Are you moving? How will the move affect your cats? Specifically, what infrastructure and support services will or won’t be available in the new community?
Maybe I tend to think about this more than some, but I am far from many services, given that I live in a rural area. But if I were going to move to a new community, here’s what I might think about ahead of time regarding my cats and their care.
How far will you be from the nearest vet? Will you have transportation to get to that clinic? And if needed, are emergency veterinary services available? How close are these, and are they 24/7? Is something 24/7? Can you set up these lines of communication ahead of time?
Do you have a choice of veterinarians in the neighborhood? Can you check them out ahead of time and observe their offices, clinics, and the demeanor of the staff and the customers? What’s the feeling you get about the look of the office, the manner of the staff, and the treatment of the animal patients?
Also, if you’re comparing potential veterinary clinics in your new neighborhood, can you get a sense of their philosophy of practice? This might be a little tougher to nail down, but maybe not. Perhaps you can talk to customers and see what they think of particular clinics. Online information, including websites and reviews, might give you an idea of a clinic’s perspective.
You can also ask directly. Does a clinic push vaccinations in older cats — vaccinations that don’t need to be given every year? Is the clinic open to alternative approaches that you might want, even if they don’t offer them? Do you like the way your animals would be treated at this clinic? While it may seem that you can’t know this stuff until after you’ve moved, you can do some digging to see if you can get a sense of the approach of a particular vet or clinic.
Are there professional pet sitters in the area, should you need to travel? Can you get references ahead of time? If no professionals are in the area, will you be moving near family that you’re comfortable asking to pet sit? If not, will there possibly be trusted neighbors? See what you can find out. It doesn’t mean you have to ask your neighbors to watch animals (you might never do this!) but it’s all good information about your future living situation.
If you live in a cold climate, do you have dependable heat when you have to leave? Will the heat stay on? If you live in a tropical place, will the cats be able to handle the heat? (If not, do you have a way to keep them cool?) Also, if you want your cats to stay securely inside, does the new place have sturdy screens so that a cat can’t intentionally or accidentally escape?
If your cats are indoor/outdoor, or strictly outdoor, is your new place near a busy road? Will you have to worry about your cat wandering into the road, or is your cat smart or scared enough to stay away from the road?
Online shopping makes some things easier (especially for those of us who live in the hinterlands) but sometimes you need something now. How close is the closest pet supply place? If you feed your cat special grain-free food, for example, can you get your hands on it locally if you happen to run out and need it now?
Sure, we can’t guarantee that everyone around us will be exactly like us (and who would want that?), but are there people who love and care responsibly for animals in your area? Are there local rescue or adoption organizations? Case these out and see what your intuition tells you. And sometimes, resources show up in the most surprising places. For example, in one move that I made, I was surprised to find out that the local Unitarian Church had an animal ministry (at the national, as well as the local, level).
If you’ve moved, did you consider your cats when developing criteria for a new community, or casing out a new community? What did you find? Share your thoughts in comments!
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About Catherine Holm: Told that she is funny but doesn’t know it, accused of being an unintentional con artist by her husband, quiet, with frequent unannounced bursts into dancing liveliness, Cat Holm loves writing about, working for, and living with cats. She is the author of the cat-themed memoir Driving with Cats: Ours for a Short Time, the creator of Ann Catanzaro cat fantasy story gift books, and the author of a short story collection about people and place. She loves to dance, be outside whenever possible, read, play with cats, make music, do and teach yoga, and write. Cat lives in the woods, which she loves as much as really dark chocolate, and gets regular inspiration shots along with her double espresso shots from the city.