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How Do I Move Across Country w/ 10 Cats?

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
I am sorry for the lack of pictures or avatars... some time soon I will sit down and figure it all out...I am a little technologically challenged in the download photo dept.
My situation is this: I have 10 cats. I love them all like my own children but they are the biggest obstacle to me living my dream. I want to move from Jacksonville, FL to San Diego to be near my grandchildren - especially now while they are young and my daughter could use my help.
So, my first question is what is the average cost to fly a cat? Is it by animal, weight, or carrier? Are some airlines less expensive than others? Is there more feasible way to transport them? I've considered driving them, but wow, that's minimum 3 days on the road and I would have to keep them contained all day every day, and then there's the hotel situation...
The second dilema is finding a home to rent that will allow me to have 10 cats. The deposits will be so high that this dream is seeming more and more impossible every day. Any suggestions or ideas will be welcome. And getting rid of any of them is out of the question (which is what most of my friends and family are suggesting ). Thank you.
post #2 of 16
Wow, that is a great question! I have no practical idea. I know my one cat hates to travel the 2 miles to the vet. I'd go bonkers with 10 crying cats in the car. Plus you would need at least 5 carriers at 2 cats per, which means a big car or van. Sounds like shipping them air freight would be the best option. I would try to get a non-stop flight and have someone pick them up at the other end so their time in the crates is minimized.
post #3 of 16
You might check with Southwest - I thought I had read something about a new, and pretty low, IIRC, fee for flying pets. There's also a new airline that is just for flying pets, but I don't believe they's started service yet. You'd have to google them.

One thing you may have to check about housing, other than rental agreements, is whether the town/county/whatever has legal limits on number of pets per home. That's more applicable to urban/suburban housing, but you'd hate to be surprised after you foudn something you liked.

Best of luck
post #4 of 16
Most airlines charge $250 to per cat to ship them.
The pet airline only goes to a few places.
My sister jsut got a kitten shipped from Florida to California a few months ago.
post #5 of 16
What about renting a minvan or RV camper? It would still be less expensive them shipping the cats (and your belongings) and you could sleep in it too. No solution will be perfect with 10 cats, but this might be the best for them. Im pretty sure cats dont like flying too.
post #6 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thank you so much for all your responses! You all are very nice people!

Yes, I agree, a two mile trip to the vet and you'd think I was driving them to an axe murderer. A few of them stress pretty hard over anything outside of their normal world, so I also worry about the whole process of getting them on a plane, the actual plane ride, then some one else picking them up for me. And cost is a biggie. I am a Realtor, so I will be starting my career again from scratch and every penny will count.

I really like the RV answer - for a few reasons. I can take my time and not feel that I have to cut my driving days short. It would help with not having to pay for extra nights in hotel room and I won't have to go through the ordeal of sneaking them all in a room with litter boxes etc. And it would be nice for them to have some stretching room, rather than keeping them cooped up in carriers all day long.

And thank you for the tip regarding the city pet limits. I exceed it in my city already, and have had nightmares about some one showing up and telling me to pick the two I want to keep. Which would be impossible. I will keep researching my options for that, but if any of you think of anything, please let me know. Anyone know anyone with a nice little farm house in the outskirts of San Diego? Hee hee.

PS - Pics coming soon!
post #7 of 16
Great idea about an RV! It could be a problem renting one for a one-way trip. But another option is to buy a used one and selling it once you got there. If you can get it at reasonable price, you just might be able to recoup your entire cost when you sell it. It could also serve as temporary living quarters while you are looking for a permanent home.
post #8 of 16
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Dusty's Mom View Post
Great idea about an RV! It could be a problem renting one for a one-way trip. But another option is to buy a used one and selling it once you got there. If you can get it at reasonable price, you just might be able to recoup your entire cost when you sell it. It could also serve as temporary living quarters while you are looking for a permanent home.
What a fabulous idea! This could really work for me. I will look into it and keep you posted.

Thank you so much, everyone!
post #9 of 16
Ten cats cross-country? WOW!!!

I found out, the last two times that I moved, that three cats in a larger carrier will work (although the first time I had a smaller carrier on standby in case anyone went nuts). I'm moving again next month, and this is going to be a two-day-drive move, so here's something I've been considering and it might work for you...I heard that some vets will give kitty tranquilizers for a road trip, so they won't be soooo stressed. (Actually one of my friends said to slip them a quarter of a Benadryl, but I don't know how safe that is.)
post #10 of 16
WOW!! Good luck to you........10 cats in a place is tough, 10 cats in an RV...WOW.....Also if you by an RV you can stay in it till you find a place.
post #11 of 16
Sounds like some good advice on how to move those kitties.

Here is some advice on how to find a place which will let you have them.

