The Straight Dope

Go Back   Straight Dope Message Board > Main > In My Humble Opinion (IMHO)

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 05-27-2011, 08:31 PM
Shakes Shakes is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Dallas Tx.
Posts: 10,574
Should I take my cat on a road trip or not?

I've owned cats all my life. I have to say tho' my newest addition (About three months old) is the most "clingy" cat I've ever had. When I get home from work, she goes through what I call a "separation anxiety" phase. Every second, for about two hours when I get home, she has to be right by my side. Usually sitting on my lap or playing with me. If I get up to go to the fridge or whatever, she'll start crying, doing that death defying circle eight thing between my legs as I walk.

I have an older cat but he could care less if I live or die. As long as there is food in his bowl, he's all good.

So anyway, I'm taking the kids to go see the parents. It's about a six hour drive. I'll be gone for four days. I'm really concerned about this new cat of mine. I don't want to traumatize her by being gone for that long.

Do you think I'm over reacting? Will the cat be fine? I'm also torn with the decision of taking a cat on a six hour drive. The cat doesn't really dig that either.
Reply With Quote
Advertisements  
  #2  
Old 05-27-2011, 09:01 PM
WhyNot WhyNot is online now
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Sweet Home Chicago
Posts: 30,742
How much do you hate your family?

Seriously, I don't mean to be insensitive, but...she's a cat. She'll get over it. You can either torture her and you and the kids with an upset cat in the car for 12 hours (I assume you're coming home via car, too) and also upset her because she's in a strange place with strange smells for 4 days, or you can leave the cat at home, not torture yourself and the kids and the cat, and she'll be upset in familiar surroundings for 4 days while you're gone.

Bring her, and you and the kids will be miserable for 12 hours. Either way, cat has the potential to be upset for 4 days.

Assuming she even remembers you while you're gone, of course. I'm never sure with cats.

Last edited by WhyNot; 05-27-2011 at 09:01 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 05-27-2011, 09:10 PM
Renee Renee is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Let me tell you a story. Recently, I took a 10 day trip away from home, and decided to remove my sweet, lovely cat, Wally, from our home, and send her to live with my friend, Surly Chick, for the duration. See, Wally is good friends with my dogs, and Surly was watching the dogs, and I thought that it would be less stressful for poor Wally to be with her siblings, even in a new house, than to think she had been abandoned. I was wrong.

Wally hid herself away in Surly's storage room, making herself completely inaccessible. When I came back, she would not come to me, and the storage room was packed in such a way that getting to her would have required heavy equipment. Eventually, three days after my return, with no progress, I had to get a havahart trap from the police station and trap the goddamn cat.

Moral of the story is that cat's are territorial. Don't move them unless you have to.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 05-27-2011, 09:30 PM
SeaDragonTattoo SeaDragonTattoo is online now
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Chicago, Far Northsider
Posts: 5,850
If I need to be gone for more than a day, I have someone who will stay at my house with my cats. I have one who is very attached to me and stops eating when I'm away for more than 48 hours. He's fine, though, if someone else is there for several hours a day. The other cats can keep themselves occupied and don't miss me as much. If my stay-over person isn't available, I have someone else who can visit a couple times a day. The kitties get meal-fed canned food twice a day, anyway, and I prefer they have their schedule even if I'm not home. My "needy" guy seems to do OK with that scenario, too, as long as the twice a day visitor gives him special attention for a bit, and some treats.

If you can have someone giver her attention for a couple hours a day, I'm sure she will be fine, and will be happy to see you when you get home, but won't be too despondent in the meantime.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 05-28-2011, 01:36 PM
StJoan StJoan is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
I recently took my 3 month old kitten on a 4-day long trip, which also involved travelling for 8 hr + 8 hr by car. Both of us were passengers, so there was plenty of time to give Sqeaks lots of cuddles and hugs, and to play with her. We took along her carrier, containing her favourite toys (+ litter box + food tray) and her favourite food. Except for a few yowls of impatience on the way, she was (almost) as good as gold, both while travelling as well as at the rest stops. She also clearly enjoyed our room (and the garden) at the guest house, as there were plently of people there who gave her a lot of attention! So if you can spend some time interacting with kitteh on the way, and she is clearly made to feel welcome at her destination, it is a good idea. Otherwise, it may be best to find her a catsitter. Of course, Squeaky has been travelling regularly since she was a kitten barely 10 days old, so she may be an exception.

