In the next few months we will be our first cross-country drive… with two cats. Last time we drove across the country, from Arizona to Virginia, we didn’t have to worry about keeping another living, breathing thing alive and happy. At the time, we were days-old newlyweds upset about leaving our families — it was hard enough to take care of just us.
But now, we are a happy family of four and we are relocating to Washington state later in the year and I have ample time to prepare for a car trip of this magnitude. I wanted to compile a complete list of the best car travel tips and create an inclusive guide for anyone else in my position.
I think firstly and most importantly: know your cat. Some cats are going to be hell on wheels (literally) during car travel. Some will get sick and need sedation. Some are going to just hang out, meow a few times and be fine. Know your cat’s behavior and plan accordingly. Planning well will take some of the stress out of car travel with your cat.
Before Your Trip:
1. Get your pet microchipped if you haven’t already.
There are tons of instances where pets have been frightened while traveling and end up getting away from their owners. In the case of such a heartbreaking event, having them microchipped will at least give them a good chance of being returned to you.
2. Pets need collars (most especially) during travel.
To further keep your furry friend safe and able to find his/her way home, proper identification is key. Have your cat wear a collar with your name, destination, phone number, and rabies tag. I also have my cat Ian’s HomeAgain tag with his name and microchip number which is a good idea too. Your pet will be riding with a lot of collar bling but it’s better than traveling without.
3. Invest in a great, safe carrier.
Some cats will be able to claw through cloth carriers so it’s advised to take your cat in something more durable during car travel.
I'm looking for some advice. My husband and I are moving to Sweden at the end of the month from Seattle. We are taking our... Read more
4. Practice car travel.
When’s the only time Mr. Kitty ever gets to ride in the car? Yeah, on the way to the vet. They remember that, they know that. So, before a long car trip it’s better to get Mr. Kitty accustomed to driving on small trips and coming home. This practice will lessen the anxiety he might feel when he realizes that not every car trip involves him getting shots or a thermometer stuck up his butt.
Bonus points if you let Mr. Kitty “visit” with the car several times before your trip and allow him to deposit his scent. Not pee. His scent, like when he rubs his face or his body on you, but instead does that to the car so he can feel more secure later when he smells the familiar scent in the car on travel day.
5. Get together kitty’s health documentation.
If you’re moving across the country (and states have different requirements), it’s better to get kitty checked out ahead of your car trip and have all of his health documentation with you. It’s also very important for kitty to be up-to-date on his rabies vaccination.
6. Look for pet-friendly hotels ahead of your trip.
There’s nothing worse than getting out on the road for ten to twelve hours and then having to spend another hour or two going to different hotels and searching for one that accepts your pet (well, unless you want to hide kitty?). A helpful website for finding such hotels (like tripswithpets.com) will help make your nighttime arrangements a little easier. Because, let’s face it, you’re exhausted from driving all day anyway.
7. Make sure kitty’s carrier is able to be restrained.
You wear seat belts so why shouldn’t the cat? Abrupt stops can cause carriers to slide, so make sure you’re able to put the carrier in a place that can be restrained with the seatbelt or able to remain stationary (like behind the driver or passenger seat on the floor — the lower center of gravity will cause less movement).
8. Practice with leash and harness.
If you haven’t used a leash and harness and plan to during your trip, practice ahead of time to get kitty used to the feeling of restraint.
Helpful Pet Travel Kit
- Supply of your pet’s regular food.
- Food and water dishes. (Put dry food in re-sealable bags or canisters. Canned food is also good and will provide extra water in Mr. Kitty’s diet while traveling which will help keep him hydrated.)
- Water from home (or bottled water). Different parts of the country have different kinds of water. Keep Mr. Kitty from being sick by using water from home that he’s used to or bottled.
- Leash or harness
- Favorite toys
- Comb and brush and any other hygiene items
- Flea and tick repellent (perhaps applied ahead of the trip)
- A sedative (if needed)
- Litter box, litter, and scoop (and liners?). There are many ways to go about kitty doody duty while on the road. There’s smaller litter boxes for travel and disposable boxes. Choose one that’s right for you. Flushable litter, dust pans, waste bags and wipes are useful as well.
- Air fresheners for hotel room use.
