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Author Topic: Advice for moving cats cross-country!  (Read 1032 times)

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Sebastienne

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Advice for moving cats cross-country!
« on: June 22, 2016, 06:22:27 PM »
My husband and I will be moving from one coast of the US to the other in a few weeks--a 40+ hour drive. This is incredibly stressful in and of itself, but we also have pets: a good-natured dog, and two beloved but very cranky geriatric cats. Moving the dog won't be an issue--he's happy to just chill in the backseat of the car--but the cats will be incredibly unhappy during a 3-day road trip. We're expecting constant crying, multiple accidents, and a lot of misery. We've moved them before, but never more than a day's drive away. The plan is to drive both our cars out (with help from friends), one with the dog, one with the cats.

For anyone who has done this before, we'd love advice on ways to make the trip a little less miserable for all of us!

Ponydoc

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Re: Advice for moving cats cross-country!
« Reply #1 on: June 22, 2016, 06:45:57 PM »
Purchase some feliway pheromone from your veterinarian to help relieve stress. Soak a small cloth in it, place it in their carrier and repeat daily til the trip is done. Invest in some pee pads as they pull moisture and urine away from the cats and keep them dry. Keep a eye out for dehydration or not eating as this can impact their health. Feeding a diet high in tryptophan such as the calm diet or cooked turkey would be helpful. Also sedatives such as acepromazine. My clients often find these tips helpful but travelling with cats is never fun.

Mel the Redcap

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Re: Advice for moving cats cross-country!
« Reply #2 on: June 22, 2016, 06:54:18 PM »
Mild sedatives might help during the trip, but if you decide to go with them get samples from your vet first and find out how your cats react - some just nap but others get agitated and it makes things worse. Good luck!
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sandisadie

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Re: Advice for moving cats cross-country!
« Reply #3 on: June 22, 2016, 06:54:53 PM »
Over the years I've had to move two cats several times cross country.  I bought a large  wire dog kennel that would fit in the back seat of my vehicle, or in the cargo space if you have an SUV. I came with a nice sturdy slideout tray in the bottom. I put in a soft mat.  I found a small plastic tub that could be used for a litter box (about half the size of a regular little box.  I punched two small holes on the top edge on one long side of this tub and used twine to tie it to back end inside of the kennel. 

I put both cats in there and drove several test runs around the neighborhood to get them used to it.  When it came time for the move in they went with some new cat litter.  I put their water bowls and food bowls and food and a jug of water near the kennel so they would be handy when we stopped during the trip.  Whenever we stopped for gas or such I would reach between the bars and pet them and talk to them.  I also would put the water bowl in until we were ready to drive again.

We always made reservations at hotels on our way and asked if pets were allowed.  We had their hand held carriers along also to take them safely into the hotel room.  But once we were in for the night we let them roam free until we were ready to exit the room the next morning.  We didn't take the kennel out of the vehicle as that would be way too much trouble.  We did take in the litter box.  If you have enough room you could take their regular litter box to use in the hotel room.  If we both left the room together we put the cats in their carriers.  Actually that dog kennel has come in handy for the cats on several other occasions, such as when our house was for sale and instead of taking the cats out of the house we just put them in the kennel when people were looking at the house.

Best of luck on your move.  I think, with a little forethought, it will go almost as smooth as you want it to.

Make sure you have plenty of paper towels and a poop scooper and some plastic bags.  Also some spray air freshener. Expect some crying and meowing and maybe a spitup or two.  Just take it all in stride and be very careful when in the hotel room not to let them escape.  Of course they will be stressed, just like you will be.  Talk calmly to them and give them extra attention.




MayHug

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Re: Advice for moving cats cross-country!
« Reply #4 on: June 22, 2016, 07:01:46 PM »
I moved with mine cross country a few months ago. We used the feliway spray and they did very well. We kept them in their carriers in the car and let them out in the hotel room. They only rarely cried and were fine as long as they could see us.

PastryGoddess

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Re: Advice for moving cats cross-country!
« Reply #5 on: June 22, 2016, 07:55:16 PM »
when I moved from Chicago back to the east coast I had 3 cats.  We had a trailer so the back of the SUV was turned into CatLand. We put two kennels in the back.  One was for the cats to rest/sleep in. We put a couple of foam pads on the bottom and their cat beds on top.  One side of the kennel had a blanket on top to create a cave. The other kennel, had their litter box, with a lid on it.  The kennel had holders for dog size food and water dishes.  So we filled up both about halfway and put old blankets on the bottom to absorb any spills. 

