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Cat Cries Horribly In Carrier

post #1 of 31
Thread Starter 
I know they have different means to transport dogs in your car safely without their being confined. Is there a anything out there that would allow me to get my cat safely through a 2 hour drive without confining him to a carrier?
post #2 of 31
Maybe try a big dog crate in the back of the car. Whatever you do, don't just let it out in the car with you. Its a disaster, trust me.

However, a lot of cats just aren't good at being in cars, and no matter what you put them in they will whine and whine. They're safer in a standard hard-sided carrier belted into the backseat. Often it will help to make it so they can still see out.
post #3 of 31
The only thing I can think of is to try a larger carrier. I have two extremes at my house. Rocky used to be the best for vet trips, untiil he got left overnight once. Anyway, he usually VOLUNTARILY gets in the carrier. Last time it took a gentle push. He is usually quiet the whole ride. As soon as he gets to the vets, gets one whiff of the air, he becomes psycho kitty. I get lots of strange looks, and the comment-Is that a cat in there?? Growls, hisses, etc. Its even worse if he spies a dog. As soon as we leave he is fine, no problems on the car trip back!

Zakk on the other hand has always been very difficult in the car, even on the first trip home when we didn't have a carrier. He meows pitifully, constantly. It really wears on your nerves. He fights about getting in the carrier. Once at the vet he is okay. Not happy, but not a psycho kitty. The other two have been fine- they have always gone together.
So you have to grin and bear it. The only thing I can suggest is that singing and the radio- not to loud, have seemed to calm mine down once in awhile.
post #4 of 31
Depends on the time you have... All of my cats I have always let out in the car. Yes, many disagree with this but it is the confinement and inability to hear, smell, and see you that freaks them out. They depend on us to let them know it is going to be ok.
You could use the carrier to and from the car, and try letting him/her out without driving anywhere a few times just to see what happens. Usually they find a place where they feel safe, talking to them reassures as well.
This really depends on the trust and the relationship you have with your kitty, if you do not trust it, then kitty probably doesn't as well..........
Cats do not do things they don't want to, so when we ask them to we need to make them feel like they had a choice in there somewhere!
post #5 of 31
Putting a blanket over the carrier so that it's darker often makes a cat feel less anxious and many people say that cats actually feel safer in a small confined place than in a larger one. I wouldn't let your kitty free in the car - it's just not safe (for you, other motorists or kitty). Cats aren't usually great travellers so it may be that yours will always cry in the car.
post #6 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by urbantigers
Putting a blanket over the carrier so that it's darker often makes a cat feel less anxious and many people say that cats actually feel safer in a small confined place than in a larger one. I wouldn't let your kitty free in the car - it's just not safe (for you, other motorists or kitty). Cats aren't usually great travellers so it may be that yours will always cry in the car.
Those who say cats feel safer in a small, confined area should never have the pleasure of a cats company. When they hide in a confined area,a box, under a couch,they choose this area with the option to move when they want.
Though a darker confined area may help, this is not good over any lenghty time, often cats pant when excited or upset. They do that to get more oxygen, so you want to make sure there is plenty of cool, circulated air.
post #7 of 31
Well I'm not suggesting keeping them in a confined area under normal circumstances! But when they're in unfamiliar surroundings with unfamiliar smells and sounds (such as in a car) they can feel safer if they are in a smaller, darker space. That's why it's often recommended to cover a cat's eyes when they're stressed out or panicking when being restrained (just with a hand - not suggesting anyone ties a scarf around their cat's eyes!). When my cat was at the vet recently having a dental the vet said he was a bit stressed as he was coming around from the anaesthetic so they gave him lots of blankets that he could hide under. She (and the vet tech who saw him beforehand) said the same thing - that they tend to be less anxious if they can't see anything to be afraid of. when he was being examined before the dental the tech covered his eyes when he was stressed.

When I suggested a blanket over the carrier I didn't mean completely covered up - as most carriers have ventilation holes on all sides that can make a cat feel vulnerable. The cat can see it's unfamiliar surroundings but can't run away or fight (fight or flight) - so just gets stressed. Covering up the top and sides while leaving the front free so that the cat can see out can help. Obviously this depends on the type of carrier you have as much as anything - mine has a grill door that allows plenty of ventilation - I wouldn't cover up the top and sides of a carrier with a more solid door at the front.
post #8 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by urbantigers
Well I'm not suggesting keeping them in a confined area under normal circumstances! But when they're in unfamiliar surroundings with unfamiliar smells and sounds (such as in a car) they can feel safer if they are in a smaller, darker space. That's why it's often recommended to cover a cat's eyes when they're stressed out or panicking when being restrained (just with a hand - not suggesting anyone ties a scarf around their cat's eyes!). When my cat was at the vet recently having a dental the vet said he was a bit stressed as he was coming around from the anaesthetic so they gave him lots of blankets that he could hide under. She (and the vet tech who saw him beforehand) said the same thing - that they tend to be less anxious if they can't see anything to be afraid of. when he was being examined before the dental the tech covered his eyes when he was stressed.