- Paper towels for any car messes or accidents. (Paper towels used to line the carrier will help reduce waste contact by absorbing urine away from kitty.)
- A cardboard, portable scratcher for evening hotel room scratching. Scratching helps kitty cope with the traveling stress.
- A blanket that smells of home to place in and/or around carrier.
- Optional: a lavender collar or spray is supposed to help keep your cat calm if he is especially anxious.
There’s something called a SleepyPod which is a mobile pet bed for dogs and cats. It could be a good investment if you’re a frequent traveler.
Tips For Traveling
Feed your pet three-four hours before starting to give food time to settle (and don’t feed/water your pet in a moving vehicle). Feed your pet once a day (preferably during the evening and establish a feeding routine).
Secure carrier in a safe spot and preferably where he can see you.
Plan regular stops for water and time to stretch kitty’s legs. Ice cubes are easier for pets with an upset stomach and freezing water in kitty’s water dish will help against any car spills.
Be a smooth, safe driver and keep the car a comfortable temperature. Oh, and avoid loud music. Yeah, I know you want to blast Megadeth all the way to your destination but kitty can’t take that.
Allow for regular potty breaks. Make sure car windows and doors are closed. Open the carrier door and allow kitty to come out on his own. You can place the litter box on the car floor opposite of his carrier. Allow him to stretch and roam for a few minutes.
Never leave Mr. Kitty alone in the car. Duh, but I have to say it.
Never allow kitty to roam freely in the car. Cats can burrow under seats (and under feet!) which can make dangerous conditions for driving. Small cats can climb up underneath the dash and become stuck and/or chew on wires.
Make sure kitty has some playtime during the day or evening. Traveling is stressful and they need time to relax and play.
Keep the windows up (the open window noise and wind can be unsettling to kitty).
Comments on How to move your pets across large distances stress-free
Thank you for all of this great advice. As a new first-time cat owner the pet posts have been my favorite lately on OBH. We don’t have any long trips with the kitty planned, but I’d love to get him more comfortable with the car in general because he doesn’t like it.
Your suggestion about letting him explore the car when we’re not going anywhere is especially helpful. Thanks!
Great advice 🙂 I don’t have a kitty (yet) but great read anyway.
I’m wondering though… does anyone have any experience or tips/helpers with moving animals internationally? We’re hoping to bring our dog from Australia to the UK and the pet passport websites aren’t always as helpful as they mean to be (or I’m thicker than they think their readers are!).
Also, while we’d like to be there every step of the way, my rational mind doesn’t necessarily see the point since you don’t see your pet between handing it to the airport staff in your take-off terminal and collecting it in your landing terminal. Does anyone have any experience sending an animal overseas solo? i.e. getting our parents to take our dog to the airport and “check in” for her, while we pick her up on the UK end?
I do! I just moved a cat from Costa Rica to Colombia (she travelled with me as carry-on) and from Colombia to the USA (shipping her ahead of us, family member picked her up) and then once again in a 4 hour flight within the US as carry on.
Useful advice: contacting embassies and consulates, they have information about requirements for air travel.
Contacting airlines or transportation companies that provide shipping services.
Your Vet will know (or be able to find out) if you need international health certificates, where to get them and other requirements.
I don’t regret sending my cat on her own, but I wish I had known that there was a chance they would leave her overnight since she arrived after the customs staff had left, even though my sister was there to pick her up. The kitty hates travel, so she was miserable all the way, and it really hurt me to think that the cat would suffer. But she was fine, it was more of a worrying mother thing: she had a clean kennel, water, food and she got over it really fast.
Extra tip: feliway. I used this pheromone product on the destination home so the cat would not stress out when she arrived to a strange place. I cannot recommend it enough. awesome stuff.
Thanks Jules 🙂 Feliway though? Is that only a cat thing?
The airlines is a good idea – I haven’t approached any direct as the feeling I get from websites is that I *need* to go through a pet passport service… but that could just be want they want me to feel so they get money..will have to look into contacting the airlines direct to see if they can help. Thanks 🙂
Jules, do you have any tips for having a cat in Colombia? My cat and I are moving to Medellin and I’m a little nervous. I’m having a hard time finding info on what diseases they have and what extra vaccines/preventatives she needs? Thanks!
