Selling our Home, Moving and our Cats

Many people have asked me how our animals coped during the sale of our home and additionally, how they are doing now, living in a new space.

As we were selling our home and moving we took a few extra steps to ensure our home and pets were properly prepared.

In our household we have two Devon Rex cats named Chenille and Shinobi. We love our critters, but realized that selling our home was a perfect example of a situation where we had to set aside all biases and critically look at our pets, their habits and how this would affect the potential sale of our home.

As I was preparing to sell my home, I remembered the last time I was a home buyer. I have vivid memories of homes that we looked at that I didn’t even want to consider because the odor of pet waste was so prevalent that it made my gag reflex kick in. Those memories motivated me to take steps to avoid anything close to this happening with our home selling. Here were some of the steps I took to protect my animals and ensure a positive viewing experience for interested buyers:

  1. Ensured all odors were dealt with on a consistent basis. We own an air purifier that keeps the air fresh at all times. We ran it constantly in the basement where the animals’ litter boxes were located.
  2. Did a quick overview of the house and inspected potential cleanup areas right before an open house or showing. I would run around the house before a showing and make sure all pet toys and other “bodily function issues” were cleaned up and finished with a quick sweep-up or vacuuming.
  3. Made sure that all parties viewing the home knew that we had pets and set expectations around keeping the animals indoors. We chose to put our cats in a safe room with the door closed. They had food, water and litter. We made this decision after a scary situation where one of the cats got into the attic during a winter showing. The realtor and potential buyers didn’t realize she had slipped in there. The cat was scared and cold, but OK when we finally found her hours later. We wanted to avoid further situations like that, so putting them in a safe location with a closed door helped immensely.

Shinobi “helping” us recycle as we pack for our move.

Another challenge throughout this process has been pet anxiety. I first noticed my animals exhibiting signs of anxiety as we started having open houses and showings. It increased after the sale of the home once I started packing. I contacted a friend who is a vet technician that cares for our pets when we travel and asked her for advice. She suggested that if the symptoms seemed drastic enough, I could consider administering prozac for the cats. If the symptoms seemed minimal there was also calming treats or herbal supplements designed for the purpose of relieving stress in animals. I wasn’t prepared to put my cats on prozac, so I tried some of the other products. Here is the outcome of the products I tried:

Pet Natural Calming Cat Soft Chews seemed to work, but only if I fed them the maximum number of chews recommended per the packaging. One of my cats was on a diet at that time and the added caloric intake of all of the treats just wasn’t going to work for her needed weight loss. Additionally, the cost to calm two cats would have been ridiculous because the packages had so few treats included and I knew that our selling/moving process could take multiple months or even years.

Nutri-Vet Ease Soft Chews were rejected by both of my cats. Shinobi, my male cat, is not a fussy eater at all and he wouldn’t even attempt to eat these treats, while Chenille, the cat on the diet who begs for food all of the time, sniffed these treats and walked away. Because of their reaction I don’t have any idea of Nutri-Vet Ease effectiveness.

Animal Relief Formula by Flower Essence Services: I found this product at my local co-op and it was recommended by one of the employees working there. The product is a liquid and it’s in a small, glass spray bottle. The instructions say you should spray it on your hand and rub the liquid onto your animals ears, or spray it into an area in the home where they will be spending time. I chose the first application and my cats willingly let me rub their ears and didn’t seem to mind the floral scent it left behind.  Normally, when we try to apply any liquid to our animals they immediately begin to clean themselves, attempting to remove the foreign product that has just been applied. With the Animal Relief Formula they didn’t do anything and instead seemed to mellow out about 5-10 minutes after the liquid had been rubbed into their ears. I did have to apply it every couple of hours to ensure their relief continued.

When we got to the duplex, I continued to use the Animal Relief Formula for a week or two, until the cats seemed to calm down and settle into the new living space. They are now completely at home and love all of the windows they get to look out of on our second floor apartment.

Practicing for the long car ride in their new cat carrier.

Our next big “adventure” for the cats is our cross-country drive to Portland, OR.  I’m most nervous about this because, like most cats, ours hate being in a moving vehicle.  I’ve done of a couple of things in anticipation. I have set up an appointment with my vet a couple of weeks before the move to discuss calming and sedation options. I have also set out the new cat carrier in which they will ride. It’s in the livingroom to get them comfortable with the new carrier.

I wonder if anyone out there has any experience with this type of situation that they could share. We’re planning for about four full days of driving and I would love any advice you can share with me.

Once we get through the drive I’ll let everyone know what I tried and how it worked. Stay tuned for more stories about the Devons, Chenille and Shinobi and their cross-country journey.





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