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Car Travel

Travel Forums General Talk Car Travel

1. Posted by ChaosAngel (First Time Poster 1 posts) 11y

OK.. this isn't quite a travel question, but more of a moving question, but hey- still travel!!

Ok, to the point. My husband and I are talking about moving to another state, more specifically from Florida to Ohio. We would be driving, probably in the moving truck to save money on gas on driving the moving truck and our mazda.
We have a cat and we are trying to figure out how we're gonna bring him on a long car trip.. we have some ideas, but none that're great so far.. I would appreciate some tips and advice. But, please- I don't want to hear about giving him up, or he can stay behind. He is coming with us! :)

2. Posted by GregW (Travel Guru 2635 posts) 11y

How is your cat in the car now? All my cats went crazy in cars, because the only time we ever took them in the car was to the vet. Therefore, they howled and panted and batted at the box we kept them in constantly.

I have read advice that you should start by taking your cat out for short drives to get them accustomed to being in a moving vehicle. Over time you increase the length of the drives, and hopefully the cat gets accustomed to riding in a car, and is calm about it.

I would take the cat in a carrier of some sort. Unless your cat is a tiger or lion, you should be able to find a carrier the fits in between the two of you on the seat of the moving truck. Make sure the cat has food and water (especially the water).


3. Posted by Isadora (Travel Guru 13926 posts) 11y

Hi Sunny!

Traveling with your cat doesn't have to be a problem. Even if your cat hates the car at the moment - you didn't specify if he does or doesn't - that attitude can be changed in a rather short period of time.

Greg is correct about the short drive approach, but I recommend acclimating him to a carrier first. That is, making it a comfortable and safe place for him to be. I have nine inside cats and have been working with cats for 30+ years. Here are some of the "tricks of the trade" for easy pet travel.

1) Choose a carrier that will fit in your car, but also "roomy" enough for 2 cats. This gives him room to move around, stand, stretch and change positions. The more confined a carrier is, the less comfortable it is over long periods. Choose one that also had (preferably detachable) holders for food and water bowls. I don't recommend keeping water in the bowl while driving, but food should be accessible. Make sure he has access to water every 4 hours or so to keep from having him become dehydrated. Traveling is stressful even at it's most comfortable and cats become dehydrated more quickly than dogs.

2) Even if you haven't decided on a moving date yet, start acclimating him to the carrier. The most effective way of doing this is letting him decide when he wants to enter it. Remove the door. Set the carrier in an out-of-the-way spot in your home. Place a used bath towel or piece of clothing in it as a bed. I say used as in worn/used but not washed. It will contain you and/or your husband's scent. The cat will find that enticing. Do not force him to enter the carrier. In fact - forget about it. At some point, he will be curious enough to go in. If you see him in it, verbally praise him. Pet him if he doesn't bolt when you approach. Just let this routine go for about a week or so.

3) Once he has decided the carrier is just part of the furnishings, start placing a handful of dry food and a small bowl of water in there. In fact, some people choose to keep their cat's food/water in there 24/7. If you don't leave it there, vary the time of day frequently when you do place food. This doesn't give him the chance to equate carrier with food only.

4) Now, once he has accepted that much, put the door back on, leaving it open. Don't try to close it for a couple of days or so. Let him get used to the door itself. After 2-3 days, you can go ahead and close the door, but only leave him for about 15 minutes at a time. It's all a matter of conditioning him to the fact that the carrier is confortable and safe. That it does not mean an immediate trip out the door to the vet.

Over time, your cat will acclimate. I haven't known too many that haven't. It just is not a quick one week process. Once you have gotten this far, the short trips in the car can begin. Don't put the carrier away when you come back from trips - just open it up and then let it sit in that out-of-the-way place. Not "hiding" it from the cat will allow him to explore it again, when he's through being mad at you for the first car trip thing.

My parents traveled all over the US with their cat. My mother took a small litter pan with a bit of litter in it and wrapped it in a garbage bag. Each time they stopped for gas, she took it out, placed it on the backseat, Corgi did her thing, and back into the bag after scooping any solids. Their cat was so comfortable in her carrier, they would leave the door open while driving and Corgi would just stay in and sleep. While still alive, that cat saw more of the US than I have to date.

I have several more suggestions, but send a PM to me if you want/need more info on traveling with a cat. Hope this helps! ;)

ps: we're considering a move from Illinois to Florida at some point - I"ll have to move nine of them!

[ Edit: Corrected text. ]

4. Posted by Cupcake (Travel Guru 8468 posts) 11y

Quoting Isadora

ps: we're considering a move from Illinois to Florida at some point - I"ll have to move nine of them!

Ahem! .....and what about the REST of them?!?!?!?

5. Posted by angela_ (Respected Member 1732 posts) 11y

Quoting CupCake

Quoting Isadora

ps: we're considering a move from Illinois to Florida at some point - I"ll have to move nine of them!

Ahem! .....and what about the REST of them?!?!?!?

Quoting Isadora

I have nine inside cats

6. Posted by Cupcake (Travel Guru 8468 posts) 11y

But...........but...what about the OUTSIDE BABIES?!?!?!?!

7. Posted by Isadora (Travel Guru 13926 posts) 11y

Quoting CupCake

But...........but...what about the OUTSIDE BABIES?!?!?!?!

Angela - we also have 21 cats that live strictly outside. That's what CC was asking about since she has met them all.

CC - that will have to be arranged when we get the selling the house part. The outside ones will not be abandoned! Who knows - they may have to make the trip to Florida too! ;)

8. Posted by Cupcake (Travel Guru 8468 posts) 11y

You know, I would gladly adopt some!! :)