Don’t move and leave home without them. Your dogs and cats, that is. (Part 1of 2 part series)

Updated: Jun 9, 2019


If rescues and shelters had a dollar for every animal surrendered because the owner is moving and “can’t take their pet with them,” they no doubt would be very rich. Peta points out that moving frequently is the reason given for surrendering an animal. The reasons vary:

  • “Moving out of state and cannot take cat.”

  • “New landlord does not allow dogs.”

  • “Found cat in apartment next door after neighbor moved out.”

  • “No space in new home for dog.”


The animal rights group adds, however, that moving might just be the excuse for surrendering a pet; behavioral problems might really be the culprit. But the fact remains that people are looking for easy solutions and if moving with a pet is a problem, many people may be more inclined to part with their animal than seek a solution for keeping them.

When dealing with someone who is planning to surrender their cat or dog because of a move, ask them to reconsider and provide some tips to help them find a place that accepts pets and how to negotiate with a prospective landlord.


Search for pet friendly housing

Moving with your pet requires planning and working with realtors or rental agencies that can help find appropriate housing. If you need help finding the right realtor who can help, contact a local rescue or shelter to see if they can provide a recommendation. Some shelters also might maintain lists of local apartment complexes that rent people who have pets.


On the realtor.com site, you can search for pet-friendly housing by setting a filter for apartments that indicate they are fine with renters who have cats or dogs or both. PeopleWithPets.com is another free service directing readers to pet-friendly apartments available in a number of U.S. cities.


Put a Best Paw Forward

To ease prospective landlord anxiety that a dog or cat will do damage, Realtor.com suggests:

  • Provide letters of reference from past landlords that attest to your responsibility as a pet owner.

  • If you dog has been through training; provide a training class certificate.

  • Get a letter from your vet indicating your pet has been spayed or neutered and vaccinated.

  • Draft a “resume” for your pet that provides photos, certifications and an explanation of care you will ensure for your pet while you are at work. A personal story about your pet, how you got it, for example, can go a long way too in convincing a landlord about your responsibility as a pet owner and a good candidate for a rental.

Also be prepared to pay extra on your security deposit for any damage your pet may do as well as a pet fee or deposit, which may be refundable when you move.


Play it Safe

If the lease doesn’t mention “no pets,” you can assume it’s all right to have them. But best to play it safe, get clarification from the landlord or leasing agent in writing. Never sign a lease that specifically states “no pets allowed” even if the landlord says it is okay, says the Realtor.com site Doing so, would be a violation of your lease and present problems down the road.


Next blog, we’ll look at how to move your pets to avoid causing them stress.

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