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Preparing Pets For Successfully Listing and Selling Your Home


One of the most stressful changes for people is moving, and for animals, it is no different.

According to statistics published by the Humane Society of the Unites States, 79.7 million households have at least one pet. So, here is your survival guide for some of the most common stress-induced issues furry family members may face during a move. For the sake of the most common household pets, we’ll only talk about dogs and cats in this post.


According to the vets at Pet MD, dogs generally tend to internalize their emotional pain, and the symptoms of their stress are usually bottled up until they literally explode from one end or the other.

Canine stress reactions usually manifest in tummy troubles like vomiting, diarrhea, constipation and/or a decrease in appetite. Either because they feel lousy or because of depression, they may also become isolated and sleep more than usual. The biggest concern, especially for those selling their home, is that some dogs will get aggressive when stressed out. Benji may be the sweetest dog ever, but having people parading through her normally quiet home at all hours of the day is not part of her usual routine, and it’s disconcerting. If Fifi normally has the run of the house, but now needs to be confined to a crate during the day, she is going to have a lot more energy to burn off once let loose.

To help relieve some of the stress associated with an impending move, Jodi Frediani, wrote in her article that the key to managing a dog in a stressful situation is balance and understanding.

If sellers need to make changes that affect their pet, like doing doggie daycare to allow more home showing flexibility, sellers should try to ease them into the transition, by maybe doing a few hours a day until the pooch can acclimate.

At the same time, keep everything else as close to the same as possible, like feeding times, brand of food and the amount of time you spend together.


Felines are nothing like dogs. If they ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy. Forget happy wife, happy life. If you have a cat, make sure you keep that cat happy, and everyone will be just fine.

Seriously, cats have a harder time with stress and change than the average pooch. The average dog doesn’t care if you replace the carpet, but to a sensitive cat, it could be the first sign of impending kitty apocalypse. Loud noise from workers preparing the home for market, strange people walking through the home and being confined to certain areas of the house are all stressors. Add a bunch of these unwanted changes in one month, and to a sensitive puss, they could set off unpleasant and unwanted behaviors.

Kitties may show their stress similarly to dogs in lack of appetite, less interaction with their people and hiding. Some cats will groom excessively to the point they create bald spots.

The biggest problem with a stressed puss is when they decide to stop using the litter box. Especially if your cat starts “decorating” furniture and expensive carpets, this is not only a smelly problem, but one that can be expensive to remediate.

Pam Johnson-Bennett, a cat behaviorist, said that when getting ready to move with your feline family members, try to take household changes slowly.

The “pull off the Band-Aid in one rip” approach does not work for cats. Repainting, new carpet installation, moving a litter box and a busy open house all within the same week is just too much for most cats to process at once.Limit your changes to things that are absolutely necessary, and during this period do not change brands of food, litter or the location of food, water or litter boxes. Make sure kitty has a safe place to hide.

Cats also have very sensitive noses, and many of the scented litters reek with faux florals. Just like being in an elevator with someone who bathes in cologne, overpowering odors are at best annoying, and at worse, can make your cat feel ill.

If kitty has an accident that you can smell but not see, you may need to buy a black light and a gallon of Nature’s Miracle. Cat urine will glow in the dark, so if you cannot find the source of the odor, the black light will.

Nature’s Miracle, which is now sold in most grocery and almost all pet stores, is an enzymatic cleanser that breaks down the urine and removes all traces of odor so even Precious’ sensitive nose can’t detect the spot to redecorate in the future. If the entire carpet glows, you may need to have a professional tackle the cleaning.

It is important to note that your pet’s “naughty” behavior is not done out of spite — it’s a cry for help. By making a few changes, we can all learn to share our home in relative harmony.

Portions of Blog post from an Article by Maria Dampman, the owner and manager of Smiling Cat Farm and a Virginia State licensed Realtor and ABR with Century 21 Redwood in Leesburg, Virginia,  published by Inman, Nov 9, 2017

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