Not sure what Feliway is, but Bach Flowers (ALL natural) has a Rescue Remedy for pets that works wonders. There’s also Rescue Remedy for people as well along with MANY individual Bach Flowers for various needs. You can learn everything you need to know here: http://www.bachflower.com
Also, I have to add (and this may seem like a no-brainer, but people sometimes forget this simple thing as they’re in the midst of their trip)—talking to your pets often, reassuring them and sharing what new adventures await them. This REALLY helps. This one simple thing, I noticed, is not mentioned in any article/website regarding traveling with pets. 🙂
I do! I moved two cats from Australia to the UK (and back!) in 2007. Here’s how it went:
I used a pet shipping company (can’t quite remember which one). It saves a lot of hassle – they pick them up from your home the day before, and then get them checked in and settled. I was on the same flight as them. They provided crates, and advised that we pack something with our scent (I used bunny rugs). I don’t think you are allowed to organise the transport with the airlines directly.
They can complete the six-month quarantine period at home before you start off. If I remember correctly, only Qantas and British Airways are allowed to transport animals. Once you land at Heathrow, it will take four hours for them to clear your dog. If you decide to come back to Australia, your dog will have to spend a month in quarantine here.
Anything else, just ask!
Thanks! Only a month? We were told it was 3-4 months on the way back… Damn. Wish we’d known that earlier – we would’ve brought her with us when we moved instead of waiting to set ourselves up..
So there’s no way around using those companies? They haven’t been very helpful so far (not answering queries or emails and just plain ignoring me). Do you know if it’s possible to send animals solo from Aus?
My husband and I just moved from Tamworth NSW to Wichita KS USA.
We transported 2 cats, 5 dogs and will transport our horses next March.
I won’t lie it was stressful for us and our fur kids.
Our babies had never been away from us so this was a big shock to them.
We had to board them in Sydney for a week whist we got settled.
Their flight details kept changing and they had been re-routed a couple of times.
The issue we had was no one had ever transported so many animals from the one family. Also we weren’t going to a major city.
We have always had our babies vaccinated and yes kennel cough.
That didn’t matter as 3 of our babies got kennel cough.
After some research I treated them with vit C, echinacea, an immune support herb and lemon and honey. Within a week all good.
We used Petraveller, Lenny Thomas. I did so much research into his company as I had watched horrible videos on the net about international pet travel.
Lenny made it easy.
It is important to crate train your pet for at least a month.
Unfortunately logistically you won’t be there every step of the way. However, you can get video and regular updates.
It is too difficult to arrive in a new country and collect bags and an animal.
We staggered the arrival it gave us a week to find somewhere to live and get ready for their arrival.
5 weeks forward and our dogs are still a little over excited and one has taken to peeing in the rental.
You just have to be patient with them.
I know they would have been scared and I hated doing it to them as they don’t understand but the alternative of not having them with us was not an option.
You don’t have to vaccinate for rabies until you get them to their new home. At least we didn’t have to in the USA. Australia is on the clean country list and there was no quarantine. There is a medical check up before they leave. This is all taken care of by the pet transport people.
We originally had a thought to save money organise it ourselves. Looking back there was no way we could have.
There are lots of rules and regulations and mountains of paperwork that was all taken care of by a Lenny and his team.
If there is anything else you’d like to know just ask. Hope this was helpful.
One further tip. Ensure that the microchip is registered and contact info is UP TO DATE with the microchip company. It is not enough to have a chip, you have to make sure that they have proper info for you in their database, otherwise the chip company cannot do their job. Do not assume the vet registered the chip, that’s not their job, it’s YOURS!
Sorry if I come across as a hardass about this, but you would not believe the number of lost pets who have chips and cannot be re-united with their owners because of missing/old information! It’s really tragic when you think about it, such a little detail, and it can keep Mr Kitty from ever being returned to you.
So true! My cat Ian had a previous owner so I did have to get onto his Home Again information and make sure it was our family as his ‘home.’ That’s a very important tip to remember. 🙂
I second this!! I’m an animal control officer, so I constantly see ow many animals have a microchip…that doesn’t have up to date information or isn’t even registered to begin with. If you don’t KNOW if your pet’s microchip is up to date, call now and find out. Don’t wait for an emergency.
