Transporting cats

In a couple of months, I will be moving my entire household 1200 miles away. I’m doing all the moving myself with the help of a few friends & my brother. I have three cats to transport; two older cats & a young feral kitty. Since we’ll be driving a slow UHaul, the trip is going to take almost two days.

So far the plan involves three cat carriers and a trip to my vet for tranquilizers; if he recommends them. Flying them out would be expensive & also traumatic, so I’ve ruled that out. If anybody has any experience or suggestions, I’d appreciate the input! I’m not worried about the transition once we get there, but the journey itself. I want to minimize the stress to my cats in any way possible!

Thank you! Darryl, Daphne & Taz also thank you. :slight_smile:

I drove 1500 miles one time with my eight year old daughter, three cats, and a hamster. Cat tranks are the ONLY way to go. Butter or oil the pills, and they’ll be less difficult to get down the cat. I won’t say that the procedure is EASIER, I’ll just say it’s less difficult. The pills will make it much more pleasant for all involved, humans AND cats.

I’ve seen one trick to get pills into recalcitrant cats.

My friends wraps her cats up in an old towel, like an Egyptian mummy which immobilises them, then she uses a straw to gently blow the pills down the cats mouth, works a treat and is much less traumatic than a half-hour struggle with claws and screeches.

First off Carina, let me say that Colorado will be less because of your leaving.

Now, as to the cats. Tranks can help. For some, carrying cages are a necessity. But for others, good traveling cats, neither are really necessary. We have three cats and one has to be medicated within an inch of death to travel. Another, once you get him in the travel cage, he settles down and is fine. The third, Beau, loves to travel. About half the time she rides on my shoulder and the other half sits in the back window keeping me posted as to when cars are coming up on me from behind.

I would suggest taking them on practice trips on the roads near your house to see how they react.


P.S. you’ll be missed.

Make sure you reduce the dosage according to the weight of the cat.
Have moved several times with no medication (for the animals.) However due to the size of the herd, three cats, two dogs, and two horses, once used Doggy Downers obtained from the vet. We lost two of the cats after arrival. Out best guess, because only the largest of the cats survived, is that the pills weaked the cats against disease in the new location.

I recommend erroring on the side of more active cats.

Thank you, TV time, that’s sweet of you. I’ve considered this move very carefully…I’ve been in Colorado since 1985, & it feels like home. I’ll miss it too! Though I’ll be keeping my house here & renting it, so I’ll be back on occasion.

I did consider just tossing all three cats into the back of the moving van, driving as fast as possible, and keeping my fingers crossed. I know from vet trips just a few blocks away, that my two older cats think they are about to die whenever they’re in the car. Daphne the feral won’t let me pick her up; & the only car trip she has had was when I trapped her & got her spayed. You could hear her 4 blocks away.

each cat does seem to react differently. My delicate tiny female had the loudest voice in the universe and especially when traveling. The other, more macho guy grumbled when in a carrier, but was happy as could be perched on my son’s lap with his face in the breeze from the vent. Go figure.

I’d second the ‘testing them out’ on trips, getting them used to the idea that being in the cat carrier/car doesn’t always mean some mean old person in a white jacket poking them with stuff.

Also, make sure the vet is setting the dosage.

Re: pilling cats. My delicate tiny female had to have pills twice a day for the last couple of years of her life. I got to be quite the pro. First times did the wrap kitty like a mummy, etc, sometimes that worked, also did the ‘hide it in the strained baby food meat product’ a couple of times (that worked a couple of times, too).

I don’t need such tricks anymore, after giving her over 1000 pills per year for several years (2 - 3 pills every day), but if you only need to deal with it for a few days, the baby food/ cream cheese kind of thing would probably work fine for you.

The fact that you have a cat named Darryl is the cutest thing I ever heard.

One thing that helped us with our cat Gryffin was using his cat case as a cat house all the time. We call it the Casa Del Gryff, and it’s always out. We keep his favorite towel and his toys in the Casa, and he often takes naps in it. When it comes time to travel, he’s very familiar with the Casa.

Also, before our first big trip, we took him on several little trips, starting with spins around the block, to get him used to the car. Yes, he cried continuously the first couple of times, but he improved.

