be any time between 4 - 14 days”
Christine Vimini adds: “Do not be tempted to let them outside, no matter how much they’re used to going outside and no matter how much they whinge. They must bond to the new place & that can take time. Depending on your cat, at least 2 weeks, up to 4 indoors.”
“If you think you’ve kept them inside for long enough, give it another week” suggests Kimberly Skilton
EXPLORE THE OUTDOORS. Once your feline friend is used to the new house, you can take him or her outside to start exploring the surroundings:
Samuel Merlino says: “carry them around the block a few times or take them on a lead, if they don't like the lead then walk alongside them keeping an absolute HAWK eye on them so they don't get out of your reach… They should get familiar with the smells and the route home IF they do ever get out. And believe me, cats will find a way to get out! The thing is to make sure they are familiar with the territory so they know the way home and the safe places to hide if they get scared.”
Gill Youngleson also points out that “If other cats come into his new territory, you need to help your cat establish his by clapping loudly and frightening other cats away. It’s worked for two big moves.”
Deborahlea Harrison adds: “be on the lookout for other neighbourhood cats that may have already staked the place as territory as this is when cat fights happen.”
Another great idea is provided by Cathy Donaldson-Serkin: “get to know your neighbours asap. And tell them about your cat family member”
ESTABLISH A ROUTINE. Once you are confident about your kitty going outside on their own consider this advice:
Judy Lidstone says: “don't feed before letting out feed when they come back inside”
Anna Purgar also adds: “When you finally let them outside don't pick them up and place them in the middle of the lawn. Just open the door, sit with them so they can explore and feel secure.”
HELP TO RELAX: Many people reported to have great success with the following handy tricks:
Vivienne Timmins says: “Mum use to smear butter on their paws, her logic always was that they can't stand the feeling of it on them and will automatically groom and lick to clean off, which leads to being tired followed by sleep and thus starts the acclimatising to their new surroundings, new smells and noises that are in the background as they sleep.”
Christine Gillie explains: “Supposed to work because the logic is they lay back and clean themselves… so relax and accept it as home. I have always done it immediately on bringing them into the new home”
Samantha Moreland also adds this tip: “Cats have glands on their cheeks, rub a face washer on their face and then rub their scent in your new house, will help them settle faster as it will smell like them”
BRING FAMILIAR THINGS. Bring to your new house as many things from the old house as you can.
Nola Squeak Brewer recommends: “Make sure you have their usual bedding for them to sleep on… don't wash it as they need familiar smells to help them settle and feel at home”
Diana Bassani also adds: “don't wash a sheet or blanket that has your scent on it for them to cuddle up with.”
PLENTY OF TLC. And of course don’t forget to give them love and attention throughout the ordeal.
Kat Katrijn says: “Don’t get so caught up in your own moving-stress that you forget about spending time with them. They need to be ensured that the bond you share didn’t stay behind in the old house.”
SUPPLEMENTS. Try special cat pheromones to help your cat feel more calm and relaxed in the new environment:
Sharon Young recommends: “Plug in some feliway. You can get it at the vet. Sprays happy pheromones into the air to help keep your cat calm. Also good when introducing new cats.”
“If they are very stressed get some Rescue Remedy and put it in their food. Works really well to calm them down.” adds Kellie Mayne
CONSIDER KEEPING INDOORS. We strongly encourage you to consider keeping your cat inside on a permanent basis or think about setting up an enclosure for you little buddy:
Mel Brown make a great point: “Moving to a new house is a great time to change the rules on the family moggie. Cats are protected from being hit by cars, fights with other cats potentially catching feline aids, attacked by neighbourhood dogs, being poisoned, stolen or lost. New homes, new rules, keep your moggie inside.”
“I built a cat run they aren't that expensive if u want kitty to have outdoor time” adds Fiona Mcdonald
Jenni Moore also says: “Keep them indoors ALL the time. They are safe & so is the wildlife outside.”
UPDATE PERSONAL DETAILS. And last but definitely not least, make sure everything is updated with your new details.
