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Traveling with Cats – Suggestions?

July 17th, 2012

Our biggest worry about our move to Maine is getting all the cats up there. We have 2 outdoor cats, one is indoor/outdoor and quite tame (Dexter), the other is still kind of feral. She’s only been in a car twice, both times to go to the vet. Dexter gets carsick, though we’ve found a homeopathic treatment that works for him. Samson & Soafie, the indoor cats, aren’t much for car travel either. All the cats spend the entire time in the car yowling, panting, and generally causing a ruckus.

I’ve been wondering how we’re going to handle taking them all up to Maine. It’s a LONG drive, usually taking 12-13 hours in a car, with a moving truck it will take even longer. The plan is to drive the car behind the moving truck with just the animals in the car. The Chiots may ride with Mr Chiots in the moving truck, she is quite fine with long trips. In fact she gets all excited when it’s time to go somewhere in the car, especially “to grandma’s”.

As much as I’m against pharmaceuticals and drugs, I’m actually considering a sedative for all 4 cats to make the trip a little less stressful, both for them and me. The thought of spending 14 hours in a car with four yowling cats isn’t a pleasant one for sure. I also don’t want to have to worry about any of them escaping during a rest stop.

I figured that a couple of you must have had experience with this and might have some suggestions for me on traveling with cats.

Have you ever traveled/moved long distances with pets (cats, dogs or other)? Any suggestions for making the trip less stressful for them?

60 Comments to “Traveling with Cats – Suggestions?”
  1. Bettina on July 17, 2012 at 5:12 am

    I once travelled with a cat that was like that if it was in the carrier. If out of it, it was no issue.

    So I bought a dog net (small enough holes for the cat not to get through, installed it, put the cat loo in with it, and off we went.

    The only thing to remember is that you have to put the cat in by first putting it in the transport box, then taking it into the front of the car, unhooking the net and putting it in the back, otherwise it will escape out of the car.

    You might want to try this to practice. Also, that way you can give them food and water, during the trip as well, when you take a break.

    Reply to Bettina's comment

  2. Jenn on July 17, 2012 at 6:00 am

    If you are using a large moving truck with a high up cabin – please be careful if your dog is in there – our black labrador jumped out of the cab and just lay there on the floor unable to move – after a vet trip we found she had slipped a disc in her lower back – she still has problems to this day.

    When I moved I just put up with the yowling of my 3 cats – but we only had to drive 3 hours. That was bad enough. I can’t imagine how maddening a journey 4 times as long would be.

    I’d echo the suggestion above – if you decide not to sedate. Give them as much space and freedom as possible, and if they all get on let them be with each other.

    We had two of our three in a large dog crate and they were more content than the anti-social one who had to go on her own in a little carrier. They still yowled but not as often.

    Reply to Jenn's comment

    • Susy on July 17, 2012 at 7:58 am

      No worries about the Chiots jumping out of the truck, she no longer jumps in/out of the car. She tore her ACL many years ago and as a result is very careful when it comes to jumping. Mr Chiots would definitely have to lift her in/out of the truck, which means she may be traveling in the car with the cats :)

      Reply to Susy's comment

  3. Sasha on July 17, 2012 at 6:27 am

    Honestly it’s not an easy thing … i travelled with my cat and dog via airplane … what i wanted to ensure the most is thier safety but most of all i couldn’t bear the idea of them being nervous … i had to give them sedatives as perscribed by my vet … the journey went well … even though they were awake sometime before the journey ended … sedatives might not be the best idea but it will solve the problem if you ask me ..

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  4. jennifer fisk on July 17, 2012 at 6:44 am

    One option would be a pet transport company. You could also consider flying them to Bangor which isn’t a huge distance from your home by Maine standards. If you put them in a boarding kennel prior to your departure you could have them arrive by either means when it is convenient for you. Either would be priceyish but would save you the hours of cats discontent. I know sometimes cats travel better at night.
    I would withhold food, allow water, from any that get car sick for 12 hours prior to departure. If you chose to go with a drug such as Acepromazine remember that animals on these drugs have trouble regulating their body temp so you have to maintain a safe temperature for them.

