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Old 06-18-2010, 08:25 PM
312 posts, read 714,242 times
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I'm moving from Pittsburgh, PA to Raleigh, NC in September. It will be an 8 hour drive and my cat will be coming with me. Any tips/suggestions? How often should I stop for the cat's well being? Do I need to give her time out of the crate to stretch her legs? Would she be really dehydrated/sick if she doesn't eat or drink for 8 hours?

I'm sure its going to be very humid once I get south. Should I keep the AC on in the car to keep the cat from overheating?

What is your thoughts and opinions on giving the cat mild sedation from the vet?
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Old 06-18-2010, 08:34 PM
Location: Small Town USA Population about 15,000
442 posts, read 570,812 times
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I moved my cats from Florida to Utah, I used a cat crate and faced them looking out the window-this I learned from experience because they would deficate in the car. You do not need to let them out if you are real concerned you can get tranqs from the vet but I never needed them. The a/c will help. I did reach over and pet them and talked obsessively to them.
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Old 06-18-2010, 09:31 PM
Location: NoVa
18,138 posts, read 19,716,781 times
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there was another post not so long ago on this same subject. you may wanna try a search. very useful info in there...Good luck on your move3 and with your kitty!
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Old 06-18-2010, 09:40 PM
Location: Niceville, FL
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Remember that the typical cat sleeps about 16 hours a day, and a good number of those will fall during the time when you're driving. A good-sized carrier they can sleep comfortably in will probably be just fine, and a lot of cats wouldn't want to leave the carrier while in transit because it seems like a safe place compared to the scary world whizzing by so quickly that they can see out the car window.

When we've gone on long car trips with the cat, we've pulled the food the night before in the name of not having to deal with the litter box question on the road and then just offered water while they were in the carrier. Unless they have diabetes, other health issues or are otherwise medically fragile, missing meals for a day shouldn't do them harm.

Definitely keep the AC on as much as possible- drive thrus for the people food on the way if need be, and make the human's bathroom stops as short as possible. It doesn't take long for a car to go from 76F to far too hot for pets once the engine is turned off.

If you are thinking of the tranqs route, test them out on the cat beforehand. Some cats react horribly to sedation, and you don't want to discover that while you're on the road.
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Old 06-18-2010, 10:19 PM
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We have 8 cats and have had many more in the past.

Here are my comments about your trip: Give your cat some practice rides in your car (in a carrier) before you go.

Please be sure to use a spacious carrier, one that your cat can turn in easily, and don't use a cheap one. Get the best you can afford. The ones we have cost more than average but have not only a door at the side, but also a grilled door at the top. This is very important as your cat will get overheated, even with A/C, in a carrier that does not have lots and lots of ventilation. I have even read articles about this issue: People forget that a carrier holds in the cat's body heat and you want to avoid over heating of the cat. THIS IS VITALLY IMPORTANT - MUCH MORE THAN WORRYING ABOUT STRETCHING, ETC.!

Cool water and proper ventilation are absolutely necessary.

The only way a cat can cool herself is by drinking cool water. They don't have the ability to sweat. While driving, you need to stop and see if your cat is panting in the carrier. If so, your cat is over heated and that is something you must not let happen. CATS PANT TO LET OUT BODY HEAT AND COOL DOWN. IF YOUR CAT IS PANTING, YOU MUST COOL YOUR CAT DOWN. Bring along bags of ice and have them ready to lie next to the carrier if necessary, to keep the cat cool.

It would be extremely foolish to let your cat get out of the car to "stretch". If your cat is in a strange area, and runs for cover, s/he may not be found. Frightened cats can often hide in silence - no crying whatsoever - so as to avoid predators. Years ago my mother made the huge mistake of letting our cat out to stretch half way home and the cat ran off frightened and we never found him. It was a nightmare.

Your cat will be absolutely fine in a carrier the entire trip so long as you keep him/her cool and hydrated.

Be sure to provide a thick cat bed in the carrier. How would you like to lie on hard plastic for 8 hours?

Again, make sure that the carrier is extra large so that the cat can get into different positions.

I do volunteer work for cat rescue groups. Cats can lie for hours in a humane trap, for 12 or 16 hours. Safely.

Have a drop cloth to cover the entire carrier if the cat needs to calm down for a bit.

Good luck!

P.S. I would never use drugs to sedate a cat for a trip. Use Feliway and Bach remedy, works wonderfully and very safe.
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Old 06-19-2010, 10:37 AM
Location: Abbey's Road
24,467 posts, read 15,588,882 times
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The longest car trip I've made with a cat was 6 1/2 hours. I put him in a carrier and put it on the seat next to me. (Driving across the desert when it was 110. I wanted him near the a/c vents.) For the first 3 hours he was tremendously unhappy and would not settle down. Then my brain kicked in and I covered up the carrier with a sunscreen so he couldn't see anything. But could still get plenty of cool air.

