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Waffle's Transport Problems

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
I'm not sure if this is the right place to put this. I contemplated putting it here and in nutrition, but in the end behavior won out. But regardless, if it needs to be moved please do so.

All righty. I need some advice. Waffle has been having a rough day, here's her story and the issue I need help with:

Today I came home to my parents for a few days over Spring Break. Since this is only an hour drive I brought Waffle with me as I didn't want her to be lonely at my place and she's very used to traveling and being at my parents. Now, she HATES being crated and gets herself very worked up about it. In the car the majority of the time she's totally fine and will just sit quietly staring at me from her crate the whole time. However sometimes she ends up getting sick (this is usually pretty rare). This time she was a complete mess and it was just TERRIBLE. She was fine for about half an hour, then she ended up throwing up from what I can only imagine was from a combination of how worked up she got herself and the actual car ride. So, she threw up (a whole bunch too), then moved to the front of the crate and a few minutes later threw up a bit more. Following this she ended up going to the bathroom in the crate (both kinds of potty breaks too). Obviously she was quite upset after all of this and I was too as I worry about my baby and try to keep her as comfortable as possible. So luckily I was close enough to my dad's store in Daytona that I only had to drive about 15 minutes down the interstate before I could bring her inside somewhere, get her out of the crate, and clean the crate out and wipe her feet off (she ended up stepping in everything). I could tell that she felt much better after this and she made it the rest of the way home fine. Now we've been at my parent's for about 6 hours and she's in a much better mood (though I'm having a problem getting the stench out of her - any advice on that while we're at it). I just feel terrible about that and was wondering what I can possibly do for her when she has to go in the crate and go for rides? When she was under a year old she was totally fine in the crate and never had a problem, but over the last two years I feel like it has gotten worse. I love my baby so much and feel like a criminal when she's unhappy or uncomfortable because of some situation I put her in, so does anyone have any advice? She's going to have to go for car rides on ocassion no matter what (though she doesn't take them much now as it is) so I was just hoping that someone could help.

Thanks for your help in advance.
post #2 of 23
Where do you leave the crate when you are not using it?

I have found alot of people put it away somewhere garage, closet, etc. where the cat has no access to it except for car rides. I leave my crate out in the corner of a room with a baby blanket in it and sometimes sprinkle some catnip in it. None of my cats are afraid to go into the crate (though some hate the car ride itself) and quite often I will find one of them asleep in it. Once it become a regular part of their lives it is alot less scary.
post #3 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Petnurse2265
Where do you leave the crate when you are not using it?

I have found alot of people put it away somewhere garage, closet, etc. where the cat has no access to it except for car rides. I leave my crate out in the corner of a room with a baby blanket in it and sometimes sprinkle some catnip in it. None of my cats are afraid to go into the crate (though some hate the car ride itself) and quite often I will find one of them asleep in it. Once it become a regular part of their lives it is alot less scary.
Hmm that's a good thought. Right now I have a large, plastic, bulky crate so I generally leave it in the closet. I could definitely leave it out beside one of my couches where it wouldn't be in plain sight and would also give her easy access. I've been wanting to get a new soft one, so maybe that will help make her more comfy as well?
post #4 of 23
That is good advice from Petnurse2265.

I would add two ideas:

1. I usually try to tire out Nano with exercise or playing before putting her into the carrier.

2. Take her on a weekly excursion outside for 1-2 hours. Go to a nearby park or field and just sit with her outside. I will take a picnic table, put Nano on the table (in her carrier) and sit down to read a book. I will talk to her intermittently, but otherwise it is just "quiet time" without the usual physical contact. That helps her get used to seeing the carrier as a neutral thing.

Anyway, enjoy the visit with parents and good luck with Waffle!
post #5 of 23
Try and get her a litterbox to put in the crate. Any cat from the shelter that has more than half-hour drive to get to the foster families must have a litterbox in the crate. I'm not talking about a full sized box, because that would take up too much room. We use these little plastic containers that I think are for drawer organization. The length of the box should be the same width as the carrier, and it only needs to be about 8 or 10 inches wide. If she has to go, it'll work in a pinch, and she'll be calmer knowing it's there. I know that when I drove both my fosters home (I kept them of corse), they both used the box within ten minutes of leaving the shelter, and I lived a half-hour away.
post #6 of 23
Thread Starter 
Thanks guys! These are all really great ideas. I appreciate all your help and will be trying these things out!
post #7 of 23
Another thought: My step-mom used to take her cats everywhere--from Manhattan to the suburbs and then out to the country. I think they did ok at first, but then they started flying in my father's airplane (he flies a small plane), and the cats would do pretty much what you describe--throwing up and having diarrhea (and in a small plane, when you can't open windows--the horror!). Anyway, their vet prescribed a small dose of tranquilizer (pill) for them. They were a little woozy afterwards, but I think some wooziness is better than the stress they were experiencing without the tranq.

That said, I'm not a fan of giving meds to pets if you can avoid it, so I would try the other posters' ideas first.
post #8 of 23
Feliway.