    Reply to jennifer fisk's comment

  5. Barbara on July 17, 2012 at 7:13 am

    I used to travel with my cat Dan, both by car and by air. He had a comfy Sherpa carrier, which ‘breathed’ more than the plastic kind (and was machine washable if he got sick). I’d take him out on a leash about every 3 hours during car travel for a walk. I was afraid to sedate him for air travel because of the (small) risk associated with sedation. We moved from the Netherlands to Maine a couple of years ago and our two large dogs and one old cat did not enjoy the trip, but I think they all felt it was well worth it to be in this glorious corner of earth. :) Good luck!

    Reply to Barbara's comment

  6. Terry on July 17, 2012 at 7:41 am

    I drove from Arizona to Ohio with 2 cats, a rabbit, and a hamster. The cats would cry and cry and then fall asleep until I would hit a bump then they would wake up and cry some more. I don’t have any good suggestions but I am glad you are a great pet owner who will be taking your pets with you. We get so many at the Humane Society who are surrendered because there people are moving and can’t take them along.

    Reply to Terry's comment

  7. Courtney F. on July 17, 2012 at 8:02 am

    My old boss (who ran a petsitting business on the side) recommended cat pheromone diffusers for moving. Petsmart carries them, according to the website. They generally are made to plug into a wall outlet, but you can get adapters for your car charger. I’d probably test its effectiveness at home before investing in a supply and an adapter for the trip.

    Reply to Courtney F.'s comment

  8. Songbirdtiff on July 17, 2012 at 8:21 am

    I haven’t tried moving long distances with cats, but I absolutely understand how stressful it is just on short trips! I think I would get a large dog crate with room for a litter box and plenty of soft blankets/towels. That way you would not have to let them out to potty during the trip. I would seriously consider a mild sedative just to take the edge off. They would probably still cry some, but might control the all out panic.

    Reply to Songbirdtiff's comment

  9. cecilia on July 17, 2012 at 8:22 am

    I moved from California to Vermont with 6 cats. My vet suggested a light sedative to keep the stress level down. I’m not sure how it worked on the cats, but I felt great! HA, just kiddin’. The amount I gave them didn’t knock them out, but just chilled them enough so there wasn’t any of the hell raising frenzy associated with traveling in the dreaded car.

    Though you may not need to make an overnight stop, I do have one tip that I tell pet owners who need to stay at a motel. Before letting your cat out out of it’s carrier, check the base of the bed. We found that many of the rooms we stayed in had platform bed with a good sized opening towards the top of the bed. A perfect little hidey spot for a scared kitty. Unfortunately, had any of ours gone in this little opening, we would have had to dismantle the bed to get them out. Once we got hip to this, we would block off the opening before letting any cats out of their carriers. The last thing a weary traveler needs to do is tear apart a bed frame to rescue their freaked out cat. Not good for either party.

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  10. Erin on July 17, 2012 at 8:23 am

    I’ll second the try them loose in the car. All of my cats flip their shit when they’re in their carriers, but when I open the doors they all find their own place to chill and are quiet for the most part.

    For one of my old cats (may he rest in peace), the vet told us to give him 10mg of benadryl whenever we had to travel, which made him hilariously high as a kite, but also quiet and not flipping out everywhere.

    Reply to Erin's comment

  11. Allison on July 17, 2012 at 8:37 am

    Oh ick! I’ve never traveled long distance with cats, but I do have one piece of advice. Don’t feed them within the hour before you leave. If they get nervous, they will throw up. It’s not something fun to deal with right when you’re leaving. Good luck with that!

    Reply to Allison's comment

  12. Emma on July 17, 2012 at 8:57 am

    We went down the sedative route ourselves for our last move, and it was the best decision we made. I have one cat that gets carsick at exactly 20 minutes, so a three hour move was going to be awful. I tried dosing them with benadryl that morning (it’s supposed to help make them drowsy), but all it did was make them mad and more anxious than they were before. I ended up making a last minute appointment to see a vet and had each of them given a sedative. After about 15 minutes, it noticeably kicked in and we hit the road. For my car sick cat, he would have one pitiful, quiet meow about every fifteen minutes and that’s it. The other one just huddled in the back of her carrier and waited quietly. It made the move so much less stressful for everyone — and we will definitely be doing it for our next move.