Jan Jolly reminds: “UPDATE ALL DETAILS!!! Before the move...microchip, vet, contact numbers etc…”
Did we miss anything? Tell us in the comments.
Once again, a heartfelt thank you to everyone for your insightful input in creating this “Moving house with your cat” guide.
Scaredy Pups: Getting Comfortable with Strangers Monday 14 May 2018 @ 09:18
We want your pets to live their best life, and that includes working through any of the fears that might be holding us back. Last month, we talked about how you might go about caring for a dog who is afraid of men. It’s commonly assumed that dogs who experience this fear feel this way because they’ve been abused or neglected by a man, but some dogs are just that way by nature.
Just like any fear, there’s no one reason that your dog might have it, but there are a good few ways you can work together to deal with it.
Some of the other common fears your dog may be struggling with may include…
This is the list we’re slowly working our way through, but it definitely doesn’t cover every fear your dog might have! If there’s another fear or phobia you’d like us to cover to spread information and awareness, please do get in touch. In the meantime, we’re going to look about how you can go about helping your dog to feel more comfortable around strangers.
Why is my dog afraid of strangers?
Dogs tend to be afraid of strangers for two main reasons. In some cases, it occurs because the dog hasn’t been properly socialised as a puppy. If a pup doesn’t have the opportunity to meet a wide range of different people in their formative years, it’s highly likely they’ll end up being afraid of people they aren’t familiar with.
In other cases, your dog’s fear will be all about genetics. Dogs who are timid and skittish often produce offspring who are equally shy. Dogs who are scared of all strangers rather than a specific type of stranger (such as men or children) may experience this because of genetic predisposition.
How can I tell when my dog is afraid?
One of the main struggle for dogs who are afraid of strangers is that humans - both strangers and dog owners - may fail to notice that a dog is feeling anxious. The dog will be giving off all sorts of body language, and nobody will be reading it. Learn to spot what your dog is trying to tell you, and you’ll know straight away when your dog announces “I am feeling afraid! Please back off!”
Perhaps Rover’s body will be tensing up, his eyes will be darting or he’ll be looking away while making his body as small as possible. Some dogs start sneaking around, furrowing their brows, flattening or perking up their ears or moving much more slowly than usual. Maybe Bowser has started licking her lips, panting for no obvious reason or yawning more than usual. In many cases, the dog’s tail will be held lower than usual, sometimes hidden between the legs. All of these are indicators that your dog is feeling frightened.
Make your dog feel safe!
If your dog is showing signs of fear and anxiety, you need to help them to calm down. To do this, you need to bring your dog somewhere they can feel safe, and it can be helpful to create a specific safe zone where your dog will always know it is completely safe. Think of it as a puppy panic room! This is a space that is exclusively for your dog, whether that’s a special chair, part of a room or just their crate.
Make a rule where nobody except for your dog is allowed to enter the special safety zone. This will allow your dog to see that the area is their special place where nobody is able to hurt or annoy them.
Let people know how to greet your dog!
If a stranger goes down on one knee by your dog when making their introduction, the meeting is far more likely to be successful.
Your dog will feel less threatened as the person is at their level. Often, your dog will be more comfortable with sniffing and accepting pats from a stranger if they aren’t towering over them like a monster (offering a treat can only help the interaction further). It’s also a good idea not to let a stranger make too much eye contact with a dog, as staring can be perceived as intimidating and downright rude.
If you don’t know a dog but want to offer a treat, the best way is to drop it on the ground so as not to appear forceful, having first made sure that the owner is alright with you giving their dog a treat.
What if the owner is the stranger in question?
If you adopt a dog who already has a fear of strangers, it can be pretty difficult to start building a bond between you. However, if you take it easy and allow your dog to move at their own pace, you’ll get there soon enough and the results will be so worth the wait. You’ll need to be very patient and comforting at first so the dog can start to understand that you are not a threat.
If your new dog gives you the opportunity to pet them, always do so very calmly. Make sure your voice around your new dog is always soothing, friendly and relaxed, and offer treats by gently throwing them rather than bringing your hand near the dog’s face.
