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Cross Country co-pilot...

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thought I'd post a few pics and also ask about opinions on me and Jarama's setup for doing cross country road trips.

My car is a 2000 New Beetle and has 102,000 miles on it already. Crossed the country 9.5 times so far, the first trip starting just 2 hours after I got it. Break in period finished in 2 days (1500 miles), and 2 weeks later I was back at the dealer for it's first service (5000 miles). So you can see that travelling and driving are both hard wired into my system... Grew up an army brat and love my cars, so it's hopeless...

My only choice when going on these long trips, now that I have Jarama, is to take him with me. Now in the past I had 2 kittens, Jalpa and Verruca with my Ex of the time, and we took them on a weekend trip with us once, keeping them in a kitten carrier the whole way and occasionally letting them out to use a small temp litter box and feed them and such. This was a pain in the @$$, with them yelling all the time, and not giving any warning before needing the litter box... we usually got them out too late. So...

Jarama has it differently. I fold down the rear seats, velcro his litter box to one side of the trunk, and his food/water, on the other side with lots of space between to prevent accidental mixin gof the litter into the water or food. And basically he gets the entire rear half of the bug to roam around, and more often stretch out and nap in... everyone's much much happier.

Now I have Urraco as well and in a few months I will most likely take them both on a trip back to the east coast for a few weeks, and I'm thinking of doing it this way again. The bug has plenty of space for the 3 of us, and I dont think there will be a huge problem. I am actually getting a special part made up to hold food and water bowls on either side of the back, so the litters will be in the far far back on either side. In addition to that I'm making up plans for a hammock that will stretch from the head rests of the front seats, to the back area of the bug on some mounting points, suspended by bungee cords, giving them some more non-vibrating nap space.

Jarama loved being able to wander a little bit in the bug, and see out the windows and/or sun himself stretched out in the back. And since I have a 10ft trailer behind the bug, there is never any luggage in the cabin other than some snack foods and bottled water.

Anyone else have a good travel setup for road trips with a kitten/cat (or more than one) ? Any comments on the above ?

Click the pictures for enlargments

post #2 of 13
I'm sorry I don't have any advice for you... but those pictures are adorable!
post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 
Well, not having advice is excusable As long as no one sees any flaw in my plans and practices. I tried to ensure he is as comfortable as possible, and still safe.
post #4 of 13
I've also never travelled with my cat, so I can't really comment on your plans with any sort of knowledge. (Thank goodness for other members on this board! ) The half-hour ride to the vet in his carrier is enough for both Spike and me. You'd swear I was torturing him! (In reality, he's just sitting in his carrier, listening to a cat cd playing softly, and his mommy begging him not to be so upset with her. )
post #5 of 13
What a great set up! Custom food bar for each kitty, vertical space with the hammock. . .wow your kitties are lucky to have all these amenities. And such cute pics!!!

Maybe for more ideas look at what sailboat owners do to accomodate their cats. I know a lot of kitties are quite the sailors and enjoy time cruising across oceans with their people.

I'm assuming you've read The Cat Who Went to Paris? the tales of Scottish fold Norton and his person traveling all around the world? If you haven't read the books, you must get them. You'd find so much in common!
post #6 of 13
We used to have a lovely calico cat by the name of Smudge. We had her since she was a day old and raised her by hand. We lived in Alaska at the time, and we traveled a lot. From the get-go she went with us. She loved to travel wrapped up over the top of our seat, around our neck. We also had a german shepherd, and she would go with us everywhere as well! The looks we got, not only did we have a cat in the truck, but a dog as well!

One of our biggest savers were the pet windows that we installed. They fit over the windows of the truck, when the windows were down, and were made of heavy cord, so the air could go through but the cat couldn't get out. We bought them from a mail order catalog, and they were such a nice thing to have.

Smudge used to also like to ride with the UPS drivers, they had to be careful when pulling up at the house, because she would go in and hop on their dash and settle down for the duration. LOL She dearly loved to travel.

Your cats sound like they have it made with you, and you have really covered all the bases. Good for you!
post #7 of 13
Thread Starter 
Now if I can just get them to get along, we'll be a big roadtrip takin happy family...
post #8 of 13
Wow what lucky kitties! I would test drive a couple shorter trips to see how things go before the long haul. This will give you some insight as to any changes you may need to make.

Maybe include a hand vac for litter and food spills.
post #9 of 13
Thread Starter 
hand vac is a good idea i should look into one.
I might take them on a little day drive to see, yeah. but first have to get them playing together civily though...
post #10 of 13
Cute pics, I'm assuming though that the little one doesn't lay on your wheel as the car is moving.

You're lucky to have an enclosed car/vehicle. I have a wrangler and when bringing TC home from AZ to NJ, I made sure to get her an x-tra large carrier that I used a a living quarters. Litter in a special container in the back velcroed to the carrier and the food/water attached to the cage.

She loves the Jeep and top down weather. I'll be looking for a harness system that can be used in conjunction with the seat belts as my biggest fear (and should also be yours to a point) is being unsecured and getting into an accident. Seat belts are mandatory now for us humans and I want to make sure my kitty isn't flying out of the vehicle or getting beat up if something bad happened.

Just remember, kitty and car are moving at 70 MPH on highway and all of a sudden the car is at 0 MPH... but the kitty is still at 70 MPH.
post #11 of 13
Thread Starter 
I'm aware of physics yeah Unfortunately there is that grey area between restraint and letting them actually enjoy the ride... I lean towards the enjoyment side more because well, this is usually long straight highway with no one around, and we're at 65 mph tops due to the trailer. Typically nothing that i'd have to slam the brakes on for, and well... I cant with the trailer anyway

Yes that photo was when we were driving (see the needles?), but like I said, clear dead-straight roads...

I'm in the process of designing a cage (much like a police car) for behind the front seats, which would turn the whole back half of the car into a pet carrier temporarily (removable cage)... This might be how I proceed. Would ensure that they arent up around the pedals (we've had that "talk" a few times)... and other such safety concerns would be fixed
post #12 of 13
Ah, "the talk". I had to explain to Sam that he does not need to ride right up on the dashboard, watching the road ahead. Its actually a little safer if I am the one in charge of that job.
post #13 of 13
Thread Starter 
Well, with the acre and a half of dash that the New Beetle has, it's kinda hard to resist sunning up there in Jarama's case... and when theres no one else around and we're out on open highway, I don't have a big problem with it As soon as we start to need an exit, he goes back to coach !!
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