Desperately Need Vacation - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-29-2015, 03:59 PM Thread Starter
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Desperately Need Vacation

My almost 17-year-old Siamese takes methimazole twice daily for thyroid issues. This cat hates everyone, except hubby and me. We have not had a vacation in over 3-1/2 years since my fur baby had to start meds.

Has anyone taken their cat on an 8-hour (one-way) car trip? I am trying to come up with other options, but I know the cat would not let anyone near her to medicate her. She would be totally stressed out if I boarded her at the vet. She has not been around other cats. At her age, I hate to stress her out. Is there anything the vet could safely give her to keep her sedated enough
that she wouldn't really care to be there?
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-29-2015, 04:21 PM
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Hi Jen,
I have no idea, if either this link will help!
But here you go!

"A Cat must have three different names:
An everyday family name; A particular name;
And the name but the Cat Himself Knows, and will never confess." T.S. Eliot

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Last edited by marie73; 08-29-2015 at 04:40 PM.
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-29-2015, 04:37 PM
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i can totally relate. i haven't gone anywhere myself for 3 1/2 years either since Angel started having kidney issues. she also hates all other cats, dogs and is suspicious and hides from strangers. i can't bear the thought of even trying to leave her with someone or board her just so i can go on a "vacation". i wouldn't enjoy the vacation, anyway, because i'd be worrying about her the whole time.

i manage to pretend i'm not completely tied to home all the time by taking her out on short car rides just to sit by the beach, feed some birds, or just to park by some hopping bars at night so she (and I!) can see the people and excitement. pretty pitiful, i know.

thought about just spending a night with her at a hotel not too far away for something different, but eventually decided the trouble and expense wasn't worth it.

i've thought many times of buying some kind of a "pen" for her that i could set up if i did go on a longer trip somewhere with her. something you could stake into the ground with something like chicken wire or netting so that she could have a break from the car and get some fresh air and stretch her legs every couple hours or so. haven't done it yet myself, but maybe that's something you could do in addition to or in place of drugs to sedate her for a full 8 hours. i'd bring along a litter box for her as well, of course.

good luck. hope SOMEONE gets to go on vacation...
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-29-2015, 07:02 PM
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Last time I remember spending a night away from home was sometime around 1993, in case you need a little perspective.

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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-30-2015, 12:39 AM
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Jenlee, I'd be very hesitant to sedate, especially since your girl is older. Plus, a sedative isn't always effective.

My cats made an 11-hour car trip, split over 2 days, with me and a friend of mine when I moved down here. They were each in their own carrier, and the carriers were seatbelted. They'd taken 3-hour trips with me before, and they were quiet the whole first day. We stayed at a motel overnight (I'd chosen one that I knew took pets). They had last eaten about 45 minutes before we left that day (I learned from experience that they need to digest the food, to prevent vomiting), but they didn't eat or drink overnight. They also didn't use the litterbox. Cats' bodies shut down when they're stressed, so this wasn't a surprise.

The second day, they were quiet until we had about 1.5 hours left to drive. At that point, Margaux decided enough was enough and started meowing. My friend tried to give her some attention, and she'd be quiet for a few minutes, then start meowing again. If that had gone on for the entire trip, I probably would have gone out of my mind. Celia was so scared that she never made a sound.

But they were fine once we arrived.

If your kitty isn't used to car rides, maybe you could try out an hour drive, just to see how she tolerates it.
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-30-2015, 11:27 AM
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My vet clinic offers cat boarding. Perhaps one near you does as well? The vet techs would be doing the care-taking, so they'd be familiar with giving medication to difficult cats.
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-30-2015, 11:56 AM
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How long until the trip? If you have time start acclimating her to riding in a car by hanging out in the car with her. When she's comfortable just being in there start going on SHORT rides to get her used to the movement.

The farthest I've driven my cats is to cape like 45 mins-hour. That was hard. I can't imagine 8 hours. The screaming, foaming at the mouth, panting, etc. made me want to cry. Then Neko pooped in his crate so we got to drive around with that smell, plus the poor cat was covered in poop when we arrived.

Now of course, every cat is different. Some might not mind car rides even if they're not used to them.

I'd board them at a cat only facility and explain your concerns to see if they think they'll be able to manage it. Or find a vet who feels confident they can do it. Your other option, if your cat doesn't take to car rides well, is to get medication for the car ride. I don't know what they'd suggest...sedatives, benzos, benadryl maybe. However given her age maybe none of that's safe. Some people have luck with rescue remedy or feliway too.

But first find out how she handles care rides in the first place. Maybe she'll do fine.
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-30-2015, 12:39 PM
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I've not done an 8 hour trip, but I have done multiple 5 hour trips. First step is to be sure the cat is comfy with the carrier for long periods. Like overnight. Next step, after comfort is achieved, is to see about going in the car. Maybe just sitting in the carrier in the car in the driveway. When that is ok, try driving around a bit. I think the biggest most important part is comfort being in the carrier for a long time. And the next big deal is feeling secure in the car. My cat spent every night in the carrier from kittenhood on. It was homebase, his space, safe. So he did not care one bit about the car. He slept, peered out at things best he could, watched me, slept some more. Never yowled. I kept him in a harness while traveling. And clipped on a leash before opening the car door *or* letting him out of the carrier. Every couple hours we'd stop and take a potty break, just a little walk around (more like a drag around). One thing I've found with other cats is that covering the carrier with a towel can be calming. I used no meds whatsoever and never worried about food. Always carried a bit of kibble and a jar of "home" water and a clip on dish (carriers often come with such a thing). Good luck. I sure do hear you about getting away. Of course a kennel or vet board can be done, but if you don't want to do that, then you get to train your cat to car rides!
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-30-2015, 06:40 PM
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I know I'm playing a bit of devil's advocate here, but one thing to keep in mind is whether the drive and the trip in general would stress your girl just as much, if not more, than being boarded at her vet for a few days.

My kitty is 17 as well, and has kidney failure (CRF/CKD) and a host of other issues that often go along with it. I was hesitant to board her at the vet when my family planned a vacation, but she loathes travel so much that, after lengthy consideration, I deemed it less stressful for her to spend a few days at the vet than to spend hours in the car/carrier and then having to stay in an unfamiliar place.

I've had to board her a few times since then (once when we had our house tented for termites) and I'm sure she isn't HAPPY at the vet's, but she has always returned none the worse for wear, and they give her all her meds on time, give her the food I prefer, and keep me updated on her with emails. To me, it's much more comforting to know she's somewhere she'll be safe rather than risk an ill kitty on a road trip where anything can happen (an accident, me losing her medication, her escaping the carrier/car/hotel somehow, etc.)

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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-30-2015, 07:56 PM
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I would just do a stay-cation, so to speak, with some local activities, outings and events within a short drive of your home so that you can continue to provide her care personally.

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