Trying to care for a dog who is frightened of strangers can be very difficult, and it’ll take a lot of patience and care on the owner’s part. All the same, if you are considerate and make the decision to always keep your dog safe from surprise encounters with strangers (and especially make a point of avoiding things like markets, dinner parties and parades), the pair of you can get through this.
REUNION OF THE DAY: Charli the Shih Tzu dog lost in Brisbane QLD Wednesday 02 May 2018 @ 13:00
REUNION OF THE DAY: Charli the Shih Tzu dog lost in Brisbane QLD
"I was told by the vet that a man saved her from getting run over on a major road where we live and took her to the vet clinic the same day she went missing.
The vet then kept her at the clinic over the w'end, he was going to drop her off at the local pound on Mon but he saw my "Lost dog" sign that I placed in the vet door Sat arvo after I finished work (they had already closed for the day) and rang me Sun morning.
I asked if the man left his details but he hadn't so offered the vet to reimburse him the cost of keeping Charli warm and safe but he wouldn't accept anything though he did ask that I book her in to be chipped, which I'll be doing next week!!" - Jodie
REUNION STORY OF THE DAY: Sophie the lost cat from Brisbane QLD Friday 20 April 2018 @ 13:00
REUNION STORY OF THE DAY: Sophie the lost cat from Brisbane QLD
"I adopted Sophie probably about 4 years ago. As she is an adopted cat, we guessed her age now to be about 7-8 years old. Sophie is an indoor cat only. So she’s not equipped to be outside.
Anyway, I came home from work tonight, and couldn’t find her. She would normally greet me at the front door but she wasn’t there. I looked for her everywhere around the house, and couldn’t find her. She must have slipped out the door when I left for work this morning.
I left around 7am and by the time I get home at 5pm, she would have been outside by herself for a good 10 hours. I panicked. I called rspca, called local vets, called the council, register her as a missing pet to several different organisations including LPF.
I did get a call from the council about an hour later, and said there’s a cat nearing Sophie’s description found about a suburb away. I spoke to the lady over the phone, and she tried to keep the cat there for me. I drove there, but the cat had gone away again.
But the lady was very nice, she talked to her neighbours even to people jogging down the street and asked if they’ve seen a cat. I eventually found the cat, but unfortunately it wasn’t Sophie. The cat was a local neighbours’ cat.
I went back home and walked around my area for a good 2 hours. I had her food bowl and was shaking it, calling out her name, stopping and listening carefully if I could hear her meow. I had her used litter box stationed outside the front door of my house, in case she tried to find her way back home.
And luckily, my friend came over with a great big white torch, and we found her VERY WELL HIDDEN amongst the bushes. I was standing there already with my iPhone torch for a few minutes and I couldn’t see her at all! But my friend with his big white torch was able to see her.
She’s now home safe and sound.
I would like to say thank you to LPF. Even though I didn’t find her through LPF but I must say the service was excellent. I get emails straight away, and my post was up straight away. At least alleviating my anxiety a little bit, knowing that I’m doing something and someone could literally be with her as we speak and saw the post.
If I can share my experience and what I’ve learned from it...typical cat (especially females) usually doesn’t wonder too far from home. A nice big white torch really does help and never underestimate how well a cat can hide. So when you look around the bushes, or up the tree, make sure you really really look.
And it’s better to look when it’s quiet. After traffic had died down, as you can hear the cat better and there’s a better chance the cat won’t be too scared to come out of hiding.
To everyone looking for their pet, I completely get the anxiety and sickening feeling. I hope it’s ok to say that I will pray for you and the safety of your pets." - Agnes
REUNION STORY OF THE DAY: Jesus the lost cockatiel from Brisbane QLD Thursday 19 April 2018 @ 13:00
"Little Jesus was in a tree across a creek out back, my Mrs spotted him from our bedroom window at about 6.30am. Just a white speck off in the distance. I went and looked sure enough it was him.
Was a bit scared would not come when called I had to climb tree to get him. hes been very affectionate since his return. hes a little worse for wear missing a few feathers but ok." - Steve