I also recommend getting one of those metal tags made up with your phone number and address, and keep that on your pets as well. I pick up a lot of dogs that just have the town license tag…which is great, unless it’s a weekend and we can’t look up the tag number in the city’s system. Or they just have the rabies tag…also great, but not helpful. If you want your lost pets returned home the fastest way possible, make sure their collar fits properly(!!!) and at least has a tag with your contact info on it. And make sure they wear it!
If you’re moving internationally: do some research about local pet/microchip registries and laws in your new country beforehand, and get the paperwork in order. Different countries use different systems. If your pet gets lost at their new home in, say, UK, it won’t help a bit if they’re properly registered in the US or Germany because the local vet or humane society who finds them won’t check a foreign database.
When I used to travel with my kitty, I’d buy a pack of the puppy housetraining pee pads to line the bottom of the crate. Then if Boo Cat had an accident, it was really easy to clean up.
Having had to stop in Bumf**k, West Virginia to clean out a poopy cat carrier, I want to “THIS” your post a thousand times.
May i recommend a product that really works? Oxyfresh’s Mellow Out Pet Relaxant. http://www.oxyfresh.com/pet/nutritionals.asp
It has all natural ingredients. I used it to move my cats last time (just a short move, but still). They both love yogurt (which they don’t get much of, or often), so i split one capsule of this between them (opened it and mixed the powder into yogurt in two bowls – half each) and it just makes them way less anxious.
(in fact, a friend of mine takes it *herself* when she gets totally anxious about something – but that’s another story.)
I was also going to suggest a soothing supplement of some kind first. See what your vet recommends.
If you’re going to give your kitty valium then test it out before the trip. Most cats are mellowed out by it, but some get wound up by it.
I would suggest getting a dog cage, we moved two cats cross country and having an oversized cage was great. They had way more room to move around in, and yet were “safe”. If I do it all over again I would totally look into a cat valium, or seditive!!!
I totally read this as “I would suggest getting a dog cape,” and was totally like OMG DOG CAPE YES!
I can just imagine how many shreds this would end up in if I tried to get my dog to wear one 🙁
OMG YAY. Thank you so much for this perfectly timed post!
I’m moving two hours south next week, which is a tiny trip for me but probably the longest car ride my cat’s ever been on. I’m totally nervous about having him move with me, and this helped me feel a lot better about the process. Thank you!
Anyone have any tips for helping a cat acclimate to a new home?
I have loads of tips!
When you get to the new place, put the cat in either a bedroom or bathroom, with food/water/litter box, and shut the door. If cat gets comfort from cuddles or your presence, stay in there. If cat is totally freaked out, refuses to come out of the carrier or hides under something and won’t come out, just leave him alone and let him explore at his own pace.
When he’s not freaked out by the room anymore, open the door and let him explore the rest of the house at his leisure. Try to scatter around things that he’s familiar with: his toys, clothing/blankets that smell like him, you or the old place, his scratchy thing, his bed, whatever.
It’s possible that he may pee on some stuff to make it smell familiar, so if you make it smell as familiar as you can before he’s out, that may help. Also, he may have an upset stomach from the stress, so vomiting/diarrhea/constipation/pooping in weird places can happen. If that happens, give it a day or two and if it’s not getting any better, see a vet.
He also may stop eating and drinking from stress, so make sure you have his favorite gooshy food on hand to tempt him. If you’re concerned about hydration, mix warmish water with the wet food to make kind of a soup.
Feliway or other kitty calming spray stuff may help him acclimatize faster. Try not to freak out yourself, he can pick up on your anxiety. If you act normal, like you’re totally at home, and let him do his own thing at his own pace, it’ll help. Also, don’t overwhelm him with attention/cuddles/trying to play. For a lot of cats, it’s actually better if you kind of ignore them unless they are actively seeking playtime or love, at least until they settle in.
Hope this helps!
Keeping your cat in one room at first is great. Make sure it’s the room where their litterbox will eventually be, so that way as they explore outwards, they at least know where their litterbox will always be. If you have to move the box elsewhere, at least way a couple weeks and then move it gradually. Cat is is notoriously difficult to remove, so better to prevent anxiety accidents before they happen!