They huddled in a group for the first couple of hours in the CatCave, but then Gretchen and Phoebe came out occasionally to eat and look around.  Grace stayed hidden the entire time. 
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Dr. F.

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Re: Advice for moving cats cross-country!
« Reply #6 on: June 22, 2016, 08:18:50 PM »
I moved from Los Angeles to DC with 3 dogs, 3 cats, and a parrot.

1. If possible, put the animals in a kennel or other place while you/the movers are picking up your furniture. They will freak, so it's better to just have them elsewhere. It's better to not have to worry about who is making a break for the door.

2. Take your time. By the end of a 12-hour driving day, both you and the critters will be frazzled. If possible, take an extra day or so. Take breaks to feed yourself and the critters. When moving from DC to OK, we were in a hurry to hit the first stopping point, so I skipped supper for the dogs. By the time we stopped, my normally calm, easygoing dogs were cranky and upset. There was much barking, and then there was scratching from the cats. Better to stop early and have everyone remain calm.

3. If possible, have one person stay with critters at all times. At the end of that first evening, I stayed at the hotel to unload while Mom went off to get food (it was about midnight). The dogs started barking as soon as I left the room. Well, I couldn't have that, so I stayed with them to keep them quiet (which they were so long as I was there, thank goodness!), and that meant that by the time Mom got back with tacos, we were all wound up and anxious. Dogs ate tacos, I ate tacos, and then we finally unloaded the cars. It ended up being a very, very late night.*

4. Make sure you know where you're going once you get there. We ended up having to stay in a hotel for a week (with critters!, in DC!) until the rental house was ready for us. I had to be at work that week. It wasn't pretty.

*There were other issues there, such as that we pressed to make it to that hotel, since we had a non-refundable reservation from Expedia, despite massive thunderstorms in the mountains, and the room smelled like rotten cabbage.

MaryR

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Re: Advice for moving cats cross-country!
« Reply #7 on: June 22, 2016, 09:13:38 PM »
The advice you have already been given is good. I'd suggest that you freeze the filled water bowls. That will stop water from sloshing around and the cats can lick up the meltwater.

Cats are usually pretty good at figuring out large rodent water bottles, but you would want to be sure about that before you leave.

Be sure to bring a good supply of the water they are used to drinking. Changing water in the middle of an already upsetting move could upset their tummies even more than they already are. Try to have enough to gradually get them used to the water at the end of your move.

If you can, bring some unwashed bed linen. When you arrive put the cat's things and your unwashed linen in a room and close the door. Leave them there while you unload and unpack.

Good luck, I'm sure that you will get lots of great advice and I'm sure that everything will go well.

iridaceae

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Re: Advice for moving cats cross-country!
« Reply #8 on: June 23, 2016, 05:48:49 AM »
I put an old dirty shirt of mine in the cage and he laid on it and it seemed to comfort him. I also had a teeny litter box but he never used it.

We had our lunches at rest stops and he would never eat or drink then, either; only in the Hotel room. He mostly got a huge treat for him to make sure he ate: his favorite Gerber's baby food. Pureed turkey if I remember correctly. Expensive but worth it.

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#borecore

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Re: Advice for moving cats cross-country!
« Reply #9 on: June 23, 2016, 07:50:00 AM »
Our big rule for our 2-week road trip with the cat was: Close the cage before you open the door.

We put out a litter box on the floor of the car and she used it once, and barely. She just waited till we stopped for the night.

We kept the carrier box open but she preferred to stay in it or at least in the back seat for all but about 15 minutes one day when she got really adventurous.

We sprayed the carrier with feliway and set it out in our living room about a week before we left, to get her used to it. Then we sprayed it again before we left.

We had out a small dish of water and food, but she only drank from it very rarely and never ate.

The only actual trouble we had with her was that she went missing when we were at a hotel on our last night and she hid inside the box frame of the hotel bed and we had to move the mattress to find her once we finally heard her meowing. Oh, and my in-laws put us up in a room with ants, who tried to eat  all her food ...

(I also once traveled 8 hours with a very different cat who broke his cardboard carrier and meowed the entire time until he lost his voice, and refused to drink, and tried to run out because I couldn't restrain him in the carrier. So, it might just be the luck of the draw!)

