Monday, July 10, 2006

Gazehound's Animal Communication News: July 2006

*July 2006

Keeping in touch with the animals....
and the people who love them


Some time ago, a client asked if I could do an article on moving house with your pets for the newsletter.  Unfortunately, the person has already moved since, and I'm just now getting to the news issue!  However, I still like the idea, and would like to thank Traci for thinking of it!  Hopefully there will be some information in here that will help her little family settle in to their new place.

Although this article focuses primarily on moving house, much of it can also apply to adopting a new pet, or bringing a pet to a kennel, pet sitter's or other temporary arrangement, too.

As always, it helps to try to think like your animals would, and perceive the situation from their unique viewpoint.  What is important to a dog, cat, bird or other pet as he adjusts to his environment?  What will be the most difficult thing for him to adjust to?

Dogs, for example, are very scent-oriented.  All animals smell better than we people do (there could be a joke in that, but we won't go there.... ) but canines in particular are very dependent on their sense of smell.  Therefore, one simple solution to helping a dog feel comfortable in a new home, is to transport familiar smells before you transport the dog.  Having something he recognizes and feels comfortable with in place when he moves in will give him something to anchor to.

Birds are very visual.  If it's possible to set up the bird's room with familiar objects from home before you move her, it will go a long way toward helping her adjust.

Cats are possibly the hardest animals to move.  Cats tend to be oriented to energy, and they anchor their own energy fields to objects and places.  Therefore, when one moves a cat, one is literally amputating the cat from its environment.  This is one reason it is very urgent to keep cats who normally go outdoors inside for quite a long time after moving.  I recommend at least three months ... the energetic ties to the old home are very strong, and a cat cannot help trying to follow them when he feels their pull.  When moving house, it's very helpful if you can bring object that the cat is accustomed to along and have them in place before you move the cat himself.  It will be easier for him to attach to his new location, if there are already anchors in place that he is, quite literally, connected to.  This amputation is also the reason many owners report that their cats become depressed after a move ... it actually, quite literally, hurts some cats to be moved from their familiar places.

One caution I cannot stress strongly enough is for the person to be absolutely rabid about keeping their animals secure.  Be paranoid, be fanatical, jump all over people about keeping doors closed.  If necessary, put the animals into a back room during moving day ... both out of the old and into the new houses.  Lock the door, keep only one copy of the key.  Put up signs all over the place threatening bodily harm to anyone who opens the door.  I cannot count the vast number of times I've received frantic calls from people who have lost a beloved pet because a workman left a door open!

In the new place, it's best to set up one room in advance, move all the animals into it with food, water, litter boxes, and lock it up tight.  Then, particularly with cats, give the animal a few days to accustom to that room ... lay down new anchors, as it were, before allowing him access to other parts of the house.  Once you're removing barriers, do so gradually, letting the pet explore outward from this new "central headquarters", laying down his scent and connections as he goes.  Being in a big rush to acclimate a pet to a new place often leads to confusion, so be patient with your friend, and let him meet the new house gradually and at his own comfort level.

Of course there will be those animals who are dying to explore, and will let you know vocally that the "a little at a time" approach is not for them.  Be flexible if this is the case, of course, you want to find a balance between security and adding more stress by being too restrictive.  One area you can not "give" on, though, is letting that outdoor cat out the door!  He's just going to have to learn patience until he's so firmly ensconced in the new digs that he won't be inclined to follow the pull of energy back toward the old.

Another issue people often have problems with after a move is house training.  Cats forget where their litter boxes are and reliable dogs suddenly start having accidents.  Remember that animals don't always generalize such things very well, and be prepared to do a little 'refresher training' with your pets when you move.  The dog has to learn where the new doors are, where the yard is, and where in the yard it's okay for him to go.  The cat has to be anchored enough to the new rooms to remember from the opposite end of the house where she left her litter box.  This is another good reason for restricting freedom in the new house at first.  It helps the animals to gradually learn what is what, and where is where, with confidence.

