The two cats and I arrived in our new house in the Hudson Valley last weekend, and after a relatively uneventful four-hour car ride (if you can dismiss the nearly constant unhappy vocalization of Puja from within her cat box in the back seat of my car), I remembered some key things about moving into a new home.
Firstly, be sure to lock your pets in a secure room while you initially get settled and investigate the possible pitfalls and danger zones in the new home. A missing screen on a first floor window could have proven disastrous if I hadn’t realized it before opening it.
Secondly, check out the basement and any unusual storage spaces for possible gaps, holes and danger zones, such as water heaters and oil tanks. The same goes for a garage that could be (accidentally) accessed by curious pets. We discuss the very serious danger of antifreeze in the article “How to Winterize Your Cat” on page 11 of this issue. “Pet-friendly” is not the same as “pet-safe.”
My two cats had been microchipped when they were young, so I made sure to update my information with the company that controls the database. A new address and current phone number are vital pieces of information in case your pets decide to wander.
For extra security, I bought two break-away collars for them to wear with ID tags emblazoned with our new address and also my phone number. I am very careful that they won’t make it to the outside world — and luckily, they display a healthy amount of trepidation and concern about what’s going on outside in the big, bad world — but I thought it might not hurt in case there is a door left ajar when guests visit. I also introduced myself to the neighbors, letting them know I live with two cats and showing them pictures to let them know they belong here with me.
Lastly, I tried to make certain areas of the house extra cat-friendly — like setting up their cat tree near a thicket of trees that holds host to any number of birds. Rocky — shown below — especially likes the view from the bedroom window of the foliage and the Esopus creek.
While it’s still too early to call it “Home Sweet Home” — I can at least say that it’s already “Home Safe Home” for my four-legged family members.