When I suggested a blanket over the carrier I didn't mean completely covered up - as most carriers have ventilation holes on all sides that can make a cat feel vulnerable. The cat can see it's unfamiliar surroundings but can't run away or fight (fight or flight) - so just gets stressed. Covering up the top and sides while leaving the front free so that the cat can see out can help. Obviously this depends on the type of carrier you have as much as anything - mine has a grill door that allows plenty of ventilation - I wouldn't cover up the top and sides of a carrier with a more solid door at the front.
I agree. Transporting cats already stressed by unfamiliar surroundings, it helps to cover their cages/carriers. I've seen this in my TNR work.
A bigger cage/carrier may not be a good idea either. The cat has more room to fight its confinement increasing the risk of injury.
post #9 of 31
everyone has there own way, as each kitty as well..........
Only a suggestion of what has always worked for me and mine............
post #10 of 31
Letting your cats out in the car is dangerous to you and them. I was driving Zissou to the park once and didn't put her in her carrier, and she decided she was intent on sitting on the dashboard in front of the steering wheel. This obviously is not a good thing. Cats also often decide to hide under the gas or brake pedals, on top of the gear shift, etc.

There is a reason that most Vets require you to bring your cat in a carrier, and its not just to confine them in the vets office.

If you feel like they need more space, then get a fence that goes in the back, as people often do with dogs. However, the best thing to do is situate the carrier either in the passenger seat or the middle of the backseat, so that the cat can see you and see out the window and then sooth the cat while its in the carrier. I've never seen one you couldn't at least fit a couple fingers in. Some cats might do better with a blanket over it, but that's something you'd have to try for yourself.
post #11 of 31
I'm going to admit that my cat doesn't use her carrier, either (except when we go into the vet's). She just cries and cries the whole time and I decided to see what she would do without the carrier. I didn't want her roaming all over the car or jumping down to the foot pedals, so I put her on her harness and leash (which she doesn't really like, so it kind of freezes her in place) and as soon as I do that, she plops right down onto the passenger side and doesn't move a muscle. She just falls asleep. If anything, she'll lay down on my lap and fall asleep.

I suppose it might be dangerous but I drive extreeemely slowly and carefully when she's in the car with me and hold on to her if I'm making a turn or something. And the fact that she's on her harness and leash means she can't move more than a few feet.
post #12 of 31
We're talking about a three hour drive, here, though and cats that can be okay for going across town or down the road will become much more restless and rambunctious.
Also, unless your cat is harness trained or you plan to stop and let her use her litterbox, she will probably have to use the potty and it is much easier to clean the carrier out than it is to clean wherever she decides to go.

There are feline tranquilzers you can get from the vet, but there are always mixed reviews on those.

If your only problem is that your cat is meowing, perhaps you should just turn the radio up and ignore it. Zissou and I meow back and forth at each other in the car. With her safely in her carrier. A hard-plastic carrier is like a carseat, if you are in an accident you do not want your cat loose in the car, and even if you think you're driving carefully not everyone else is.
post #13 of 31
I would agree. In a crash (and, yes, you can't control for other drivers' behavior), a pet that is loose in the car turns into a 10- to 20-pound projectile. Not only can the pet get smashed into or through a window, but he may hit and seriously injure any human passengers in the car.

It doesn't really matter that the cat is unhappy in the carrier, relatively speaking. Safety is more important. The cat is likely to be unhappy about the car ride no matter what.

I don't have personal experience with this, but I've heard that some cats are less resistant to a soft-sided carrier.
post #14 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by rxysrfgrrl
I'm going to admit that my cat doesn't use her carrier, either (except when we go into the vet's). She just cries and cries the whole time and I decided to see what she would do without the carrier. I didn't want her roaming all over the car or jumping down to the foot pedals, so I put her on her harness and leash (which she doesn't really like, so it kind of freezes her in place) and as soon as I do that, she plops right down onto the passenger side and doesn't move a muscle. She just falls asleep. If anything, she'll lay down on my lap and fall asleep.