Talking with your animals, well in advance, about a move always helps the process.  Remember, when you talk to them, to paint mental images.  Find familiar comparisons when discussing time ... "It will take as long to get there as it does to go to grandma's house" is going to be easier for a dog to grasp thank "It will take two hours in the car."  If possible to take a dog to the new place for a few visits, and to leave her scent in the yard, that will also be very helpful.  That's a little harder with cats, birds and other pets, of course, but consider bringing some "scent" from the new house home to the old for introduction purposes if possible.  When talking to them, remember to include images of things like neighbors and their pets, any unusual landmarks or noises in the new neighborhood, and other major differences.  Moving a cat from the country into a busy city, for example, is going to be less of a culture shock if her person has been successful in "playing" sounds and images for her ahead of time.

Moving is always stressful for everyone involved.  Hopefully, seeing things from an animal's viewpoint, preparing a few things ahead, and having a plan for their comfort and safety when they arrive, will remove some of that stress for both you, and for your animal friends.



Don't forget that you can keep up with changes and info on rates, policies, and "other fun stuff" on my website:, and that you can find archives of this newsletter and other articles on my Creature Thoughts Blog:   

Gift Certificates are always available, and a way to order communication sessions at a savings.  From the website:
"Gift certificates will be sold at the regular session rate of $30/half hour session, There is, however, a special rate for anyone who orders three or more at one time. Ordering 3 or more gift certificates will reduce the cost per session to an individual session rate of $25/session. Therefore one Gift Certificate will be $30, two will be $60, but three will be available for $75, with increments of $25 per certificate over three. This will be permanent pricing. Gift certificates are non-refundable and other offers, warranties and discounts do not apply. "
Brochures and Business Cards
Thanks to everyone who requested that I send brochures and/or business cards to give to friends, put in pet supply stores and vets' offices, etc.  If anyone else would like me to mail them such supplies, to help "spread the word", just drop me an email with your mailing address and how many you would like, and I'll be happy to send them out to you!



I was thinking about the newsletter today, once I realized how late I was in writing it, and Miss Pree came by and started circling my feet and talking to me.  Being busy at the time, I told her we'd talk later, so once ready to discuss the issues, I went looking for her.

I found her in one of her usual spots, with her mother on top of the bathroom linen closet.  When I asked what she'd like to talk about today, she turned and looked at Sachet and meowed.  "Her."

Sachet is not only Pree's biological mother, she's her best friend.  The girls are "thick as thieves", as they say (and often each have a paw in the thieving, I'm sure).  Pree's point, when I questioned her, was that animals have personalities just like people do, and, just like people, some get along better than others do.  Just like with human friends, certain personalities mesh, and others do not.

She indicated her brother, Sasha.  Sasha and the girls just don't get along.  It's not that they fight, or that they hate each other, it's just that they have not bonded much at all since Sasha returned home to us at age nine.  He just turned thirteen and, though they all tolerate each other, Sasha is the "lone wolf" of the cat pack.  He tries, occasionally, to approach his mother and sister, but they just aren't all that interested. 

Pree suggests that humans watch the personalities of their animal friends, and accept that the animals themselves make the choice of who their partners are.  If someone brings home a kitten, thinking the older cat needs a friend, and the older cat turns out to not want anything to do with the kitten, the person shouldn't be hurt by it.  It could just mean that their personalities don't mesh, or that the older cat hasn't made up his mind yet about the newcomer.  And if they never quite hit it off, it's nobody's fault ... the two individuals just didn't connect.

In closing, Pree added that it's always a good idea to provide space for each individual to have his or her own 'quiet spot' ... even animals that do get along sometimes need a place to go off alone.  If personalities are on the 'friendship fence', having that guaranteed spot for privacy may make the difference in whether or not they will eventually bond.



Gayle Nastasi
Animal Communication Consultant
Free bi-monthly newsletter:
Creature Thoughts Blog: