Moving Home With Your Pet

Adapted from katzenworld.co.uk

Moving house can be one of the most stressful experiences in life, both physically and emotionally, especially with the added complications of social distancing. So imagine how confusing this time can be for our pets, who can’t understand why all these changes are taking place.

PDSA vet Anna Ewers Clark said: “Worrying that your pet might struggle to settle into a new home can add yet another layer of stress to the moving process. But there are steps owners can take to help their pets feel more relaxed.”

“Even confident pets can be daunted by all the comings and goings ahead of moving day, so try and keep at least one room free of too much change, where they can get away and find a bit of normality. Leading up to the move, gradually place food and water bowls, litter trays, toys and beds into this room. On moving day they should then be happy to remain in one secure room for a number of hours, with regular visits to go to the toilet and for reassurance.”

“Some pets may benefit from staying elsewhere to avoid the flurry of moving-day tasks. Once you’ve had a few days to settle in and everything smells more like home, you can then introduce your pet to your new home.”

Dirk sat on top of the upright bed keeping an eye on things

There are plenty of things you can do to help your pet settle quickly. Here are some simple tips:

  • Ensure your pet’s microchip details are up-to-date to increase the chance of you being reunited with your pet should they go missing or escape during the house move.
  • If your move involves a fairly long drive in the car (or a plane journey!) talk to your vet about calming supplements. I would recommend Zylkene which I used when we moved to London and Dirk had to be in the car with us for 7 hours. Talk to your vet to discuss which supplement would be most suitable for your pet.
  • If your pet seems nervous and doesn’t want to eat, small amounts of their usual food throughout the day will be gentler on their tummy while they are feeling anxious. Some pets (mostly cats and dogs) can feel the effects of travel sickness, so if your pet is affected don’t feed them too close to travelling time especially if it’s a long journey.
  • At your new home, place some of your pet’s toys and bedding into one room with a piece of clothing that smells of you. Dogs will usually prefer for you to spend some time with them to help them settle, but most cats will be keen to explore and may prefer some time alone to investigate their new surroundings. With small pets, try to put them somewhere quiet and make sure they have their familiar cage and bedding to help them feel at home.
  • If your cat is initially nervous and hiding (under the bed for example), don’t worry too much and give your cat some space. Most cats feel more confident exploring their new home at night when everything is quiet.
  • Once they seem confident, you are all moved in and you’ve checked there no hazards for your pet like nails or wires, let them explore the rest of the home. Cats should be kept indoors for a few weeks to help them become familiar with the home, so that they know it’s their new base once they are allowed outside.
  • Your vet can recommend a diffuser such as Pet Remedy or Feliway which can help your pet feel more relaxed.

Take Your Cat To The Vet Day

It is ‘Take Your Cat To The Vet Day’ today. This doesn’t mean we should all be taking our cats to the vet today, but it is important to take your cat to the vet for regular health checks. ‘Take Your Cat To The Vet Day’ wants to raise awareness about the importance of preventive health care.

Royal Canin and International Cat Care are advocating the importance of feline health care. How often your cat should see the vet depends on their age and health, but as a rule healthy adult cats should see the vet once a year. They can get their vaccinations and you can stock up on flea and worm treatment. Your vet will also want to keep an eye on their general health and check your cat’s teeth, weight and body condition.

Older cats should see the vet twice a year, just because they are more prone to serious health problems such as kidney disease. Cats are very good at hiding signs of illness and early detection is crucial in order to prevent the illness getting worse. This will help improve your cat’s life and may make managing an illness a lot easier for both you and your cat.

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Celebrate International Cat Day this Sunday!

The 8th of August marks International Cat Day! A day to celebrate all of our kitties 🙂

International Cat Day was originally created in 2002 by the International Fund for Animal Welfare as a way to celebrate the relationship that cats have with people and to support the wellbeing and welfare of cats. It is also a day when people can go to their local animal shelter and rescue a cat.

I’m sure you’ll give your cat some extra love on International Cat Day, but why not celebrate by supporting a cat charity? Check you local Cats Protection website to see if you can help by becoming a fosterer or volunteer. Or support a cat charity through a donation. Not sure which one to support? International Cat Care, Cats Protection and Battersea are a few of the bigger cat charities, but you can also support a more local charity, such as Catcuddles Cat Sanctuary in London.

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Coping With Blindness in Cats

* From my partners at katzenworld.co.uk

Advice from Vet Charity PDSA

A cat losing their sight can be traumatic, both for them and their owners. However, with some adaptation, blind cats can often continue to lead normal, happy lives.