    Good luck! I tend to stay away from medication unless necessary, but moving is so stressful for them already, we’ve found it to be helpful for everyone involved.

    Reply to Emma's comment

  13. Allison on July 17, 2012 at 9:01 am

    Susy I was also going to suggest something similar as Courtney has on with diffusing essential oils. There are different oil blends that can be used for calming that you may want to look into. Also, I would suggest putting each kitty into their own little travel carrier to.

    Reply to Allison's comment

    • terry on April 22, 2016 at 7:51 pm

      What oil blends do you suggest. I will be traveling in the car with my 2 cats, first time for them and they are indoor cats and not people friendly they hired. they are large cats so I can not take them for a trial run. I did purpose to pet carriers for them.. How do I use the oil blends, I would appreicarte any suggestions. I’m relocation about 4 hour trip. Thank you for you help. Terry

      Reply to terry's comment

    • Jenna on May 1, 2016 at 7:20 pm

      Please do not use essential oils around cats at all.

      They are toxic to cats and can be lethal.

      At best, they diminish kidney function and could lead to kidney disease showing up in later life.

      Feliway, on the other hand, is a phermone rather than an oil and is very effective.

      This is what the other poster was referring to.

      Reply to Jenna's comment

  14. liz on July 17, 2012 at 9:05 am

    I have traveled from CO to NE, about 8 hrs, with a cat and a dog. My vet recommended Benadryl for them both. It chilled them out and made them nap. It lasted about 6 hours. I wasn’t high on it, but after the first trip with no drugs I would have done anything to make it there with my sanity. They yowled and barfed and peed. It was not awesome!

    Reply to liz's comment

  15. Melanie J. on July 17, 2012 at 9:12 am

    I haven’t used sedatives yet, but after our last trip with our cat (5 or more hours travel at a time from Florida to the Carolinas), I learned my lesson…we’ll board her for scouting trips pre-move now and invest in a sedative for the move. I love her to pieces but 2 solid hours of meowing before chilling out for the drive wears on the nerves big-time. I have to believe that both she and I’d be less stressed by her being sedated a bit.

    Reply to Melanie J.'s comment

  16. Kara on July 17, 2012 at 9:17 am

    First of all … I really have to speak out against the “let them loose in the car” comments. Seriously? You do realize that if you’re in any kind of accident, even a minor one at low speed, that poor unprotected cat becomes a projectile that will wind up broken and dead smashed up against a window or the seats or the floor? Letting a pet roam around the car on a long road trip is just as irresponsible as letting a baby crawl around unrestrained in the back of the car.

    As to the logistics of the travel – my sweetie is a vet and he recommends a mild (very mild) dose of Valium for cats on long road trips. Not enough to knock them out, just enough to calm them. He said he knows a lot of people don’t want to drug their animals and he respects that, but the effects of constant fear on them is far worse than a few hours of mild sedation.

    Reply to Kara's comment

    • Tammey on July 17, 2012 at 4:03 pm

      Smart advice!

      Reply to Tammey's comment

    • Bettina on July 18, 2012 at 2:40 am

      Kara, please note that while I advocate “no carrier”, I said put a tight mesh dog net in the car to contain them. That prevents them from being missiles.

      You are correct, that totally unrestrained is a bad idea, but there are differences between that and a carrier that can be explored.

      Reply to Bettina's comment

    • shauna on October 21, 2013 at 5:52 pm

      Really? now tell me how the cats in a little carrier is a projectile at all.
      I personally, having cats ALL my life. and moving a lot also, unfortunately; ( doing that again now, actually) I agree w/ letting them loose, or roaming freedom. That is what I ‘m having to do w/ 6 cats from Colorado to Oregon.

      Reply to shauna's comment

  17. Lori on July 17, 2012 at 9:30 am

    I also would think twice before letting them loose in the car. I was traveling with my kitty years ago and decided to let her out of her carrier becuase she was frantic. Well, she was a petite thing then and at one point during the drive she decided that cramming herself behind the brake pedal and the car floor was the way to go. Luckily I was able get her out of the way with my foot, slow down, pull over and put her back into her carrier. Unless you can secure them with a barrier to the front seat so they can’t interfere with your driving, I would keep them in carriers.

    Reply to Lori's comment

  18. Peggy on July 17, 2012 at 9:32 am

    I have to agree with Kara’s comment about the constant fear being worse than a mild sedation. We have moved across country several times with a cat. The first move took 2 days, 8 hours and 12 hours. Even with holding food and water for several hours our poor kitty got car sick. Each additional time we moved he was given a mild dose of a sedative (Valium I think) to calm him. The difference was night and day! As much as I did not want to sedate him all in all it was for the best as he arrived at our new destination stress free and was able to acclimate to his new surroundings that much quicker! Good luck with the move!!

    Reply to Peggy's comment

  19. goatpod2 on July 17, 2012 at 9:36 am

    Haven’t traveled much with cats but we did get something from the vet for my brother’s cats though. If we travel with our dogs we get them the same stuff from our vet, we’ve traveled more with goats than anything else though.


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  20. Bethany on July 17, 2012 at 10:05 am

    I have to say, I would go with the sedatives or ship them. I moved from New Mexico to Boston with 3 cats, one of which does NOT travel well. I figured I could handle it. She cried the entire time, but I did get through it without drugs.

    A few other tips:
    1) Hotels. I set up hotels along the way that were cat friendly. Usually I stay with friends or family, or camp, but I wanted to make sure the cats wouldn’t be a nuisance or be difficult to pack up in the morning. At EVERY single hotel, I had to completely undo the bed, as in take off the mattress and box springs in order to find one of my cats who is a master at hiding. Hotel beds look like platforms, but they often have some space behind the box springs, or if a king sized bed, between the twin box springs, that a cat can get into. In one hotel the box springs had a tear in the fabric and my cat was IN the box springs.

    2) Litter boxes. I’m generally against disposable litter boxes, but I feel like they were worth the compromise. I didn’t want to haul dirty litter with me, and even scooped out litter can smell after a while. I bought recycled paper litter boxes and put a minimum of litter in it each day. I threw one away at each hotel we stopped at. I realize you probably aren’t in line with this one, but I had 4 days to report to duty and needed all the time I could get. I also was worried about how I would be able to clean the litter boxes at the hotels

    3) Leashes. My cats hate them, but they allowed me to take the cats out of the car at each rest stop. They really didn’t pee/poop/eat/drink while I was actively driving. When I stopped for gas I tried to find a place with grass or some other natural setting and would set up the food and water bowls. I attached all three leashes to a tent stake (which sometimes worked, sometimes not). It at least gave me a little bit of time to unwind from the crying and I could eat lunch or a snack and try to reassure them that it would be alright.

    After a day I did end up letting one cat out of the carrier at the time, but only because they went for the back of the car instead of the front of the car. I did have to pull over once because one of them went for my feet. It’s really not a good idea to let them out, it was just desperation because of all of the howling.

    Honestly, despite being more expensive and more intense, I do wonder if a quick flight would have been less scarey for the cats than a 4 day cross country trip. (and yes it really took me 4 days because I had to stop so often).

    Good luck!!

    Reply to Bethany's comment

  21. Rhonda on July 17, 2012 at 10:14 am

    Even though I hate it, sedative is the way to go. It didn’t take me long to make up my mind. My cats yowled and dry heaved for about 20 miles. It was heart wrenching. I gave in and gave them the meds the vet gave me for “just in case.” It was better for them and it was especially better for me. It didn’t knock them out completely. It just made them loopy and settled down. Their naps were longer than normal but they weren’t completely out, if that makes any sense.

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  22. Maybelline on July 17, 2012 at 10:44 am

    They swaddle an anxious animal. My 200+ pound English Mastiff wears one during 4th of July excitement. It helped some. They do make them for cats. It might work for you. You could order one online and try it out on all of your cats during trial car trips. If it doesn’t work, you can return it. Pet shops carry them too but I’m not sure about the return policy.

