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Sedating cats for 2-day drive

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
My husband and I are moving from San Diego to Seattle next month and are anxious about moving our kitties. We'll be driving and neither of our girls are good travelers. They cry the whole way to the vet - a mere 2 miles away from our house. We expect the drive will take about 2 days. Our vet said he can prescribe sedatives. What has been your experience with this kind of travel? I searched the board but most posts have been about flying.

Are they totally out/sleeping or just groggy?
What should we set up for litterbox purposes?
How long can it take for recovery?
Any other side effects or issues to consider?

We intend to talk to the vet about it again, but I thought you might be able to offer some real-life experiences.

Thank you!
post #2 of 11
Please dont sedate them...I have made two three to five day moves with Kandie and not once did she need a tranqualizer.... there are things like felaway spray to help alleviate stress
post #3 of 11
Personally I would not sedate any cat for traveling. Cats have a tendency to react very differently to medication. Just caust the vet will give you something doesn't mean you have to use it.

I'd just make frequent stops and let them out of the carriers inside the car for 10/15 mins. And cover the carriers so they can't see the movement outside the windows. Most times they will settle down and sleep without "knocking them out".
post #4 of 11
I had a horrible, scary experience sedating my cat. We were moving from Eastern NC to Kansas City, MO, and I sedated Fred. He would wake up periodically and go nuts. He would make the most heartwrenching howl, drool, and stare at me with a blank expression. Then he would throw himself around in the carrier until he passed out again. He got the door to the carrier open during one of these episodes, and attacked me while driving in 5 o'clock traffic in Nashville. He went for my face, and then my throat. He went several times aroung my neck, digging in his claws and hissing at me. I managed to stuff him back in the carrier without getting both of us killed. I was terrified that he would get my eyes or injure himself. After the meds started to wear off he cried for hours, looking at me like "What is wrong with me? I don't feel right." Fred was the sweetest, most loving kitty I have ever known, and it broke my heart to see him like that.
post #5 of 11
I agree with not sedating the cats. Some cats react very violently to sedatives.

Your kitties may cry for a bit but they will probably settle down. As someone else here said, put a towel or covering over their carrier so they feel safe. Bijou cried for about an hour the first time we took him in the car (bringing him home from the breeder).

When we take Bijou and Mika on long car rides we also put a pan of litter on the floor in the back and a dish of water and some food on a towel on the other side.

When you stop to let them out of their carriers (with your car windows rolled up and the doors closed naturally), show them the litter and food and water and give them time to get comfortable enough to use the litter and have some water/food.
post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thank you all for the replies. I'm hesitant about the sedatives for several reasons, so your input has been very helpful.

We are driving a fairly small car - the logistics are kind of tough to work out. We'll have room for the carriers in the back seat. We'll have plot this out. Did you guys have large vehicles when you did your trip(s)? What a headache!

Thanks again for the feedback.
post #7 of 11
Nope, a normal size car (actually it was a Hyundai Sonata). We moved from Maryland to Minnesota and took our cat (who was about 11 or 12 yrs old at the time) - he was a show cat and was comfortable with traveling anyway. But our car was totally packed with everything we could fit in there.

My son rode the entire way with the cat on his lap (in a carrier). We made frequent stops to stretch, but the cat was not feed till we stopped at the motel.
post #8 of 11
We took Sophie with us by car to NY last year. She was in a large crate in our van, and she did absolutely fine. We fed and watered her when we stopped, letting her crawl all over the inside of the van for a stretch. The only time she meowed was when a window was open, which I chalked up to either the change in pressure or the sound of the wind hurting her ears. When we stopped for the night, we found a hotel that took pets for five dollars more, and she had the run of the room till morning. Sophie and Luna will both be taking the trip with us this summer. Hoping it goes as smoothly as last time! Good luck with yours!
post #9 of 11
Well, I'm moving from northern Colorado to San Diego in a couple days, in a compact car, with two cats and a passenger. I'm actually going to try to stuff as much stuff into the car as I can, so I'll write back about cats for long periods of time in tight spaces.
post #10 of 11
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by GirlieQ
Well, I'm moving from northern Colorado to San Diego in a couple days, in a compact car, with two cats and a passenger. I'm actually going to try to stuff as much stuff into the car as I can, so I'll write back about cats for long periods of time in tight spaces.
Thank you - that would be great! We'll doing a very simiarl set up. Good luck on your move. You should be arriving to some great weather - we're in the mid-80s right now!
post #11 of 11
Well, we all got to San Diego in one piece. My passenger complains that he's missing pieces, but he only got one little scratch. And it was his own fault.

I didn't sedate my kittens. I also didn't keep them in their carriers the whole time.

Bella just doesn't like the car, and was a bit frightened. She spent a lot of time in Rowan's carrier (since hers is bad, obviously), and Rowan spent most of the trip napping in the litter box. Bella moved around a lot more, but I think it was because she really disliked the changes in air pressure. It seemed like she was uncomfortable when we were making the most drastic changes (and I was too, because I was a bit congested).

Bella tried to nap under the clutch, but it wasn't really an issue since we were in the middle of Utah. I got her out, and my passenger kept her all cuddled up and happy. She didn't eat or use the box while we were driving, but Rowan was just fine in that regard. He's always been the better travler, though. The only time he was upset was at the beginning when they were in their cages as I drove to pick up my passenger.

Bella driving

Rowan napping

Bella watching from the dashboard (it wasn't so cute when she tried this while we were driving through Vegas)

Bella shifting
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