Long car trip with cats

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by perennial, Mar 30, 2005.

  1. perennial

    perennial Well-Known Member

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    We will be moving in June to another state with two cats. Vet
    suggested a pill tranquelizer based on their weight (which he will do).
    Has anyone tried this?

    One cat is 12 1/2 pounds and body slams cage and howls - 20 minutes of
    that and i'm crazy - 6 hours for two days or 12 hour day i will be insane!

    Other cat is 8 pounds cries, nervous, etc. - doesn't body slam cage.

    Is regular size cage o.k. for that if they each have their own cage?

    Any suggestions would be swell.
     
  2. jlxian

    jlxian Also known as Jean Supporter

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    Just on the short jaunt (6 miles) to the vet our newest cat threw up twice and bm-ed once. Whew! The vet said it was because she couldn't see out the window -- cats need to be able to see out to avoid motion sickness. I know you didn't mention that as a problem, but you might consider the possibility of it being a problem.

    If I was going a long distance, I would do the tranquilizer. We have not ever done the tranquilizer on the cats, but used to have a dog that had problems with car travel -- tranquilizer worked for her. I don't know what to tell you about the cage size.

    Sounds like you are in for a fun trip. Good luck!
     

  3. Ravenlost

    Ravenlost Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I moved four cats from Texas to Mississippi (seven hour trip) and gave them a tranquilizer before leaving. Worked pretty good. They could'nt see out the window (that does help) but we didn't have any accidents. All were fine when we arrived at our new home.

    I have also moved three cats on a trip that took 21 hours straight. None were tranquilized and none were happy when we got there (but then, neither were the humans).
     
  4. havellostmywings

    havellostmywings Well-Known Member

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    we just drove from texas to nevada with two cats, each in their own carriers... my daughter sat with them.. and made sure they had water, and gave them a little bit of food... not a lot...

    now .. to be honest... the one cat moved with us from nevada to texas 8 yrs ago... and made the trip fine... and then he has moved all over texas ... so he is a seasoned traveler.. the other cat we got in texas and she did a little bit of traveling with us... in texas and then back to nevada... we did not tranquilize them... we just talked to them... .. and one of the things we have done, is let the cats use the carriers as their sleeping quarters in the house.. stacked up... so they were quite comfortable with the carriers.

    Hope that helps

    Lynn in Nevada
     
  5. januaries

    januaries Well-Known Member

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    I took a 9 lb. cat on an airplane with me like a piece of carry-on luggage. Including car rides and layovers, it was a 24-hr. trip. The vet gave me a sort of tranquilizing pill for her and it really seemed to help. Used a soft-sided carrier and had very little trouble.

    Took the same cat on a 3-day car trip from NE Georgia to south Texas. Used no pills of any sort, and had a hard-side carrier with a soft liner. Every morning, for 20 minutes or so, she'd let me know that she'd prefer to be somewhere else. But after that she'd quieten down and was fine.

    For several months before the road trip, I got her accustomed to the carrier. I would give her treats in it and play with her in and around it--thread yarn through the openings and little finger games of hide-and-seek. Every evening, when the whole family was in the living room, I'd put her in the carrier and sit beside her for 10 minutes or so. Sometimes I'd distract her by pulling string through the openings or something. I always left the carrier in the living room so she could go in any time. After a month or two she'd go in the carrier on her own and snooze there, being a part of the family while still having her own spot.

    During the trip, she rode in the passenger seat with the front of the carrier facing me, so she never felt isolated or abandoned. I was careful to shade the carrier as much as possible, and used the air conditioning to keep it cool. ( I've read that you can wrap an ice pack in flannel and put it in with them to help them keep cool, if you need to.) She's a small cat and the carrier was a medium-size cat carrier, so she had plenty of room to strech out.

    I packed a small litter box and little bags of litter for the motel rooms. She wound up exploring the room all night long and then sleeping most of the day in the car.

    If your cats freak out easily, I'd recommend gradually introducing them to the whole experience. Get them accustomed to their carriers. Take them on short car rides (around the block) and give them really good treats. Gradually make the rides longer, but keep up the treats. Make the whole thing seem as calm and normal to them as possible. It may take some time, but I think it will help.

    I had another cat, whom I didn't teach to like his carrier first. Drove 6 hours from KY to GA with him. He howled and drooled for an hour or two, but I just turned up the radio really loud. After that he gave up on howling and just sat there miserable and drooling. I felt like a terrible owner. It may be that some cats you can't teach to like their carrier, but I think it would help at least a little.
     