PDSA Vet Olivia Anderson-Nathan said: “Conditions such as cataracts and glaucoma can lead to sight-loss in pets, but these illnesses usually affect older cats. In younger animals, sight-loss might be the result of an injury. Luckily, cats have an extremely well-developed sense of smell and hearing which they use to help compensate for blindness.”

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This is Flash, a blind cat I used to look after (he has sadly passed away now). He was hit by a car and lost his sight and his jaw was damaged too. This meant he needed to be hand-fed. Flash used to be a street cat but had to adapt to being blind, depending on people feeding him and living with people.

Owners concerned about their cat’s vision should speak to their vet. In some cases pets can develop eye conditions if they’re suffering from other diseases, such as cataracts, which can occur in patients suffering from diabetes. Other diseases, such as glaucoma, can be extremely painful and require immediate treatment.

The progression of certain conditions could also be slowed with treatment, so early diagnosis and treatment is very important.

Olivia added: “Your vet will check your cat’s eyes and general health to see whether there is an underlying condition affecting their sight. If a medical condition is diagnosed, they will discuss treatment options and provide guidance and support.”

How cats react to sight-loss depends on several factors. If they learn new skills quickly, then they will often adjust more easily to any impact on their vision. Older cats may already have a reduced sense of hearing or smell, so they may find it harder to adapt, though because their loss of sight is usually more gradual they often learn to compensate well.

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Flash adapted to his new life very well. He loved playing chasing games – though his carers had to be careful about making sure his environment was safe! He also enjoyed going outside and hearing the birds, sniffing interesting scents, walking around in the grass and experiencing the sunshine, wind and fresh air.

Olivia added: “Confident cats may adapt better than more anxious ones, but the amount of support an owner provides is also a big factor in helping pets adjust to sight loss.”

There are several steps owners can take to care for a cat suffering from impaired vision:

  • It’s important to help your cat learn their environment and surroundings, so keep furniture in the same place. It’s worth assessing your home and garden to make sure there are no sharp edges or items your dog could injure themselves on. Access to hazards such as fireplaces, balconies and open staircases should be blocked off and never leave anything on the floor that they could trip over.
  • Keep their bed, food and water bowls in the same place to avoid confusion. This will help your cat feel more confident in the house.
  • When allowing them outside, make sure they’re in a secure area.
  • Talk to them regularly as they will find your presence reassuring.

Olivia said: “Once they’ve adapted to the loss of vision, many pets lead normal active lives.

Keeping Pets Safe and Healthy this Winter

* From my partners at katzenworld.co.uk

As the darker nights are drawing in and the days get colder, PDSA is offering advice to help keep our pets safe, happy and healthy over the coming winter months.

PDSA Vet Nurse, Nina Downing, said: “With reports of wet, stormy and freezing weather expected over the next few months, it’s important to remember that, despite their fur coats, pets can suffer from the cold just like we do. They can’t tell us how they are feeling, or if they’re suffering, so it’s up to us to make sure we provide the extra care they need during colder weather.”

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To keep our much-loved four-legged friends cosy and content this winter, Nina has put together some top tips for pet owners.

Dogs and cats

  • Make sure they always have access to warmth and shelter – never leave them outside for long periods.
  • A suitable waterproof coat can help keep dogs dry, and especially good for pets that are very young or old, are sick, or have very thin fur.
  • Dogs will still need daily walks and cats may still want to go outside, but keep these excursions short and frequent, rather than longer periods outdoors. But don’t force pets to go outside if they don’t want to.
  • Never leave pets in cars, caravans or unheated conservatories, as temperatures can quickly plummet, risking hypothermia.
  • After a walk, towel-dry them straight away if they get wet. A hair-dryer on a low setting can be useful to dry off dogs with longer hair. To avoid burning your pets’ delicate skin it’s important not to hold it too close to their body.
  • Check pets’ paws regularly and clean any build-up of salt, grit or dirt from them, as this can be painful.
  • Wear a high visibility jacket yourself for walks on dark nights, and use a high-vis or LED collar and a hi-vis dog jacket to make walking near roads safer.
  • If you spot your pet shivering, bring them into the warmth straight away and call your vet. Hypothermia can develop quickly and can be fatal if not treated.

For more advice on taking care of your pet this winter, visit www.pdsa.org.uk/winterhealth.

PDSA is the UK’s leading vet charity. We’re on a mission to improve pet wellbeing through prevention, education and treatment. Support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery helps us reach even more pet owners with vital advice and information.