I’ve moved a few times with my cat, and this is what seems to work for him:
I immediately grab him out of his carrier, and then take him on a tour of the house, showing him where his tray is, his food, and then I knead his claws into his scratching post to scent it. Then, I let him go. He might hide for a day or two until he feels comfortable enough to explore. I give him pats as he’s going past but otherwise I leave him to go at his own pace. He’s quite mellow once he’s settled and I’ve had no accidents, etc.
Email: I would add that I recommend putting an email address on your pet’s collar, especially if you’re changing provinces/states and to a different area code.
People may be confused by an out of area number or even not call it if it’s long distance, whereas an email address gives them an additional quick and easy way to get in touch with you. If you already know your pet is missing you can put on an auto-response to let the emailer know you’re actually in the city in which they found your pet, etc.
If you’re flying with your cat, be aware that you will have to carry her through the metal detectors without her carrier. Most TSA agents are really nice about helping you get the cat back in, but you should be really sure that you know how to confidently and securely hold your cat. If she doesn’t like to be held, practice this in advance.
These are all excellent suggestions and this post has great timing! My fiance and I are moving from central pa to sw florida early next year and I’ve been fretting over how to deal with moving our kitteh meow too. He does well in a crate and even takes a thermometer in the rump like a champ but I just worry that moving and being in a car for two days driving wouldn’t be ok with him. I bought him a leash and a harness (Im afraid of him getting out of a collar) but he absolutely hates it. Anytime I put it on him, he walks backwards till his backside hits something and then he changes direction. Hilarious but also a concern. I hope it’ll go smoothly!
I’d suggest one thing to avoid: don’t clip one of those water bottles that looks like an oversized version of a hamster bottle to your pet’s cage hoping they will drink from it. They won’t, and if the one you get is anything like the one I got it will just dump water into the carrier and make for annoyed and damp cats (or dogs). Dispite the labeling those things don’t seem to be made for travel.
In terms of pet friendly hotels, if you are in US all Motel 6s allow pets and don’t charge an extra pet fee. Pick up one of their guides and use it to plan where you are going to stay, or use their website to do the same. It isn’t fancy, but it is pretty cheap and is a good enough place to stay while on the road with pets.
Most LaQuintas are pet friendly too
YES – nearly all LaQuinta Inns are not only pet friendly but do not have 1) a pet fee or 2) a restriction on size or number of pets you have with you.
We just moved from LA to Nashville by car — with two dogs (40# and 50#) AND two cats in tow. La Quinta Inns were relatively inexpensive lifesavers.
Our honeymoon was spent driving the USA and our dogs were with. LaQuinta was the only place we stayed. Super convenient when you are travelling “fly by the seat of your pants, drive till you see something you want to look at, or till you’re exhausted” style.
I just did a 15hr drive from Calgary to Vancouver island with 2 cats and a moose of a dog. I am never doing that again!! One cat whined for the entirety of the trip and the dog took a week to acclimatise afterwards. The best solution I can add is GRAVOL!! My vet recomended it and it was a life saver. Use more than you think you’d need and test our your cat’s response before because like kitty vallum it can make some kitties hyper active.
Anyone know about giving *dogs* valium or the like for plane travel? We are planning to vacation on the other side of the country this summer for a couple weeks, and were hoping to bring the dog along, but he would have to ride under the plane (not sure exactly how they do it with large dogs). Planning to ask the vet about it, of course, but wondering if anyone had personal experience.
There are a lot of potential issue with air travel for dogs – if it’s just for a short vacation you pet would most likely be happier boarded somewhere in your home town. Pets can have health and psychological issues from the pressure, extreme temperatures, and noise, or could be lost in transport or even (worst case) die.
That’s not to say pets should never fly! Just that your furball might be better off boarding at home if it’s a short-term two-way trip. 🙂
If cost is the issue, transporting your pet round trip would be roughly $300 (plus $100+ for a crate if you don’t already have one). Varies per airline but likely costs more than boarding at a reputable facility.
Tried to edit my comment but having browser issues. Just wanted to add that I have a lot of experience transporting dogs, as I lived in the far Canadian north and would escort shelter dogs down south to new homes and to shelters with more resources and space.