  6. Jeslik

    Jeslik Well-Known Member

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    I've moved across country several times with cats and never used trank's; my vets didn't like them, and my cats hate pills. If you aren't taking a trailer, and they have to be in the car with you... I'm very, very sorry. ;)

    You can try a couple of things. With one cat, I actually let the cat roam free, with the cage open. Most of the time, the cat would be in my lap. This let the cat be reassured by me and kept the screaming to a minimum. The only problem with this is that the cat seems to want to hide under the pedals, and that can be a problem... Also, it can limit your arms mobility, so I wouldn't suggest it in high-traffic / congested / or or on rough roads. I also made a trip with two cats in a very large dog kennel (which gave them room for a litter box, water, and food, and let them have a little room to themselves), and I put a blanket over the cage to muffle the sound and prevent any 'spraying' from damaging the upholstry. After a couple of hours, they stopped complaining all the time, and slept most of the day away. The best trip by far, however was made with the cat in the moving truck. But that is best done in the cooler months; in June I think it might result in cooked cat.

    Other people I know have tried to de-sensitize their cats by making daily trips with the cat in the car, and they claim some success. Good luck !
     
  7. perennial

    perennial Well-Known Member

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    thanks for the ideas - i may try the practice riding - "if i'm brave".

    Thanks so much.
     
  8. Cabin Fever

    Cabin Fever Life NRA Member since 1976 Supporter

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    Moving cats....huh? What comes to mind is the movie, "Family Vacation," with Chevy Chase. What kind of bumper does your car have and do you have leads for the cats?
     
  9. IMContrary

    IMContrary Well-Known Member

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    Tranquilizers are a God-send...either give them to the cat or take them yourself! One of the two of you will need it.
     
  10. idahodave

    idahodave Well-Known Member

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    We used to take our cat on 1500 mi trips...he had free roam in the car and slept most of the time. I did take several days to acclimate him to the car...for the first few days I took the morning paper and a cup of coffee along with the cat and sat in the car while I read the paper.....then we sat in the car with the motor running....then a short trip around the block. At first motion the cat complained a bit and hid under the seat, so I cut a hole in the side of a cardbord box and put it on the floor. Next trip he hid in the box for awhile and then came out and explored, then returned to the box and slept. I did this over a two week period. He was old and on the last trips we put a heating pad in the box-he loved it. Good luck
     
  11. Swampfoot

    Swampfoot Active Member

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    We have made a couple of 10 hour moves with our cats. The best thing I have found is to put a towel or blanket over the cage. They will usually quiet down and sleep as long as they are covered up. We tried once (Once!) to let one roam free in the car. That was not a pleasant or safe experience.

    We got tranquilizers from the vet on one move and our oldest cat road with me in the truck. We listened to Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, and Black Sabbath all the way. I always wondered what she thought about her "trip".
     
  12. Reillybug

    Reillybug Active Member

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    We drove from Alaska to Colorado (3300 miles) with 6 cats. Also drove from Virginia to Alaska (4500 miles) with 3 cats. We didn't use tranquilizers either time as that makes eating/using litterbox/drinking more difficult since they are wobbly and don't seem to care about food/water then. The cats were free in a Suburban with a gate behind drivers seat and were quite contented. The most important thing we had to remember was to put the cats back in carriers before opening any doors! They voiced their displeasure loudly each day, but not for long and it decreased daily. By the end they didn't care, and now they don't mind car trips at all - even to the vet!
     
  13. GoatsRus

    GoatsRus TMESIS

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    Just my 2 cents, but....we tranquilized a cat we had on a trip from Florida to Tennessee. It was horrible. He screamed almost the whole way and was so pitiful looking it was breaking my heart. We decided not to tranq on the way back and he didn't scream nearly as much. I'd forgo the tranqs. We now have another cat who runs and jumps into the "goatmobile" every time we go out to feed...he loves to ride and will get in the car any time the door is open.
     
  14. Cindy in NY

    Cindy in NY Well-Known Member Supporter

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    We moved 4 cats from Georgia to Upstate NY over a 4 day period. Each had they own cage and we stacked them in the back of the station wagon. Each one got a pill every morning. They whined a bit in the early morning but then calmed down and slept for most of the day's driving. I have transported cats loose in the car before (never again, not safe unless behind a gate) and have transported them without pills. For our cats, the pills were a God send. You might want to get the pills so that if you decide you need them, you'll have them. Good luck!
     
  15. hatwoman22

    hatwoman22 Well-Known Member

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    I cant name the number of cats I've traveled with, and all distances. We lived in a big rig with 2 cats for yrs, day in day out.
    Traveled in cars as well, we always let the cats loose if you simply knock em a few times with your foot it will get the message accross to stay out from under the peddles. Watch out for car sickness, if you travel with animals you will ALWAYS have at least one insident of it. Pack baby wipes, or a wet dish cloth in a zip lock bag.