    Reply to Maybelline's comment

    • Susy on July 17, 2012 at 7:54 pm

      Funny I was looking at Thundershirts a few weeks ago.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  23. Kelly H. on July 17, 2012 at 10:58 am

    I’ve moved several times with cats, 4-6hr trips. Different cats and always the same result. I put them in their carrier, one cat per carrier, with a towel/old blanket to lay on, but I keep them right next to each other, facing each other if possible. Try to situate their carriers perpendicular to the car, so when they’re slide around by car movements they won’t move as far and freak out. Also, use the smallest carriers you can – bigger is *not* better here. They’ll fight getting in, but the closer you can make the carrier to a cave/hidey-hole, the happier they’ll be. Keep them low so they can’t see out the windows and get all excited. I pack stuff around them so they’re surrounded by “our” smell and it helps to block out the noise around them. Keep the radio off/low. After the first 20-45 minutes they calm down and keep quiet (mostly) for the trip.

    Once there, make sure there’s a safe, quiet, closed off place to release them into. Keep them contained to that place til everything’s unpacked (it’ll be the place they go to when they’re upset, so choose it carefully). Have their food/water/litter box there, and some items that smell of you (more towels, blankets, old shirts, etc).

    Anticipate a few nights of extra activity from them, them getting “lost” in the house and yowling to find you. Also understand that their personalities will change for a bit and the hierarchy may also change between them.

    Good luck (though you, and they, will be fine).

    I do suggest against giving them free-reign of the car, though. I had one cat that, when we tried that, found her hidey hole was under the driver’s seat with all the greasy seat moving gears (yay), and the other *tried* to hide under the brake/gas pedals.

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  24. Leesa on July 17, 2012 at 11:39 am

    I have sedated for trips and it’s really easier on everyone. The cats are mellow and your trip is easier. We moved from Texas to Montana, so it was very helpful.

    Also, the loose cat idea is pretty scary. I had a friend who’s cat managed to slip by and out the car door at a rest stop. They never did find her :(
    I’ve also heard of cats getting into the steering column area and under the dash board, which can cause even more stress and they can get overheated.
    Plus, a car accident would be horrible. I have found my cats actually feel more secure in the carrier. I would make stops and give them a kitty box which surprisingly they would use right then.

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  25. KY on July 17, 2012 at 11:46 am

    When we moved from California to Oregon, we used a dog kennel to give our cats enough space to get up and stretch their legs but still contain them. We put their favorite blankets and bed in it and threw a karge blanket over the top so they felt safe.

    They still panted a bit, and showed signs of stress but I think over all it was a success without using a ton of sedatives.

    Reply to KY's comment

    • Eliz on July 17, 2012 at 4:37 pm

      I found that a bigger space was good for our kitties too (moved from California to Oregon). We didn’t want to drop a lot of $$$ for a dog carrier, so I took a laundry basket, put the two kitties in it with their blankets, and put another laundry basket on top, and tied it together. They were fine because they were together.

      Reply to Eliz's comment

  26. Diana Holly on July 17, 2012 at 12:24 pm

    I am the proud owner of two very travel-stressed cats, and I also happen to work at an animal shelter. In browsing all the comments so far, I think you’ve received a lot of great suggestions, and a lot of friends who really love their cats (don’t we all) At the shelter we’ve heard so many travel nightmares, including my own story of being stranded on the NJ turnpike at 2am with my cat in the back seat sans carrier, only a leash. I will never do that again.
    The safest place for the cat is in the carrier. When stressed, cats may try to hide, and the last thing you want is them hiding under your feet while you are trying to drive. Prior to the trip, leave your carriers out in the house and put favorite toys or treats to encourage the cat to associate the carreir with positive things. As the trip nears, put favorite beddings or blankets in there. Having familiar scent objects in the car will calm them and ease their transition into the new home. Covering a window can also help to calm them, by obscuring their view of the world whizing by at 65mph. Take frequent pit stops and let the cats out into the car to stretch their legs, eat, drink, use the litterbox, and interact with you. Don’t get out of the car while kitties are loose.
    Also, try an herbal stress reducer, like Pet-Ease for cats. It contains calming herbs and essential oils and come in both ingestable gels and air difusers. I also recommend Feliway which comes in difusers and sprays which could be strayed in the car or on beddings to help calm kitties. It has a light fresh scent. I am also very sensitive to strong smells and I do not mind it. Lastly, if you and Mr. Chiots will be travelling in separate cars and your cats play favorites, try to travel with the cats that have chosen you as their person. Having their person around (smelling them, seeing them, hearing them, receiving pets during breaks) all will help the reassure kitty. The ASPCA has some great tips for traveling with pets on their website under the Pet Care section.
    And as Kelly H. recommended, isolate the cats upon arrival with their beddings, food, toys, etc, for a few days while you get settled. A spare bedroom, or even an extra bathroom will do. Get new tags with current cell phone numbers and the new address, and update their microchip info before you leave. Once you arrive, you’ll have so many other things to worry about, and God forbide you should be separated during your journey, anyone finding them will be able to contact you.
    Hope that helps – good luck!