Before doing that, I didn’t realize just how traumatic it was for them, but being able to hear their whines and realize how loud the jet engines were for them and their sensitive ears, and how long they had to be kenneled and packed just for a 1.5 hour flight….it was heartbreaking (even though I knew they were going from a cold sparse northern shelter to a warm loving home).
That’s the perspective my comments come from. 🙂
If it’s really that bad for them, would you recommend a doggy valium for long trips? i.e. Australia to UK…
I think using valium or not depends so much on the dog. I know many people who have moved their dogs overseas with no valium and no issues (all one-way moves with no intention of returning). I’d consult with your vet, and like others have said try it out while still at home to make sure your pet doesn’t have a negative or allergic reaction.
Thanks Kiki… We’re already overseas (were only thinking of coming for 6 months and didn’t think it was fair on our pup, turns out we want to stay) but maybe we could get our mate who’s dogsitting to try it out for us…. Just hard when we can’t judge the effect on her ourselves.
Most airlines (at least in my experience in the US) actually refuse to fly a dog that has been sedated, due to potential breathing and balance issues. That being said, when my husband and I moved from Texas to Hawaii, we brought our three dogs and one of them is an incredibly anxious dog. We felt it was potentially more harmful to her to be that stressed for ten hours than to be on something. Our vet gave us some pills and we tested them out with her before we left to try to determine a dose that would chill her out without being too obvious to any airline employees. It seemed to work pretty well and no one noticed, although by the time she landed it was mostly worn off.
For a couple weeks it would be better to leave the dogs at home and get a dog sitter or have a friend come by to walk them. If they can’t be trusted alone, board them at your vet’s or at a kennel. For a couple of weeks it is not worth the stress and risks of bringing pets on a plane, particularly if they are too large to carry on with you.
Please don’t ever put a dog on a plane in the cargo area. They are treated like baggage and it’s not safe for them. If it’s not safe for you, it’s not safe for them. Drive or leave him with a reputable boarding facility or a trusted friend.
This website has some great tips for decorating your dog’s crate to encourage extra care by baggage handlers!
Soon I am moving to Canada, and will be taking my 2 birds (cockatiels) on an 8 hour drive plus ferry ride. Unfortunately, there is no way to make it less stressful AND safe for them.
A cover for their cage, if you don’t have one already, will help a LOT. Dark, muffles the noise, etc.
HaHaHaHaHaHa! Moving pets stress free? There is no such thing. I have moved my pets from NJ to CA, from CA to VA, from VA to Italy, from Italy to PA, and now from PA to CA. Some by air, some by car. All are stressful. Very stressful, because they are my babies and they each have their own issues. Being prepared is the only thing you can do. Issues will come up and you will have to roll with them. I’ve shipped elderly pets, brachiocephalic pets, and pets that could barely be crated. I hate moving my pets…but I couldn’t ever imagine leaving them behind.
Did you drive with them? How did you do it?
For anyone else looking at transporting dogs from Aus – UK, check out Qantas’ details. Ship direct with Qantas using freight. Details here: http://www.qantas.com.au/cargo/pdf/CI-UKPettransportScheme_2010.pdf
Thanks everyone for all your advice – very helpful and much appreciated!
My husband is in the military and we have had to move our two corgis, many, many times. Most recently we moved them from Arizona to Japan! We have learned a few things that I don’t think have been mentioned:
1. Make sure you have an easily accessible change of clothing. One of the corgis got really carsick and when we let him out of his crate so we could clean it out the first thing he did was jump all over my poor hubby – ick!
2. When dealing with hotels and airlines we always print a copy off the pet policy. Sometimes employees aren’t well informed and it can really help you out.
3. Bring more copies of their health records than you think you need.
4. As soon as you know you will be moving start saving for expenses related to traveling with your animals. Even with the military discount for plane travel it cost several hundred dollars once all of the microchipping, testing, crate purchasing, etc. was completed.
5. A friend of ours who is a flight attendant with BA told us to always alert the staff on the plane if you have pets underneath. It’s another failsafe to make sure the captain is aware of any pets.
I drove three cats and a surly father in a small Firebird from San Jose to Tampa (4 days on the road), and I have a few ideas:
AAA has a very handy guide to hotels that allow pets.