    Get a small dog harness fit it snugly, or keep the kennel handy and make sure to remeber to put them in it before you get out. Ours always got used to the motion after a few hours of hiding.

    I"ve never used tranqs, although I seriously wish I had had some on my last trip. But for my jack russel not a cat. He was horrible! didnt stop whinning the entire trip, and it got worse whenever someone got out of the car.

    Good luck with your move, and safe driving.
     
  16. melinda

    melinda Well-Known Member

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    My two cats rode with us from Houston to Arizona 2 vacations before moving here last year (10+ hours in the car at a time). We put them in cat harnesses with leads, and had one carrier for them to sleep in (put a bed pillow in it, with a towel) and one carrier with a porta litter box. We left the carrier doors open - one cat stayed in it most of the time, the other one did some roaming and lap sitting. No howling, no tranquilizers. Neither one wanted to eat or drink in the car. I was pretty amazed, because I'd heard horror stories that some cats never stop howling. Now I wonder if that is true...

    Neither of these cats had spent more than 10 minutes in the car on the way to the vet and back before the first trip. But I did leave the carriers in the house for them to get in and such (yep, they did).

    If you do let them roam, I'd be sure they are in harnesses and you know exactly where they are in the car whenever you stop and get out. Putting a tag on the harness might not be a bad idea either. Just in case.
     
  17. Grandmotherbear

    Grandmotherbear Well-Known Member Supporter

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    We inherited the cats (now singular) from one of my Hospice patients. They hated, hated HATED the carriers- we decided they were called in kitty language "bad kitty boxes". Stuffing them in the carriers and taking them in the car was a HORRIBLE experience! As Grandfatherbears mom's health declined and we needed to take over more of the maintenance on the lake cabin, we had to take an unhappy cat back and forth 2 hours with us.
    Until Grandfatherbear suggested, maybe it wasn't the traveling she minded, just the "bad kitty box".
    Of course, she had broken both carriers by then- hurling herself against the door until it finally popped open and warped the hinge area- and he noticed she would gradually calm down after escaping the carrier. Silly me- I thought carriers were REQUIERED for safety!
    Emma now rides back and forth with us almost every weekend. She goes back and forth from the back seat to our laps looking out the window and then down under our feet. Stays away from the pedals also.
     
  18. mightybooboo

    mightybooboo Well-Known Member

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    The harness may or may not work.It all is in the desensitizing before the move.We got KiKi used to the harness,and she stopped fighting it.

    Then we did some car trips with a carrier,she hated that but after a few trips she would stop yowling after 15-30 minutes,but still didnt like the carrier.

    Then came the motorhome trip.I let her free,and she did great,except for the time on the freeway when she decided my window was an escape hatch.Caught her by her tail on the way out. :eek: :eek: So no open windows. :no: :no: :no:

    Now I put her in the cabover loft/bed,with the harness and leash.She can look out the windows,walk around, and loves it,calm as a cucumber,sleeps,doesnt stress at all. :cool:

    Still not happy with the car carrier though,but she will meet us halfway,anyhow.

    BooBoo
     
  19. OldYellersGhost

    OldYellersGhost Well-Known Member

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    roaming around.
    Is your trunk going to be too full???
     
  20. perennial

    perennial Well-Known Member

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    We have a wagon - maybe i could put the cats, kids and hubby back there! He thinks he riding his motorcycle down while i do the car - NOT! I'm not that saintly.

    I'll definitely take the cat boxes out after the house sells and let them get used to them. I figure i'll take the advice of putting them up high enough in the back so they can see us and out the windows. and the pills of course not sure if for them or me!

    I'm pretty worried about letting them out in the car. Here is why.

    A new neighbor friend just before they moved here went to see family in another part of the state with kids, hubby and cat in cage. Hubby couldn't take the howling from the cat so he let him loose in the van. When they stopped, out the cat hopped never to be found. That was a year and 1/2 ago. My friends sister got a call the other day about a black cat with a chip inside him that the vet got the owners name and an emergency contact name for.

    Evidentally, after one year he turned up at a women's house and she took him in and placed an ad in the local paper that she found a cat description, etc. A family showed up and realized it looked like their cat, but wasn't it. They took the cat and kept good care of him for 6 months and at his vet appointment, the vet said why don't i check him for a micro chip and lo and behold, the cat is now back home with my friends.

    Isn't that wild..

    So i'm pretty nervous about letting them out of their cage.

    Thanks for all your responses.