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  27. Ann on July 17, 2012 at 12:55 pm

    I can tell you how not to travel with cats!! Here is a link to a blog post I did almost 4 years ago when we came from Oklahoma to resettle in Tennessee. Read it as I think you will get a big chuckle.

    Reply to Ann's comment

    • Susy on July 17, 2012 at 4:21 pm

      Can’t wait to head over and read about your adventure!

      Reply to Susy's comment

    • Susy on July 17, 2012 at 7:58 pm

      It’s so good that you can laugh about this now, terrible experience, glad it turned out OK!

      Reply to Susy's comment

  28. Deb on July 17, 2012 at 1:44 pm

    Definitely go with drugs, That way they won’t have to potty on the trip. maybe with hold food overnight before the trip. Then they’ll just have to pee and it won’t be as messy. Do not let them run free as they may get out and you’d never find them again as they’d be extrememly frightened and would run. Maybe ask the vet for advice as there’s no way I’d want to listen to them for even an hour trip. Less anxiety being drugged. I have many more cats than that and have no idea what I’d do unless it was a short trip to move. I hope it goes well. My main concern would be pottying on such a long trip for them. It can cause serious issues if they hold it too long and think how it feels if you have to go and are riding. It would be stressful and they’ll hold it as long as possible. Good luck.

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  29. christine on July 17, 2012 at 1:45 pm

    I have never commented here before but have been following your impending move quite avidly. I am so curious to find out how you’ll modify your new place! new gardens etc.! But I was wondering what you would be doing with your cats, especially the semi-feral one. So glad you’re taking all of them! And those pics are completely delightful. As for advice, rescue remedy? that’s all i know, but I agree, it would be less stressful for everyone probably with sedatives.

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  30. val on July 17, 2012 at 1:51 pm

    No suggestions, just a hearty good luck! I’d definitely go the sedative route.
    I’ll never forget driving my car behind my husband in moving van, with my previous cat in a carrier beside my howling the entire 7 hours!
    My current cat gets horribly car sick–and the vet is only a mile away. Can you provide the name of the homeopathic remedy you use?

    Reply to val's comment

    • Susy on July 17, 2012 at 4:24 pm

      Yes, for our Dexter (who loses bowel control, pants and heaves when in the car). Cocculus Indicus works great for him. You can also try Gelsemium Sempervirens. I purchase my homeopathic remedies from ABC Homeopathy, usually in the granules which I dissolve in water and add a few drops of cod liver oil to to get the cats to take it.

      I highly recommend this book for homeopathic information when dealing with pets:

      Reply to Susy's comment

      • cal on July 18, 2012 at 12:59 pm

        thanks so much!

        to cal's comment

  31. Katelyn Faye on July 17, 2012 at 1:56 pm

    As much as I know it’s not the safest thing, I gave my cats free reign of the car during a drive from Worcester MA to central PA. Well, one got free reign of the car, and once he had perched himself atop a pile of bed linens he slept the entire way without a sound. The other liked his carrier and also made not a peep the whole way home. However, it’s my experience that cats on long trips will eventually calm down on their own, or with the aid of a little natural sleepy-cat spray. Our cat Elmo lived to be 19 and came on eight or nine moves with us, and he usually calmed down after a half hour of letting us know how he felt about the whole situation.

