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My plan to drive 12hrs with a kitten - comments and advice?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
Hi there,

This Sunday me and by bf and Moses (5 months) will be driving 12 hours. I've read up on what a lot of people have done for long road trips, and I haven't read of anyone doing this, but I think it could work.

Here's the plan:

First of all i'd like to say that I don't have a large carrier, and don't have the money to buy one, or otherwise he'd be in a crate the whole time.
He will be constantly harnessed and leashed the entire time. I have a small, 4-door sedan, and we are planning on buckling his leash to the backseat seatbelt, and giving him free-range of the backseat. We figure that this way he can still move around, maybe lay in the back window, but he won't be able to get underneath the drivers feet and cause a safety hazard.

I picked up some puppy piddle-pads (housetraining absorbant pads) and plan to lie them across the back seat with a towel overneath, and tucked into the seat crack so the towel won't move around. (just in case he has an accident)
I will have his kitty-bed in the backseat as well as an arsenal of toys (including some new one's he's never seen before).

I am also considering putting his covered litterbox on the backseat floor, wedged in between the front seat and the backseat, but I don't know if:
a) he'll use it while the car is in motion
b) the stink will be too much to bear if he does
If I don't end up putting it on the floor, I have a covered plastic storage container that we can throw in the trunk and bring out at stops.

We are planning a "test-ride" this Friday to see how it'll work.

Any advice, comments, opinions would be great!
post #2 of 12
Well personally I'd put him in the carrier you have to ride for a few hrs at a time rather then "tie" him to the back seat. Stop every few hrs (normally potty stop or lunch, etc.) and then leash him and let him out of the carrier to use the litter pan.

Offer him some water but unless you are stopping for the night and sleeping over, no food while riding. You could give him a small handful of dry when you stop and eat - water too. But then put him in the carrier to be more protected.
post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 
Our carrier is SO tiny I would just feel so bad leaving him in there. (there'll be 4-hr stretches where there's no place to stop). He throws a fit when he's in the carrier for 20 minutes on the way to the vet. I think I would be heartbroken by all the mewing and want to let him out.

Really no food? He only eats dry if that makes a difference.
post #4 of 12
In my experience a lot of cats who eat during a trip wind up throwing up in the car while its moving. That's why I make it a rule that my show cats don't eat anything till we get to the show.

A small amount of food would be fine when you stop to eat, but just be prepared if the kitten throws up while traveling. And you mentioned about him being on a leash but being able to jump in the back window. That means the leash is pretty long and if the kitten decides to get under the seat he could get caught up under there. He might not reach the front seats, but he could get himself in trouble.

And if he's still a kitten, what size carrier will you have when he's full grown? If the carrier is tiny now, he won't fit in it when older (2-3 yrs old), so maybe you should reconsider in buying him a decent size carrier that will fit him when he's all grown up

With Charlie, we used our small carrier to bring him home but we bought a larger size to fit him when he's 12 lbs and fully grown.
post #5 of 12
I think the idea of limiting food is due to the possibility of car sickness. If you think the litter box might be bad..... Vomiting pets are worse. We drove 200 miles with an ill Golden Retriever. Dog vomit is worse than cat vomit, by the way.

I don't think the litter box will be too bad. I really don't notice the smell when we travel.

We use a seatbelt harness on my son's dog. Be sure to cover the buckle on the car seatbelt, it seems to get hot easily.

Honestly, the carrier will probably make your cat feel more secure. You could always try it for part of the trip and switch to the seatbelt if it just doesn't work.

Have fun. We are traveling with 3 large dogs and a cat this weekend.
post #6 of 12
We've done those long road trips with cats. I didn't bring the litter boxes from home I just bought a new small litter pan and put a small amount of litter in the box, just in case.

The no food idea is a good one. They can get car sick and they won't just puke in one spot either!

I don't like the leash because so many things can go wrong with that. Even though the crate is small take it with you and leave the door open and he will go in.

Have a safe trip!
post #7 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by snosrap5 View Post
We've done those long road trips with cats. I didn't bring the litter boxes from home I just bought a new small litter pan and put a small amount of litter in the box, just in case.

The no food idea is a good one. They can get car sick and they won't just puke in one spot either!

I don't like the leash because so many things can go wrong with that. Even though the crate is small take it with you and leave the door open and he will go in.

Have a safe trip!
I agree, leaving the leash on may be more dangerous than the fear of the cat getting under the driver's feet. We take their carrier, leave the door open and put a towel over the back and 2 sides so they have a hidey place to retreat to. Bijou spends a great deal of his travel time in that carrier or laying on top of my feet on the passenger side. We leave a dish of water out for them and we also have a small pan of litter on the floor in the back seat. If it smells you can always scoop (yes, don't forget to bring a scooper in the car) and tie it up in plastic.

We do keep their harnesses on during the trip so that a leash can be quickly fastened on if we need to stop for gas or whatever.

As long as there are two of you in the car, the one not driving can keep an eye on the cat to ensure it doesn't get into trouble. Sometimes Bijou and Mika are just content to be held in my arms so they can see out the window as my hubby drives.

Don't be surprised if for the first half hour the cat yowls until you are nearly crazy. Our cats did that the first couple times they went for car rides, now they just jump in, curl up on the back seat and wait for the adventure to begin.
post #8 of 12
Thread Starter 
We'll be stopping for breakfast and lunch - if we're stopped for an hour, is it okay to give him food, or will he get sick an hour after eating when we start driving again?

Thanks for the replies!
post #9 of 12
You can give him some food and water - but just about 1/2 the normal amount. Then if he gets sick, won't be so bad to clean up.
post #10 of 12
They have disposable kitty boxes you can buy at any grocery store in the litter section. That might be good for you travelling. If you put that behind one seat and put something else blocking the other, maybe he won't be able to get under the seats. You could crack the windows an inch or two so that if he does poop the smell can drift away. My cats hate car rides too, but they're not used to them like other cats are. My vet is less than 5 minutes away and they still meow!

Good luck!
post #11 of 12
Thread Starter 
Another question about getting car sick: can he have water throughout the trip, or will this make him sick too.

I did a test run yesterday for 2 1/2 hrs, worked well, just wish my a/c worked better. I was able to put his litter box on the floor behind the passenger seat and his open carrier on the floor behind the driver's seat, so he couldn't get under the seats. He spent most of the time on my lap (in passsenger seat)
post #12 of 12
*sigh* Don't know if I told you this story - take it for what its worth in travelling.

Friend of mine was taking her friend to the vet (with the cat in her lap in the passenger seat). Cat was fine - rode like this all the time and no problems.

They were stopped at a red light, a fire truck came thru with lights flashingand sirans on, etc. The cat panicked, leapt out of the owner's arms and straight into the windshield! The cat had a brain concussion and they rush him to the vet but it was too late - the poor cat died.

Now had that cat been IN a carrier in the back seat he'd have been alive.

You decide if you want the risk of your cat hurt in a sudden stop or something that might scare the heck out of him riding loose in the car.
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