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Discussion Starter #1
Any advice for taking a cat on her first road trip? I'm going out of town for a week at Christmas and would like to take my cat with me. But the trip is 8 hours, and she has never been in the car for more than 15 minutes at a time before! I'm going to try and take her on a couple of "mini road trips" in the next week to try and get her used to being in a car, but what else can I do? I'm afraid she's going to freak out! Will she be ok that long without food, water, and using the litterbox?
Thanks in advance!
 

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I hear they're much better outside of a carrier if you have one. Most cats seem to have a fear of enclosed places (at least places with no hope means of escape).
 

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oh - and I'm taking Moby home for christmas. I hope that will be a good idea (it's a three hour drive and a 4 day stay), but I think he might prefer that to staying in my apartment alone.
 

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I'd definitely recommend you try to keep the cat in a carrier, sprayed down before your trip w/ some Feliway to keep her more relaxed. Leave the carrier out now so she can get used to it and view it in a non-threatening manner.

It's dangerous for you, the cat, and other drivers for her to be wandering around under your pedals, or up on the window obscuring your vision. If you are in an accident, her best chance of surival is to be in a carrier, strapped safely behind the seat belt. However, that being said, some cats will go wild if trapped in the carrier to the point their crying and digging to get out can be more dangerous as it's impossible to pay attention to the road! None of us like to see our cats distressed to that point. I have had a few who sit quietly in the seat beside me, crouched down up in the back of the car above the seats, or rest quietly on my shoulders behind my head (makes a great head rest). I'd suggest the carrier 1st, letting her out only as a last resort if she goes nuts. Make frequent stops and allow her to explore the car/exercise outside of her carrier. None of my cats has ever used a litter box, eaten or drank water on the road even on extremely long trips. It seems like that urge just shuts down. But other cats do so keep a fresh box and some food available for your stops.

I've traveled (and moved) a great deal w/ a great number of cats. They each respond differently. In the vast majority of cases, they prefer their carriers to be in the front seat beside me, facing me. They like me to stick my fingers in the carrier and touch their paws lightly. They like the carrier to be covered w/ a blanket to minimize the scary lights and visuals of other cars and trucks whizzing by. Make sure she doesn't get too hot w/ a blanket over the carrier, keep the lower front portion unconvered. Try singing to her or talking or whispering throughout the trip. Try to act as normal as possible even if she panics and starts YOWLING. Keep the music down or off if you can.

I tried Valium once that was prescribed by a vet. I hated seeing them drugged. The whole experience scared me and I won't do it again. However, drugs are always an option if your cat has a really hard time.

Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks so much for the suggestions! I too was wary of leaving her out of the carrier, because I have a feeling she will want to explore all around the car and I'd be worried about what she was doing. I'd like to try to avoid drugs but hadn't thought of getting Feliway, that's a good idea.
Should be an interesting trip for sure!
 

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I took Lilly on a trip to see the vet on Monday. It takes about an hour to get there. I had her in her carrier at first and then let her out for awhile. She was really freaked out after I let her out! So I put her back in her carrier and she was better. It probably depends on the cat though.
Another suggestion, my carrier came with a small food and water tray. It clips on to the front gate door. I would imagine somewhere would sell something like this.
If your carrier is big enough you can put a small litter tray in as well, maybe get one made for a ferret? Or just use a small pan of somekind.
Good luck! And have fun on your trip.
 

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I concur with Lunamystique, Much depends on the personality of the cat. Generally, I have found that a cat is not enthused about watching the traffic and sights go by, not like a dog. They would rather stay hidden inside something such as a covered carrier. If you place a cat in a pet carrier be sure that your pet is facing you, and choose a carrier with the door mesh large enough to place your fingers into in order to "scratch their ears", and watch their behavior. If they sit quietly, and are not bothered by being in a car, then there is a possibility that they will travel without a carrier, however, place a harness and leish on them for safety purposes. Otherswise, they can get frantic and disrupt your trip. I have had some cats simply hide under anything that is available during a journey. Then it can be a problem getting them out of the car after you arrive, if they do not run away after opening the doors, being in a panic.
 

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My two older cats have traveled very little, therefore, they are not comfortable in the car. My kitten, Ming, loves traveling in the car. She went to the lake with us every weekend from July, when we got her, through September. She never traveled in a carrier. She typically slept most of the time. When she did travel around, she never got in the way. She will be traveling with us next week to FL (a two-day trip). Since it has been a couple of months since her last big trip, I am curious if anything will have changed. I am going to take her to my Mom's on Saturday night (an 1 1/2 hour trip) to see how she reacts.

I think it depends if your cat is used to a carrier or not. I always take the other girls to the vet in a carrier, since that's the only way they would go. However, I've never used a carrier with Ming and would prefer not to if possible.
 

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My cats hate the cat carrier because they know it's time to go to the vet, but once we get to the vet, the carrier is their best friend and they can't wait to get back in it. I feel so bad for them. It's funny when my cats go somewhere new--they walk real low to the ground. I call them Low Riders. :wink:
 

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kittygirl04 said:
It's funny when my cats go somewhere new--they walk real low to the ground. I call them Low Riders. :wink:
That's hilarious! Mine do that too. I think they think no one can see them or something.

Justin loves to sit in the laundry basket (when it's empty). I call it his magic box because he truly thinks he's invisible. He could be surrounded by 10 pit bulls foaming at the mouth going wild and he'd sit there in there cool as a cucumber, yawning or licking his paw or something.
 
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