The general rule is to get your cat accustomed to regarding her carrier as a "safe" place, and to take her on short trips in it. Using that method, I have managed to take my late cat Mitten on a cross-country journey, via a 4.5 hr long train journey (cat was quiet, and even slept peacefully for some time), followed by a short stay of 5 hrs at my aunt's (who still recalls puss fondly for having quickly lapped up the proffered cup of milk), then a 2 hr drive to the airport (during which puss insisted on sitting on my lap and looking out of the window, but was otherwise well-behaved) to take a 2.5-hr flight to the other side of the country. Puss was well behaved inflight as well, meowing only when we experienced turbulence briefly (I was allowed to take him in the cabin). Overall, a memorable trip which could have been much worse had Mitten not cooperated...
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 05-28-2011, 06:33 PM
Markxxx Markxxx is offline
BANNED
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Chicago,IL
Posts: 14,962
Unless you have a car kitty, and not many people do, the cat will be more stressed from the trip. I've only known one cat that liked the car, but I guess some do.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 05-28-2011, 07:01 PM
aruvqan aruvqan is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Eastern Connecticut
Posts: 15,536
I had a car kitty as my first kitteh. I got Puff when I was 5 years old. [What can I say, I went through the Dick and Jane books] She rode in the car fairly frequently - when we brought her home, to the vet and back for her shots [3 times, since back then the kitten packages of shots were given in 3 sets a few weeks apart] and then back and forth from the summer house to the winter house. We didn't bother with carriers, just tossed her into the car. Her favorite spot was lounging on the deck of the back window [chrysler new yorkers her entire little fuzzy life] She also would jump into the bath tub to get bathed as well. It is amazing what you can do to cats if you start when they are babies. Only problem with her we ever had was her first litter of kittens debuted in the linen drawer in the butlers pantry
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 05-29-2011, 04:23 AM
T. Slothrop T. Slothrop is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Can she share in the driving ?
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 05-29-2011, 04:51 AM
SciFiSam SciFiSam is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
No. As fun as it would be to take the cute kitten on holiday - maybe that's just me projecting - it would not be worth three days of walking around your parents' house saying 'here, kitty kitty!' and then eventually hoping that she hooks up with a bull terrier and a labrador and makes it home.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 05-31-2011, 01:28 AM
Brunhilda Brunhilda is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
I have a car Kitty. So, I would say go for it. I usually time my departure around bathroooom times and naps. We have done 3 hours. Your mileage may vary. I would pad the carrier with a towel and put some catnip in ( if your cat finds catnip calming.) Talking to the cat is also helpful. Another option-- if you find yourself doing a short ride is a harness, clip and booster system. Also, don't do sedatives unless you have tested them out before departure. They can have adverse effects, includinga
hyperactivity.
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 05-31-2011, 01:35 AM
HazelNutCoffee HazelNutCoffee is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Quote:
Originally Posted by SciFiSam View Post
No. As fun as it would be to take the cute kitten on holiday - maybe that's just me projecting - it would not be worth three days of walking around your parents' house saying 'here, kitty kitty!' and then eventually hoping that she hooks up with a bull terrier and a labrador and makes it home.
LOL. My most favoritist movie ever. Makes me cry every damn time.

My cat hates being in her carrier but is pretty cool with new environments. The only thing is she needs her litterbox to go anywhere for any extended period of time.

She is also a very clingy cat, and when we're away for more than a day she goes nuts when we come back. But the separation doesn't kill her.
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 05-31-2011, 03:30 PM
Morbo Morbo is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: 123 Fake Street
Posts: 9,140
I had to move my two cats with me in the car from San Francisco to Portland, OR. Shasta slept the entire time in my wife's lap or hung out on the dashboard. Tuna didn't enjoy it as much.

You'll notice he's sitting on the cage attachment for the back of my Subaru, which I had to take down to let him into the rest of the car. Yes, that is a photo of him vastly improved.

Last edited by Morbo; 05-31-2011 at 03:31 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 05-31-2011, 04:24 PM
ProudlyDefiant ProudlyDefiant is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
My parents live about an hour and a half away. If I go home for a weekend, I generally have a friend check in on my kitties once or twice. When I go home for a week or so, like at Christmas, I take them with me. They cry a little when thy are in their carriers, but they're fine when we get to our destination. I set up all their stuff in my parents' basement (finished, heated, with carpet and squishy armchairs) and they act like they own it just as much as they own my house.
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 06-01-2011, 10:51 AM
Vihaga Vihaga is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
The last time we traveled with our cat, he got a UTI because we could barely convince him to eat or drink anything for the few days we were away. When we moved, he spent three days hiding under an inflated air mattress, and that was after we moved both the dogs and a bunch of stuff into the place to stink it up for him before bringing him over.

