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Confessions of a First Time Renter: 7 Things to Help You and Your Pet Have a Paw-some Move

Meow!....Meow!....Meow!

That’s how my feisty, food--and attention-loving cat Olivia wakes me up every morning for her breakfast …at 6 a.m. Good thing I never bothered buying an actual alarm.

Early mornings aside, having a pet to come home to and keep me company is really nice, especially since I live alone. In fact, finding a pet-friendly place was one of my must-haves when I was looking for a place.

Before I moved her in, however, I had to make sure I had everything I needed to make her feel right at home. Besides forgetting to buy a kitty litter scooper initially (only mildly necessary), everything went off without a hitch.

Here are the seven things I kept in mind before, during and after moving my kitty in.

1. Get the okay. Your obvious first step is to clear your potential pet with your landlord well before signing a lease. Since my building allows me to have up to two cats at no extra charges, I just notified my landlord of my intent to get one.

2. Get the essentials. On the drive to pick up Olivia, I stopped for some supplies. Friends and family had given me a litterbox and bowls for food and water. All I needed to get was some food and kitty litter. It’s a good idea to also pick up things like flea treatment, hair ball remedy, a brush and nail clippers (if you’re comfortable or used to trimming claws yourself) so these things are on hand. You might also consider one of those calming collars that can help reduce a pet’s anxiety as they adjust to a new place.

3. Make her comfy. To help her settle into her new home, I also picked up a kitty bed, treats and toys. Ironically enough, her favorite toy is one that I made myself and didn’t cost a dime. (Who’d have thought an old golf putter and some yarn would come in handy?)

4. Safety first. Before I drove anywhere with my feisty feline, I made sure I had a safe way to transport her. For both their safety and yours, pets should be secured anytime you take them in your vehicle.

5. Update her info. Let your vet know that you’ve got a pet on the premises. It’s also a good time to update your furball’s microchip, if he or she has one. Olivia does not–so I just let her vet know she’d moved from my parent’s house to mine.

6. Give her time. Every pet is different, so let them settle in on their terms. Olivia had lived with my parents for almost 12 years—so it was no surprise that a new space was scary for her. She spent the first afternoon hiding under a chair. Now, she’s queen of the castle.

7. Socialize thoughtfully. This is more for those who already have a pet and are introducing a new one. Be aware that your furry friends might not take to each other right away. Make sure there’s enough space to split them up until they get used to each other, if necessary. 

Taking these steps will help you and your furry friend have a positive experience during their “move-in day” and for many days to come. 

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