Oversized carriers are definitely the way to go. I had to put two cats in an oversized dog crate and the third (who didn’t play well with others) in a regular sized cat crate. They were definitely more comfortable.
Make sure all your kitties are used to wearing a harness, and keep the harness on during the trip.
Instead of litter boxes, I used Gladware disposable plastic containers (the largest available, which was the size of a small litter box) in the cages plus carried a couple of covered spares. Whenever a cat used the litter, I could pull over, pull the container out and seal it with the lid, replace it with a fresh container of litter and continue on my way. The only trouble I had was when one cat overturned the container plus his water dish, and I spent a night in Phoenix cleaning litter mud out of the carrier.
the disposable gladware is a genius idea for a long trip.
I recently moved from NY to DC with two rabbits. Rabbits HATE the car, they won’t eat or drink which is dangerous for their digestive tract.
I put them in a small cage that fit on the backseat of the car, and had been used as a litterbox by them for a few weeks leading up to the move.
Their cage had a lining of recycled paper pulp litter so it was nice and cozy, and a pile of hay on the side.
Stupidly, I mounted their water bottle. Next time, I’ll go without it. It leaked all over the cage and poor Dover’s fur was wet.
I brought a bag of mint and parsley that I’d dunked in water so it would make up for any non-drinking going on. I would stuff their cage with veggies every now and again.
I stopped a few times for at least 20-30 minutes to get the rabbits to eat.
I kept the music low, and air conditioner not blowing on them.
When I got to the new house, my boyfriend and I got them inside as quickly as possible, set up their cage, and let them wander their new space. I didn’t go to sleep until I saw them eat and drink. Overall, I think I was more stressed out than they were.
The last time we traveled with cats, it was about 10 years ago when we relocated to Alaska from the lower 48. This meant driving for about a week on the Alcan with said kitties. They actually rode in my (ex) mother in laws truck since they were her cats and she thought they’d do best up by her. The first day out we were delayed because one cat freaked out and decided to poop all over his carrier after only a few minutes. We detoured to her sister’s house, washed the cat, and continued driving. After that, the cats were ok. If you’re on a long trip they do eventually give up on the meowing and yowling and just snooze I find. Definitely find pet friendly hotels, and in the case of cats you should bring along extra litter and kitty litter boxes for when you’re at the hotel or you need to give them a potty break. I don’t remember letting them out of the car to go potty – we didn’t want to risk them making a break for it. They survived the journey though. 🙂
All of this is really handy information, but I have a question: have any of you ever moved a pet by train before?
I’m in university about three/four hours away from my home town and I recently adopted a cat. I’ll be going home for Christmas, and I’m concerned about getting him home because I don’t think I’ll be able to drive there (my parents are paranoid about me driving through Toronto). Does anyone have any tips on keeping kitty happy and calm on a train?
Thanks a bunch for all these helpful tips! I’m about to move to my hometown which is about 500km away from the city (a steady 4-5 hour drive, I reckon). My cat has never travelled long distance and she is NOT good in cars. I am very nervous about the road trip, albeit a short one. Especially when it’s going to be me driving alone with my cat, in a moving car. I have tried my best to keep her routine as normal as can be. I locked her in the bathroom with her bed and toys when the movers came to pack and load our belongings. When she finally came out of the bathroom and saw an empty house, she seemed freaked out a bit. Her cat condo is gone, so was her favourite armchair. She looked lost. She wouldn’t leave me out of her sight while I cleaned the apartment. I was so stressed out by her reaction. And now I’m stressing out over the upcoming road trip. Wish me luck!
I like your site very much, all your comments are extremely helpful, thank you!, I’ll be traveling soon from Florida to North Carolina and I’m nervous about taking our cats with us, but we will stay over six months and we can’t abandon our cats. We already bought the super sized dog carriers and we are going to have two and three cats in each carrier. We already set up one carrier and placed it in our living room, and the cats love to go inside, so we hope there will be no problem for them to adapt. I will follow your advice, will get the Gladware containers, some scratchers, collars and leashes, and Oxyfresh. I hope we will be lucky and our cats will enjoy the trip!! (unimaginable, of course!). Thanks so much to all of you!