    I would say that when you get your cats there, even the indoor ones, keep them inside for a month or so before you let them explore the yard, or they may be too scared or put off to come home. Good luck!

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  32. Jaye on July 17, 2012 at 5:51 pm

    I know you’re up against some tough decisions here to travel with the cats. Like you, I would consider sedation, that being said, it’s important to work closely with your vet for weights vs dosages.

    We traveled with cats from overseas when we came back from Wales to the US and we chose to sedate and while it was a bit scary, it was less scary than the alternative of them escaping etc.

    I know you’ll make the right decision. I’m happy you’re taking them with you!!

    Reply to Jaye's comment

  33. Mary S. on July 17, 2012 at 6:51 pm

    I’ve never traveled with cats, but we did make a 16-hour car trip from Minnesota to Toronto with a dog once. I highly recommend getting the cats new bedding before you go or at least washing any blankets, etc. Our car reeked of dog within an hour of leaving home. On the trip back, she had a new bed!

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  34. Jane on July 17, 2012 at 7:33 pm

    Don’t forget yourself, too – I would pack some earplugs for taking breaks from hearing them. You could still hear an emergency, but the reduction in volume will do a lot for your blood pressure.

    Reply to Jane's comment

    • Susy on July 17, 2012 at 7:45 pm

      I have some professional musician ear plugs that we use for wedding receptions, I’ll definitely keep those handy!

      Reply to Susy's comment

  35. enid on July 17, 2012 at 7:40 pm

    My cousin use Recue Remedy (an homeophatic product) when she takes her very nervous and excitable cat to the vet or grooming. She stars puting drops on cat’s water teh nigth before and also give them to the cat. She keeps giving the drops every 4 – 5 hours and the cat stays calm.

    Reply to enid's comment

    • Susy on July 17, 2012 at 7:43 pm

      We have some Rescue Remedy that we use with our one cat, as well as a few other various calming drops. We also have had luck with melatonin with one cat that had anxiety issues.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  36. Carrie on July 17, 2012 at 7:57 pm

    One of my kitty gets bad carsickness, like throwing up and pooing everywhere in his kennel. I talked to my vet and he suggested using dramamine. Amazingly it worked! Just be sure to get the REGULAR kind and not NON drowsy. Ha, then it won’t work as well :)

    I’ve tried Rescue Remedy and on my extremely anxious cat and it didn’t work at all. The best thing for her was one of those tunnel beds, so she felt safe and protected.

    Good luck! Traveling with cats is never easy!

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  37. sarah on July 17, 2012 at 8:33 pm

    I’ve traveled a lot with 1 cat. Several multi-day moves, and a 9000-mile road trip. She gets car sick in the first hour or so and is fine after that. Have you taken your cats on a long drive before?

    Also, do they all get along?

    Reply to sarah's comment

    • Susy on July 17, 2012 at 9:11 pm

      The cats all get along great, that being said we’re considering dividing them up into two groups. The longest was when we got the two indoor cats, they rode for 4 hours that night. Other than that only an hour and fifteen drive a few times to my mom’s house.

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  38. KimH on July 17, 2012 at 10:01 pm

    I moved with 3 cats one time. My sister & I drove in the car with them and we had no leashes, no carriers, or anything… just yowling, frantic, freaking out cats… the entire 12 or so hours we were on the road the first day and the 4 or 5 the next.

    We stopped at a gas station and one of our kitties escaped and we thought we werent going to find him. He was lost for about an hour and a half, but thankfully, we were reunited.

    Talk about a nightmare… If I personally were going to travel with a kitty, I’d be giving them benedryl or valium. Works for me. ;)

    Ok, unless that kitty was my grand-kitty. He is a car cat and loves going for a ride.. Hes a weird cat, but he was rescued by his mommies with a car ride, so maybe its comforting for him. Who knows. He comes to visit every once in a while & is even happy to walk down the street with a halter & leash. haha.. funny kitty boy!