First start researching now. Put out feelers now in the cities that you want to live and contact rescue groups there. A lot of rescue groups will have names of landlords who rent to pet owners. Get your family to ask around and start networking in order to find someone who would be comfortable with renting to someone with 10 cats.

Second make up pet resumes with references from your vet, friends who know you well, previous landlords if you had rented before. You will most likely have to sell the idea of that many cats to a landlord and you may have to prove that you are a responsible pet owner. Make sure to include pictures that show the state of your house that don't look staged such as family gatherings, holidays and even just photos of everyday life. These can be proof that you keep your home nice and that it is not destroyed by your cats.

Third make sure you have a good amount of money saved up for a REFUNDABLE pet deposit. With that many cats it may be a bigger sum but make absolutely sure that you get that money back when you move on.

Another very good piece of advice is to get yourself a Realtor. Being a Realtor yourself you know that you guys are great at negotiating and it takes away the emotional aspect of you trying to talk a landlord into letting your cats stay.

Good luck! I can easily feel where you are coming from. I have 6 cats and would hate to ever have to sell my house and rent again.
post #12 of 16
There is some really good advice here. I hope kitkittles keeps us updated.
post #13 of 16
Kitty tranqs can have some different effects on different cats. (see my post on traveling with claustrophobic cats). Some cats pass right out, some only get relaxed but still alert, but some will react badly to the medications, and the temporary calming effect just disorients and upsets them. Some cats will even injure themselves if they wake up from traqs inside carriers. Mine does. Try using harnesses and leashes for them, and see if that will help any. If you use the RV idea, and they are getting into places they shouldn't (like under your feet and the pedals) a leash can be fastened to a seat belt to keep them within their limits. As far as traveling with 10 cats... wow, good luck. You are one brave person for even considering this. Best of luck to you, and I hope you can find a solution that will work for you and your fluffies.
post #14 of 16
I thought about this too. I could just see her driving down the road with 10 cats climbing all over her. The harness/leash idea seems good to keep them confined away from the wheel.
post #15 of 16
Fwiw, I did just that when I married and my honeymoon (most of it) was moving the contents of my house, and my 10 cats cross-country - NY to WA state. (My mom and step-dad handled the truck with my stuff and car trailer)

My husband and I rented a van, and used what are called exercise pens set up in the back (coated wire, two shelves, a floor base that can be washed off)..I had a 'time out' carrier in case any one cat in a group got upset, packed water from home (or you can use a good bottled water..just not the water you'd get along the way..that begs for loose stool issues!)toys, no-rinse shampoo in case I had accidents that got in their fur, to clean up at night..lots of litter and paper towels etc.

At night, we used carriers to carefully pack them up in the van, then take to the room - always getting a room on the first floor with an outdoor entrance door. i had toys, plastic bags I put under the litter box.
I learned..they will not eat or drink during the day, but the litter box would get used...if I were doing it again, I'd find a better way to secure a water bowl so it didn't get tipped over.

Basically - plan, plan, plan and pack, pack, pack bags with just what you need for during the day.

I used no tranquilizers, just lots of talking to them during the day and honestly, they all handled it very well..except for Misty (who was under 6 months of age)..she pestered the hell out of her multi-great grandpa who just kept looking at her like "what is YOUR problem?"

Anyhoo...it surely can be done, we did it
post #16 of 16
That is going to be one expensive move!!

Each cat should have its own carrier. I moved half-way across the country with 2 cats. They each had their own carrier and sat in the back seat of the car. Having the air conditioning running was a big help. You're going to have to buy a carrier for each cat. Don't bother with water in their carriers, it will just spill everywhere. They won't eat or use the litter box on the road, they'll wait until you get wherever you are going that night. (We stayed at a pet-friendly hotel and stuck the litter box and food in the bathroom of the room. They used it but not for a few hours after we arrived). With the RV, you can let them out when the RV isn't moving, but you're going to have to stick them in crates or something while the RV is moving, unless they are all in the bedroom with the door shut or something. Still seems dangerous though.

As far as the rental issue....that's a tough one. You're going to have to have enough money for a pet deposit for each pet...our pet deposits were $200 each but in this town, they are typically $300 per pet (sometimes non-refundable). Most of the rentals that allow pets have a limit on the number. Maybe you already said this, but if you are renting now, are they aware of the 10 cats? Some won't have a limit on the #, but if it's between you and another renter, be prepared for the other renter to get the apartment/house. When you are looking, maybe call and ask what they would charge for a pet deposit for someone with 10 cats and excellent references?

Good luck! I know how hard it is to rent with pets, and I only have 3 cats and 1 dog. We are moving soon and while we were planning to buy, if that doesn't work out, we'll be renting in the short term and I am dreading it.
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