In the car, we found it worked better if we elavated the case (and secured it) so he could look out the window. I’m not sure if this would work in a van, though. He also likes highway driving (I guess it’s the smooth ride) more than city driving.

Are you staying overnight in a hotel/motel? Call ahead to find one that takes cats, and make reservations, because some motels only have a certain number of designated rooms that allow pets and they fill up quickly.

This is some of the best advice of all. Have articles with the animal’s scent on them included in the cage or container. Practice runs are good too. The tranqs will probably help as well.

Best wishes on your move.

Carina42, I’m sorta in the same boat. We plan on moving 2000 miles later this year and we have three dogs and two cats. I scared to death about moving the animals. I have cat carriers, tranqs will be used as a last resort. The dogs like riding in vehicles, but one of my cats is a travel-hater (the other tolerates trips to the vet, he’s mellow). One thing I’m still not sure of is how do I manage the litter box? Someone suggested getting a large wire crate, like 4x4 foot, and letting both my cats loose inside, maybe put a perching shelf halfway up the wall, and then wiring a litter box and food & water dishes to the floor. That way when you get to the hotel you can pick the whole crate up and carry the cats inside. The only problem is that I don’t know if I’ll have enough room in my van for that big of a crate. I am going to make informative ID tags too, with phone #'s back here, hotels along the way and our ultimate destination…in case the worse happens and somebody gets loose. I have a link with pet friendly hotels, you can punch in your travel route and all the pet-friendly hotels along the way will come up:

Yikes, I hadn’t thought of the litter box thing. I guess I assumed the cats would be too freaked out to eat, so they wouldn’t be pooping. Hmm. As several have suggested, trial runs are probably not a bad idea…I’m giving more thought to just putting all three of them inside the moving van, where they’ll be around familiar furniture & smells & can find a dark place to hunker down for a couple of days. There are travelling “no-spill” water dishes for pets I could put in there for them. My dogs both adore car rides, so they’ll enjoy the whole thing. If I say “truck” they both know exactly what that means!

I’m not planning on stopping at all…my brother & his girfriend will be with me & we’ll drive two vehicles & tow one & have a rotating driver if someone gets too tired.

Thanks for the petfriendly link, **Boscibo{/b]…that’s a good resource to save!

Did you mean putting their carrying cases in the back of the van? It’s sometimes hard to regulate the temperature in the back part of a van, so I might worry about that depending on the season and the weather when you are travelling. I would be nervous about letting them run loose in the back of the van, because no matter how well you pack the van, an unexpected brake or a quick turn might dislodge something.

Picture this.

It’s 1978, and my family are moving house (only about 250 miles) We have four cats, and one three year old (me). The cats are all tranquilised, and have been put in cardboard boxes. The cardboard boxes are on the back seat of the car, next to the child seat.
About 100 miles into the journey, one of the cats wakes up. He’s still stoned as f**k - just not quite stoned enough to sleep. He doesn’t know where he is. He can’t see anything. It’s like he’s trapped inside some kind of box. He gets the fear something bad. He yowls. Nothing happens. He yowls some more. He has to get out. He claws at the corner of the cardboard box, and manages to get a paw out.
“Mum, the cats are trying to get out of the boxes! What shall I do?” asks the three year old.
“Just let them be” says Mum.
The cat tears his way out of the cardboard box. He cranes his neck to see what the hell’s going on. He yowls some more. Once he gets the measure of his surroundings, he seems to lose the worst of the fear. He spends the rest of the journey on Mum’s shoulder. It’s cool.
The yowling has woken up one of the other cats, and soon an hole appears in another of the cardboard boxes.
“Mum! The cats are trying to get out again…”

re: the litter box thing. When I traveled with my cats, I just carried a shallow cardboard box with me along with some cat litter in a bag. After about 8 hours or so on the road with the cats in their carriers, I stopped and set up the temporary litter box on a flat surface somewhere in the car. Then I let the cats out, showed them the box and let them have at it if they needed to. If they used it, it got thrown away. Voila. Worked like a charm.

Good luck with the move! With tranqs, cat carriers, and practice trips, you should be fine.