Try wrapping some pipe cleaners on the bars so they "hang" into the carrier. That gives Waffle something to bap at and relieve some stress when she's in the carrier.

For the trip back, if you don't have time to get a mini-litterbox, get some cheap disposable diapers for the bottom of the carrier. I would make multiple layers. That way if she does get sick or go to the bathroom, it's very easy to remove from underfoot.
post #9 of 23
Ox is so horrible in a cat carrier ride to the vet's office I've resorted to withholding food from him the night before so there won't be any pooping or peeing. Never a vomiting problem. I wonder sometimes if the type of vehicle and where you put the carrier in your vehicle makes a difference?? I have an Explorer and I usually put the carrier in the middle of the back seat so I can get my hand back there and be able to touch the carrier. It won't really fit on the front seat. I've put them in the very back and it seems okay however I can't see them unless I fold down the seats.
post #10 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by valanhb
Feliway.

Try wrapping some pipe cleaners on the bars so they "hang" into the carrier. That gives Waffle something to bap at and relieve some stress when she's in the carrier.

For the trip back, if you don't have time to get a mini-litterbox, get some cheap disposable diapers for the bottom of the carrier. I would make multiple layers. That way if she does get sick or go to the bathroom, it's very easy to remove from underfoot.
The disposable diapers sounds like a great idea. I think I will definitely do that for the trip back and then work on some of the other suggestions mentioned in this thread! Thanks for that!
post #11 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by GailC
Ox is so horrible in a cat carrier ride to the vet's office I've resorted to withholding food from him the night before so there won't be any pooping or peeing. Never a vomiting problem. I wonder sometimes if the type of vehicle and where you put the carrier in your vehicle makes a difference?? I have an Explorer and I usually put the carrier in the middle of the back seat so I can get my hand back there and be able to touch the carrier. It won't really fit on the front seat. I've put them in the very back and it seems okay however I can't see them unless I fold down the seats.
Hmmm that's a thought. I've always put her in the front seat with the door of the carrier facing me so she can see me the whole time. Often I'll stick my hand in the carrier and touch her and try to tell her it's ok, but maybe she wouldn't notice the movement as much if she were in the back of the car? Interesting thought! Thanks for that!
post #12 of 23
Have you ever thought about letting the kitty out during the car ride? I have 2 Kittens and I sometimes am forced to take them to my mom's house six hours away. I leave the kitty's in their carrier until I'm on the highway (about 10 minutes) and then I let them out, in my pickup truck. I have never had a problem as one curls up against my leg and the other on the top of the bench seat in the middle. Both sleep the entire way and are a gem in the car. Maybe this is because they feel "free" and not confined in their carrier. Now I know some of you might say that's dangerous b/c they may get near the pedals, but I have never once had a problem with this on multiple trips. Good Luck!
post #13 of 23
Your cat is telling you that she is not okay with the move to your parents. Is there anyway next time that you can leave her at home where she is comfortable and have a pet sitter come in and check on her? The vomitting is a result of stress, and cats crave balance and routine. Any changes in their routine will throw them into a loop and it can compromise their health.

You say she vomited a lot. Is she dehydrated? If she is, she needs a vet quickly because he has to give her subcu fluids. To find out if she is dehydrated, do the pinch test. Lightly scruff her neck and pinch it, then release, it should fold down to normal in seconds, and if not, if it stays tented up, get to a vet quickly.
post #14 of 23
oh Kat! I just love your Waffle and I'm so sorry. You have excellent advice here, I can't really add a thing. Maybe piano music when driving, your own sweater of course for her to lay on, but just know I am rooting for little Waffle. And sending good vibes.
post #15 of 23
Harry, it depends on the cat, and there's no way of knowing what it wil do until too late. My mother tried to bring our last cat in to get fixed by herself, and was too cheap to buy a carrier. The cat ended up under the pedals, and both my mother and the cat almost had a serious accident. Unless there's someone else in the car to hold the cat, I don't feel it's a good idea to let them out.
post #16 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by wodesorel
Harry, it depends on the cat, and there's no way of knowing what it wil do until too late. My mother tried to bring our last cat in to get fixed by herself, and was too cheap to buy a carrier. The cat ended up under the pedals, and both my mother and the cat almost had a serious accident. Unless there's someone else in the car to hold the cat, I don't feel it's a good idea to let them out.
Have to agree with wodesorel on this; two cases in point:

1)We moved cross-country when I was a child, and built a divider for the family wagon to "keep the cats in the hatchback" with their litterbox/beds/etc. This lasted all of 2 hours into the first day, when the cats figured out how to crawl around it into the front half of the car. That was all fine & good until we stopped for the night. . . and couldn't FIND one of the cats. Mom & I panicked, much wailing and gnashing of teeth, rending of garments, etc, thinking we'd lost her for good at a gas station somewhere 400 miles or so ago. TWO HOURS later we gave the car a good once over and saw her peering at us from underneath the rear seat. This story ends happily, as she spent the remainder of the journey in her hidey-hole and lived another 7 years with us.

