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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-22-2017, 12:50 PM Thread Starter
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Poor traveler

Not sure if this should be under behavior or health but put it here instead:


I just adopted two cats who had been in a foster home for quite a while (several years). Since earlyJuly they have bounced around from foster location to foster location and then a long stint in PetSmart.


Anyway, on the first day's ride home, the younger of the pair (the 3 yr old), pooped...all over herself and her carrier. Some of it was a tad loose so she may have peed too. Got most of it off her once in the room and the cat did the rest on her own within a few minutes.


Since they were both having some very minor medical issues, I took them to the vet yesterday (4 days after getting them). Aside from meowing, the older kitty weathered the ride fine as on the first day. The younger one was barfing within 15 minutes of the ride. It took me 40 min. to get to the vet because there were road construction flag men causing extra delays. Sure enough the 3 year old did a repeat performance of her pooping in addition to barfing. So by the time we got there, she was covered in barf and poop.


It was a blessing for the vet assistant to volunteer to clean her off and wash out the carrier. But face it, I don't want to go through this every time I take her to the vet or anywhere else. We're not sure if their itchy ear problems will clear up or not (no mites though) and I don't relish another trip so soon.


The trip home was fine as the vet expected (she'd pooped herself out and had an empty stomach).


I'm wondering how many of you have to put up with this problem and what your solutions for it are? The vet says pills work but take an hour to get into their systems. Maybe Feliway? Something else I don't know about that doesn't require me pushing pills down her throat? I want her ride to be comfortable, not filled with so much terror that she's voiding out nearly all available orifices.

Last edited by marie73; 09-22-2017 at 03:39 PM. Reason: font
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-22-2017, 01:26 PM
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What did the vet say? These symptoms weren't tied to any medical issues I guess?

Maybe try feeding them in advance to any appointments, give them time to use the litter, and perhaps play with them to encourage bowel movement..

She may not be accustomed to riding in cars and may be very scared and nervous. Riding in cars isn't very natural for them anyways Or perhaps she has some anxiety with travel from her history. Maybe have a comforting human sit by her and talk to her during the ride may help.

Try having the carrier out for the cat to explore and get used to. Put in treats, and make her feel it's a positive space. Actually we keep ours out, and the cats use it like a day bed

Last edited by marie73; 09-22-2017 at 03:40 PM.
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-22-2017, 02:06 PM Thread Starter
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Notorious Pets - thanks for the article link and the suggestions. I think I need to make it a positive space as you say because I heard they were moved like 4 times in July because it was one of those situations where the cats needed to be moved asap. I really am aware they were terrified and I tried to talk to them throughout the whole trip but face it, I'm the new 'mom' for all of 5 days and while they seem to like me and my husband, they aren't going to be comforted by our voices yet. Fear and anxiety I fully expected but purging everything (including the bladder I suspect) is such a dramatic response. And I'm thinking, "You girls have been together for several years and were always transported together -- same vehicle anyway -- as well, so why is one a fairly good traveler and the other spazzes out?"


The vet did suggest that I could give her a pill to calm her down but I was hoping for something more 'natural'. The hormone idea sounds good (feliway) and I should try it while the carrier doors are open as you've suggested.


No, no medical issues tied to this according to the vet but again, I haven't had her long.


In any case, I thank you for the article once again.
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-22-2017, 03:00 PM
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until you find a better solution, I would try to at least schedule her appointments for 1st thing in the morning as if she is going in for surgery or something - i.e. take all food away after 10 pm or something so that you have a better chance of there being nothing to poop out at least. she might still pee, but HOPEFULLY she will have emptied her bladder as well before the appointment.


Xanax worked great to reduce anxiety in one of my fosters, but not sure you'd want to do that before an appointment since I'm not sure if that would really mess up test results if you were getting blood or urine drawn.


and here's a really crazy idea - I had a foster who pooped and peed in his carrier 3 times while I had him and had to bring him back and forth for checkups. I finally just let him out of his carrier while I drove (put up a barrier, of course, so he couldn't disturb my actual driving) and provided him with a small little box in the back seat. he used it every time! no mess in the carrier! then i would just put him in the carrier again once I got to the shelter to carry him in. the drive to the shelter I volunteer for can be 1/2 an hour drive on a perfect day, and an hour during rush hour, so I had to come up with some kind of solution. this worked great!


I also do the whole "make the carrier a positive space" thing, too, though. I always leave it out and open for them to explore or even sit in if they want. I like to put treats in there as well in a puzzle feeder or something to make it more "fun" to explore.


do the 2 cats travel in the SAME carrier or separate ones? if they used to travel in the same big one before and had no problems, maybe you could consider that as well. I took care of a friend's cat for several months and the friend insisted the cat hated car travel, and was absolutely sure nothing would cure her of it. so, without telling her, I actually did start working on it and it seemed to be having some success, but I didn't have enough time really to see if it would make a difference in the long run - I would just bring the cat in the car for very very short stints to slowly get used to it. started out with her just exploring around the car in the garage on her own, then sat in the car in the garage with her for a couple minutes at a time. moved up to starting the car up and backing it out onto the driveway and sit there for a couple minutes. then added a short drive and parked for a few minutes, etc, etc, etc... no throw up or crazy screaming or yowling like she would do with her person. it seemed to be working...


I wish you luck!!!

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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-22-2017, 04:46 PM
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A previous cat of mine was always a bad traveller, she was my first cat and at the time we only brought her carrier out when it was time to go to a certain place that begins with a V, which didn't help.

Good luck!

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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-22-2017, 07:45 PM
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Did the foster say anything about what food they'd been eating at their last home? Loose bowels can be caused by a sudden change in diet. The vomiting could be car sickness, some cats suffer from that.
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-23-2017, 02:51 PM
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oh yeah. cerenia for car sickness might be needed. there are other anti-nausea meds, too, though.

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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-24-2017, 12:03 AM
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You could try the cat in the bag! I got a couple for my cats off their used site on eBay. I can't say how well they work yet, I've only put one of my cats in one of them but I have high hopes. Lol.

https://www.cat-in-the-bag.com
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-25-2017, 10:42 AM Thread Starter
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All of these are great ideas. Without them being microchipped (I'm fostering to adopt so all is up in the air), I wouldn't want to risk them getting out of the car but it makes sense to me to put up a barrier and a litter box. I was going to do that if I took them on a longer trip. They use separate carriers. I don't know how they were transported before this. And yeah, that's a great idea for not feeding her the night before and making an early appointment. Many thanks for the suggestions.

Last edited by marie73; 09-25-2017 at 03:24 PM.
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-25-2017, 10:47 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nuliajuk View Post
Did the foster say anything about what food they'd been eating at their last home? Loose bowels can be caused by a sudden change in diet. The vomiting could be car sickness, some cats suffer from that.
No idea what they ate. Rescue person said it was donated food to Pet Smart and usually a grade up from Purina. Her BM wasn't exactly loose (mixed with urine in parts I think because some was solid). I think it's pure stress, not food related. I agree, car sickness too. I also wondered if a larger carrier or even a crate would work (I have a stationwagon). Maybe the confined space is terrifying.
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