He is not a car kitty, and he doesn't like new places. If your cat is okay with that kind of thing, go for it, but for us it's utterly not worth it. Sure, the cat's upset when we leave him, but not life-threateningly upset, which he is when we move him. If we have to go out of town, he stays. Pet sitters are easy to find around here, and we have cat-loving friends.
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 06-01-2011, 01:58 PM
Tastes of Chocolate Tastes of Chocolate is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: slightly north of center
Posts: 4,267
I was once moving from Chicago to Minneapolis. So we packed up a bunch of stuff the movers wouldn't take, I took one car and one cat and my SO took the other car and cat. By the end of the first hour, I was turning up the stereo, trying to drowned out the cat. By the end of 4 hours, I was ready to scream. By the end of 8 hours, even with a stop every 2 (for my sanity) I was chanting "Don't kill the cat, we are almost there. Don't kill the cat, we are almost there." Hours and hours of listening to a terrified pitiful cat is hell.
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 06-01-2011, 05:02 PM
Walkabout Walkabout is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Almost Heaven
Posts: 1,520
I took my clingy 10-year-old cat to the beach with me a few months ago. I have mixed feeling about whether I'd do it again. She was frightened the whole time she was in the car. For the first 20 minutes or so, she sat in the seat next to me and yowled and shivered and drooled, and then she decided to sit on my lap. Once there, she calmed down, but she would not move from my lap for then entire rest of the 9-hours-each-way journey. I only stopped once (each way) to get gas and go to the restroom, and she was a mess by the time I got back in the car. Then, back in my lap. My lap was very tired by the time I got there.

Once at the beach house, she settled in fairly well. It was just her and me in the house for the first few days, then my parents joined us for the second half of the week. She spent some time under the bed in my room, but frequently joined me in the kitchen and living room after the first day, sitting on my lap as I watched TV or read.

I'm not sure if her comfort of having me around for the week outweighed the stress of the journey. As for the OP, I don't think I'd do it in that situation. For such a short time and with so many people around, I don't think it would be worth it.
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old 06-02-2011, 08:43 AM
Scubaqueen Scubaqueen is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
great onig but i would NEVER take the superkitties any further than the vet's... that's 15 minutes of agony spent in the lowest circle of hell while traveling in a car. one-way. to say neither travels well at all is the understatement of the century.

the times i've been out of town i have either my sister or a friend come and visit them about every two days. i make sure there's plenty of food and water and toys. i leave a radio playing for sound, and break out two litter boxes for the duration. they do fine.

my recommend? leave the kittehs at home. make preparations like i mentioned above and have someone come check on them every other day. better for you, them, and the rest of the bipedals.

being stuck in some big noisy weird thing that moves and bumps is far more stressful than being in familiar confines on a favorite piece of furniture. there's strange noises and the light is different and the smells are different too. not worth it.

what's really neat is your homecoming. my cats come to greet me, which is awesome. you might have to mend a couple of fences with velcro-kitten at first for being gone, but that will take care of itself with a little time. extra petting/skritches/treats are good and i also recommend you bring home a little fresh catnip to help grease the reunion. always a good thing!
Reply With Quote
  #18  
Old 06-02-2011, 09:03 AM
PunditLisa PunditLisa is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: 'burbs of Cincinnati, OH
Posts: 13,372
Teenagers are a dime a dozen. Ask one of them to come get your mail and play with your kitty a few hours per day.

Lisa, mom of two teenage girls
Reply With Quote
  #19  
Old 06-02-2011, 09:47 AM
Hello Again Hello Again is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 1999
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tastes of Chocolate View Post
I was once moving from Chicago to Minneapolis. So we packed up a bunch of stuff the movers wouldn't take, I took one car and one cat and my SO took the other car and cat. By the end of the first hour, I was turning up the stereo, trying to drowned out the cat. By the end of 4 hours, I was ready to scream. By the end of 8 hours, even with a stop every 2 (for my sanity) I was chanting "Don't kill the cat, we are almost there. Don't kill the cat, we are almost there." Hours and hours of listening to a terrified pitiful cat is hell.
Yup - hell barely even describes it. When I moved from Michigan to Virginia, the cat yowled frantically for the entire 10 hour drive. Got to where, if he paused in his screaming for a few minutes, I started to worry he was dead.
Reply With Quote
  #20  
Old 06-02-2011, 11:12 AM
Cicero Cicero is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: Australia
Posts: 8,638
I bet you think "Helen Wheels" is a song by Wings?

It is not. It is "Hell On Wheels" and it is about taking a cat in a car.
Reply With Quote
  #21  
Old 06-02-2011, 06:07 PM
Scubaqueen Scubaqueen is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cicero View Post
I bet you think "Helen Wheels" is a song by Wings?

It is not. It is "Hell On Wheels" and it is about taking a cat in a car.

we're all agreed then: cats+car trip = hell
Reply With Quote
Reply



Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 05:59 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@chicagoreader.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Publishers - interested in subscribing to the Straight Dope?
Write to: sdsubscriptions@chicagoreader.com.

Copyright 2013 Sun-Times Media, LLC.