FauxFoodist

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Re: Advice for moving cats cross-country!
« Reply #10 on: June 23, 2016, 11:00:59 AM »
When I moved from southern CA to northern CA with my three cats, I:

1) Rented a mini van
2) Got sedatives from the vet
3) Kept them in cat carriers/kennels and when I stopped for gas midway, I let them out of their carriers inside the van where I also had a litter box set up

The sedatives didn't seem to work very well (I still heard a lot of complaining), but I don't know what else I would've done to move them.  They were fine by the time we got to our new home.

JenJay

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Re: Advice for moving cats cross-country!
« Reply #11 on: June 23, 2016, 11:57:17 AM »
Over the years I've had to move two cats several times cross country.  I bought a large  wire dog kennel that would fit in the back seat of my vehicle, or in the cargo space if you have an SUV. I came with a nice sturdy slideout tray in the bottom. I put in a soft mat.  I found a small plastic tub that could be used for a litter box (about half the size of a regular little box.  I punched two small holes on the top edge on one long side of this tub and used twine to tie it to back end inside of the kennel. 

I put both cats in there and drove several test runs around the neighborhood to get them used to it.  When it came time for the move in they went with some new cat litter.  I put their water bowls and food bowls and food and a jug of water near the kennel so they would be handy when we stopped during the trip.  Whenever we stopped for gas or such I would reach between the bars and pet them and talk to them.  I also would put the water bowl in until we were ready to drive again.

We always made reservations at hotels on our way and asked if pets were allowed.  We had their hand held carriers along also to take them safely into the hotel room.  But once we were in for the night we let them roam free until we were ready to exit the room the next morning.  We didn't take the kennel out of the vehicle as that would be way too much trouble.  We did take in the litter box.  If you have enough room you could take their regular litter box to use in the hotel room.  If we both left the room together we put the cats in their carriers.  Actually that dog kennel has come in handy for the cats on several other occasions, such as when our house was for sale and instead of taking the cats out of the house we just put them in the kennel when people were looking at the house.

Best of luck on your move.  I think, with a little forethought, it will go almost as smooth as you want it to.

Make sure you have plenty of paper towels and a poop scooper and some plastic bags.  Also some spray air freshener. Expect some crying and meowing and maybe a spitup or two.  Just take it all in stride and be very careful when in the hotel room not to let them escape.  Of course they will be stressed, just like you will be.  Talk calmly to them and give them extra attention.

We've done two major moves and this is what we did. The 2nd time the weather was more mild so we actually left them in the car overnight instead of taking them into the hotel. They were much more stressed out by being moved back and forth and being in the strange room than staying in their space.

Runningstar

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Re: Advice for moving cats cross-country!
« Reply #12 on: June 23, 2016, 06:31:10 PM »
Oh boy!  I moved one cat across the country.  A carrier is imo a must, I've known of people that let the cats roam the car during a trip.  Too easy to lose one at the
first rest stop!.

Also, it can be very nice to have sunshades like you would use for a baby.  Bring a gallon jug of water per pet from home so that they don't refuse to drink and so it is easier on their digestive systems.  Disposable underpads (the ones for people - odor absorbing) are awesome for when - you know happens.  Baby wipes and plastic bags are also a must.

When you stop at some quaint roadside restaurant, find a shady spot to park in and get the animals aired out if possible.  I know that for some pets this might be more stressful - but putting the whole carrier in the shade and eating lunch next to it can be very calming for everyone.  My cat (r.i.p.) seemed to like it.

Good luck and let us know how it goes for you all.

kategillian

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Re: Advice for moving cats cross-country!
« Reply #13 on: June 24, 2016, 08:37:00 AM »
We used Homeopet Travel anxiety drops when we moved my friends cats from Rhode Island to Florida, it worked great. Of course, we ended up with some very stoned cats, and the beginning I had to poke one of them to make sure she was still with us, but everyone was fine and they just slept the whole trip!

Sirius

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Re: Advice for moving cats cross-country!
« Reply #14 on: June 25, 2016, 08:40:49 PM »
I moved from central California to Portland, Oregon with an elderly cat.  Once she figured out she wasn't going to the vet she calmed right down, and spent most of the trip stretched out with her front section on the my hand brake and her back section in her carrier.   I didn't feed her on the road, as we only traveled for 8 hours, but she did have water available.