The final 3 1/2 hours he slept. Like a log. Whenever I stopped I offered him foor and water but he wasn't interested. It ended up being a lot easier then I thought it would be. He suffered no ill affects from his ordeal I'm happy to report.
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Old 06-20-2010, 07:34 PM
Location: NW Penna.
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I always leave mine in the crates. They are too nervous and unpredictable if allowed out. They'll go rather berserk, then hurl themselves back in the crates, anyway. I throw a sun shield for car windshields over the cages. It's foil, and seems to reflect heat and light. If have sunlight on a cage, it will heat up instantly and be too hot for the animal. Shade is always good.

My cats prefer to NOT see any any scenery, lol. 2 out of 3 ride under their rugs, and #3 is such a nervous thing that he always rides up in the front seat with his people.

I keep the radio volume down, turn off back speakers. I keep the fan speed for the AC or hear low, because my cats will howl and be noticeably bothered by any loud music, open car windows, or high velocity fan noise.

If you have a cat loose in your vehicle, there's always a chance that he or she will pee someplace. I think that's worse than having to clean up dirty cages. But cats can be erratic and may not willingly go back into the cages. Might scratch up your or any passengers.

If you get the cages in advance and leave them around the house with the doors propped open, it might make the travel in them less stressful.

I always take along a folding dolly and some bungee cords and ropes. That's so if I get stuck on some highway and have to abandon the vehicle, I can take the cats with me. I'd leave my luggage behind if ordered to leave, but not my cats. With all of the wrecks, etc. you might be sitting out there a long time. Keep the fuel tank full, take water and food for you and the cats, and litter boxes in the vehicle and put them where they are easy to get to.

Ultimatedressage.com has lots of useful threads about moving cats. Some people there work with cat rescues, etc.
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Old 06-21-2010, 09:16 AM
Location: Abbey's Road
24,467 posts, read 15,588,882 times
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I''d like to add one more thing to what I did on my car trip. I TALKED to Neo pretty much the whole time. Saying his name, telling him what a good boy he was, reassuring him. And I stick my fingers into the carrier so I could give him a scratch and he could smell me and know I was right there.
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Old 06-21-2010, 09:47 AM
Location: Visitation between Wal-Mart & Home Depot
8,310 posts, read 24,187,496 times
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Originally Posted by hkrn44 View Post
I'm moving from Pittsburgh, PA to Raleigh, NC in September. It will be an 8 hour drive and my cat will be coming with me. Any tips/suggestions? How often should I stop for the cat's well being? Do I need to give her time out of the crate to stretch her legs? Would she be really dehydrated/sick if she doesn't eat or drink for 8 hours?

I'm sure its going to be very humid once I get south. Should I keep the AC on in the car to keep the cat from overheating?

What is your thoughts and opinions on giving the cat mild sedation from the vet?

Once you get into the south, YOU will want to keep the A/C on. The cat will reap the benefits. Even if the cat has no fluids for 8 hours, he/she will recover without ill-effect. Eight hours isn't really a very significant journey, but plan to make frequent stops to clean up vomit - cats are often prone to motion-sickness.

The danger is really to you and other motorists if the cat is a major distraction while you are underway.
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Old 06-21-2010, 10:43 AM
Location: Cushing OK
11,151 posts, read 9,294,422 times
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I moved from California to Oklahoma, and we kept the drives to about 8 hours. My cat did fine. She is terried of anything strange, so we did sedate her. I also used a harness and leash. In the motel room it stayed on. Cats can find some incredably small places to hide. The leash points the way when you trying to leave, lol.

But to stress the most... Feed the cat the night before but not in the morning. And empty stomach is best. Don't be disturbed if your cat doesn't use the litter box at all, most don't while traveling. That's why 8 to 9 hours is a good maximum length drive. And most important of all is a good carrier, which locks well. Reinforce the latch if the cat batters it. Make sure its not made of fabric and mesh. And don't every have kitty loose in the car. An open window, a door thats opened, it doesn't take much space at all for a panicked cat to run through. And you can not chance the cat coming to you while driving and compromising that.

Get the carrier a month or so early and sit it open on the floor. This way kitty is used to it and their smells are there. They will find it much more comforting that way than if they have never seen it.

If you stop to eat and can't do drive thru, get a take out and eat where there is shade for kittie IN carrier to rest. Offer water but not food. Its likely that the cat won't take water either. But in 8 hours you'll be okay.

When you get to the new place, bring in the carrier, and set up a room just for kitty, with food and water and litter and familiar objects. Shut the door. Forbid anyone from opening it until your done moving stuff in. Your cat will not be comfortable in the unknown new place and a room with a solidly shut door will help give them some security. When your done, go in and sit with kitty, but don't just let them out to explore immediately. Let them get used to the room and go from there. Make sure the door is shut when the cat is loose in the house until they are comfortable there since like in a car they can run out to the unfamiliar.

As for sedation, it varies by cat. Mine was so terrified the first day she was shaking. She didn't make a sound the whole day but was too scared to. So she got a trank from the vet the next two days and it was much better. But other people have had no problem with their kitties and no sedation. You can also take the carrier and cat and take some test drives to see how they react before the real thing.

And relax. An 8 hour trip is a breeze.
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