2) I still have the scar on my palm from when we took Pansy to be spayed as a kitten. My bf climbed in the driver's seat while I carried her outside in my coat to the car, allowing her to peer out once the car doors were closed. The moment the ignition was turned over, however, she became a rocket, using my palm to launch herself into the windshield and bounce about the car. Painful for me, yes, but terrifying for her.
post #17 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sashacat421
oh Kat! I just love your Waffle and I'm so sorry. You have excellent advice here, I can't really add a thing. Maybe piano music when driving, your own sweater of course for her to lay on, but just know I am rooting for little Waffle. And sending good vibes.

Aww thank you! She appreciates the well wishes!!

Hissy - I did the pinch test and it would appear that she is fine. I don't really take her places too often anymore. She used to come a lot more frequently a couple of years ago but now it's quite rare - only when I'm going for a few days or more or it's Christmas Break or the like. It's odd because the majority of the time she's fine in the car and will just sit and stare at me the whole time, but ocassionally she'll get sick like I mentioned before. Once we get to my parents though she's happy as a clam. She loves being there as it was the first place she was at for a long period of time (lived there for 1 month before I moved to my apartment) and she knows there are humans there ready to spoil her. In a couple of months I'll be going back and forth between my apartment and my parents house quite a bit more than usual (usually I only make it there once a month and only for the day which means Waffle doesn't come anyway), but I've been planning to work out a way to let her stay at the apartment. My boyfriend or roommate should be in the area while I'm gone and can take care of her then, and I will only be gone for a couple of days at a time. Does this sound ok? They both would play with her and keep her company.

Her ride back to my apartment was a complete 180 from the trip over. I had put some newspapers in the bottom the crate (planning on getting a nice soft swatch of fabric from Joanns, but needed something in the interim) and then placed her in the crate about 20 minutes before I was actually leaving. Once she was in the crate I sat her next to me on the couch and I noticed that by the time we actually left the house she was a much calmer kitty. On the drive I opened the crate door enough so she could rest her head halfway out of the crate and let me keep a hand on her at all times. This really seemed to keep her happy. She was great on the way home - never cried, never got sick. She just laid there and slept off and on while I touched or talked to her. Since then I have left the crate out next to our couch in hopes that she would feel less upset by the sight of it, and I think that that is going well. I keep finding her in the crate sleeping, checking it out, or playing so that is very promising.

Thanks again everyone for all of the help. I know you all know how awful it is to see your babies upset!
post #18 of 23
I would like to ask about transportation proceedings also, Sundance is going to fly for 2 1/2 hours then I pick him up at the airport and has a 2 hour drive (if traffic is good) to his new home. Should I give him food & water when I pick him up after the first leg of his trip or wait untill he gets home? Should I take him out of the kennel, to stretch after the first leg or just transfer him from one carrier to the other and wait until he is home? I have never had a furry that I had to go further than 20 miles to pick up & bring home. So I am a little worried. Thanks if you can offer any suggestions
post #19 of 23
I would offer a little water, but hold off on the food till he gets to his destination.
post #20 of 23
I don't know if it will work for you but when I got my cats their soft carriers it made things alot better on all of us. With the normal carriers it would take me atleast 20 minutes to wrestle them in the carrier and now I just toss a treat in and they jump right in. When they're in the car they even seem alot more relaxed. Since the carrier opens from the top or side it makes it easier for me to put my hand in and pet them and they can see out easier. They even love to nap in the carriers at home. I know you said in one of your posts you were thinking of getting a soft carrier. It might be worth a try. I got mine from PetsMart for $30.00 and it was definately worth the money.
post #21 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by crazy4cats28
I don't know if it will work for you but when I got my cats their soft carriers it made things alot better on all of us. With the normal carriers it would take me atleast 20 minutes to wrestle them in the carrier and now I just toss a treat in and they jump right in. When they're in the car they even seem alot more relaxed. Since the carrier opens from the top or side it makes it easier for me to put my hand in and pet them and they can see out easier. They even love to nap in the carriers at home. I know you said in one of your posts you were thinking of getting a soft carrier. It might be worth a try. I got mine from PetsMart for $30.00 and it was definately worth the money.
Yeah I'm definitely considering getting a softer one. It would probably be a few months before I have the disposable income to do it, but it is definitely on my priority list when the funds aspect ceases to be a problem.
post #22 of 23
Please do not let your cat out of the carrier inside your car, it is extremely dangerous to attempt this. If the cat gets under your brake pedal, or jumps on your shoulder you will have a nasty accident. Keep your cat in the carrier until you arrive at your destination. Use disposable diapers or puppy training pads inside the carrier to soak up any urine.
post #23 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by hissy
Please do not let your cat out of the carrier inside your car, it is extremely dangerous to attempt this. If the cat gets under your brake pedal, or jumps on your shoulder you will have a nasty accident. Keep your cat in the carrier until you arrive at your destination. Use disposable diapers or puppy training pads inside the carrier to soak up any urine.
I didn't mean that I let her out of the crate. I never do that. I just meant that I opened the door to her crate enough to slip my hand in. This seems to calm her down very well. I just reach my hand in at stops and touch her and she generally falls asleep. Letting her outside of the crate to wander is definitely not something I would ever do.
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