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    • KimH on July 17, 2012 at 10:03 pm

      Oh.. I forgot to mention the frantic running around, getting under my feet, on my lap, crawling up my arms, shoulders, head, between my legs, did I say under my feet? It was a nightmare… Yep.. sedation is a good thing sometimes… Haha.. after that trip, I needed it. ;)

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  39. Chris on July 17, 2012 at 11:37 pm

    The cats my husband and I have moved in the past, were fine in their carriers. They meowed a lot in the beginning, but we found talking to them in a gentle tone would settle them after a while. But those trips took under 2 hours.

    When I moved between states as a teenager however, my mum chose sedatives for the cats. My memories from that time were the cats faired well. No dramas in other words. I remember when we got them out of their carriers, they gave us a disconcerting look as they fumbled around the new living space.

    I wouldn’t consider moving a cat without sedatives for longer than a few hours journey, simply because they wouldn’t be able to hold in their bodily movements like a dog can. It’s risky taking them out of the carriers for toilet stops. I’d be doing sedatives without a second thought.

    The next issue you will encounter with your cats however, is keeping them contained in the new house for a minimum of a week. If you have cats which are used to being outside, most of the time, they will act like you’re killing them if they can see outside the windows but can’t get out. They will shred everything and howl blue murder. Especially if there are other cats prowling outside the window.

    Have you give thought to the best area to set them up with, so they can’t get out of the new house, but will cause minimal damage and stress? Consider, you will have to be moving furniture and boxes inside the house too, and you’ll need to have them in a secure area.

    Reply to Chris's comment

    • Susy on July 18, 2012 at 8:21 am

      Yes, we’ve settled on a room to keep the cats in for a week or two after the move. We might keep 2 cats in one room and 2 cats in another room to avoid too many issue, though all the cats get along well.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  40. Andre on July 18, 2012 at 7:37 am

    No real comments, there’s plenty of good advice already. I’ve had varied experiences with traveling short distances with cats.
    From observing cats, I know they are really creatures of habit .. maybe too late to try and accustom them to being in a car (even stationary at first) –
    Maybe a short dry run (practice run) with sedatives might help prepare all for the big trip.

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  41. Gayle on July 18, 2012 at 7:50 am

    I use Bach’s Rescue Remedy or you can put a drop of lavender essential oil on the pad of their feet. With a cat, they might lick it off, so a little research might be in order, but I use this for my llamas when they get antsy at a show or when being shorn. Chills them right out with no ill effects.

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  42. Josie on July 19, 2012 at 8:10 am

    Lots of good thoughts here, since we are military we have had to travel with pets….a….lot. I have even taken pets over seas. All I can advise is this. It will at tops be two days of travel then they are there, chances are they will never have to go through this again, so whatever choice you make allow yourself to be “ok” with it. (a sedative will not make you a bad cat owner even if its not your first wish/choice)
    Our animals have all had such distinct personalities, some travel great some not so much. I totally agree with the practice trips to try out your method!! Do this…seriously. Highway speeds between here that there are not the place to find your solutions are not working. The important thing to keep in mind is that YOU need to be safe, focused and able to drive without stress and distraction. Sucure the fur-creatures….try to keep things as non-invasive for them as you can, but if you have a cat or two then need a bit more help getting from here to there…help them. Having said that we have only needed to sedate one animal in 17 years and it was a cat, and I honestly was affraid he might have a stroke if we did not. He went though that trip groggy and quiet and was back to his old self in 24 hours. The drive was a long 13 hour day and I did not regret the choice. This particular cat would be come so stressed just going to the vet each year he would have horrid bowls and puking for 2-3 days afterward. There was no way I was going to put him though that drive without help. (its been a ton of years ago…I do think we gave him benidryl with the vets direction) Our current cat thinks he is a dog and loves car trips (go figure!)
    On another note…Congrats on your new farm and the exciting new chapter that is opening in your life! I am so happy for you!

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  43. Adriana on May 13, 2013 at 8:06 pm

    On our vet’s recommendation we sedated our 3 cats for 13 hour road trip from Florida to Alabama. We gave them the pills 30 minutes before travel started and shortly thereafter the 3rd eyelids came up and they chilled put. They were so relaxed in fact that they farted all the way to A
    Alabama! So funny!

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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