I suppose it might be dangerous but I drive extreeemely slowly and carefully when she's in the car with me and hold on to her if I'm making a turn or something. And the fact that she's on her harness and leash means she can't move more than a few feet.
this is exactly what my experience has been. As well I have traveled up to 5 hours straight thruogh with the litter box in the back seat.
All cats are different though and this is why sometimes you try different methods, this does'nt always work and I certainly would not suggest it for more than one kitty at a time.
post #15 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by emmylou
I would agree. In a crash (and, yes, you can't control for other drivers' behavior), a pet that is loose in the car turns into a 10- to 20-pound projectile. Not only can the pet get smashed into or through a window, but he may hit and seriously injure any human passengers in the car.

It doesn't really matter that the cat is unhappy in the carrier, relatively speaking. Safety is more important. The cat is likely to be unhappy about the car ride no matter what.

I don't have personal experience with this, but I've heard that some cats are less resistant to a soft-sided carrier.
A carrier is going to fly just as easily as a cat, then you get into the issue of weighting it down, not good, seat belt not good...we all could go on and on, but the simple fact is to each is own and maybe if you feel safer useing the carrier, you will just have to deal with the meowing...
post #16 of 31
Properly used, carriers are belted in same as an infant's carseat.
In fact, most of the newer carriers are designed specifically to be belted in.

My cats will forgive me for crating them, but I would never forgive myself if something happed to them while travelling.
I don't even leave my #95 dog with excellent car manners loose in the vehicle.

I'd rather they be as safe as I can make them if that pisses them off for a while, so be it.
post #17 of 31
I am really sorry that this became such a political debate, it was only a suggestion. None of us want to think of the absolute worst situation that could happen, as well if there was a serious accident, I do not think any of us would have control over the out come.
post #18 of 31
I have a friend who has taken her kitten in the car often, and she just sits on her lap! I had a cat get under the brake pedal once...if she had not moved, there would have been no way to stop without hurting her. (This was so many years ago...we never thought about carriers then!)

I would recommend getting her used to the carrier in the house. If everytime she gets into the carrier, she goes to the vet, it doesn't seem like a good thing. Put her into it for 15 mins at a time, and have treats and pets when she gets out.

I have actually put the food bowl in the carriers for long periods of time. (I foster, so need kitties who can travel!) The kitties get used to the carrier as a good place, it contains the extra kibble, and it keeps the dog out of the cat food!

I would rather have a kitty cry than have a kitty loose in the car. For those who have had good luck without a carrier, I'm very glad. But I always use a carrier, and seatbelt it in, if possible.
post #19 of 31
I agree, the carrier should not be a punishment as I had mentioned previously. Maybe giving treats inside the carrier, may have to get a different carrier if tyhis one is already looked at negatively7. Then just leave it open and let the curiousity go! They do have the large carriers that are very sturdy and even seperate into 2 parts,top and bottom, for easier storage. They look a lot like the litter box house.
post #20 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by cheylink
They do have the large carriers that are very sturdy and even seperate into 2 parts,top and bottom, for easier storage. They look a lot like the litter box house.
That is what I use on new cats.
Take the carrier apart and leave it around all done up like a cat bed for a few days.

Then I put the top half on, but I still do it up like a cat bed for a few more days.
Then I put the door on, but I tie it open for a few days.
After about 2 weeks, it's just another cat carrier laying around the house, that also doubles as a bed.

In the cooler months, it is not unusual to find two or three cats have stuffed themselves into a random cat carrier cuddled up and asleep.
post #21 of 31
I would no sooner leave my cat loose in the car than I would a 2 year old child.

I use hard sided carriers and seatbelt.
post #22 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by cheylink
A carrier is going to fly just as easily as a cat, then you get into the issue of weighting it down, not good, seat belt not good...we all could go on and on, but the simple fact is to each is own and maybe if you feel safer useing the carrier, you will just have to deal with the meowing...
Why is a seat belt not good? It is fine and can be belted around the carrier. Or the carrier can be placed in a footwell, where it just fits snugly and can't move around. A carrier is not likely to fly around the car.

This is the same as the use of seat belts. Adults generally find seat belts uncomfortable, but we use them. And children don't like car seats, but we use them. I'm not understanding why a cat's feelings are so much more sensitive than a child's that they should override safety concerns. We do lots of things to pets that they don't like but are in their best interest -- taking them to the vet, etc.

Of course, there are people out there who don't use seat belts. That doesn't mean you can justify not using a seat belt by saying it's as safe as using one.

It's not really political; it's fairly well accepted. AAA often runs articles about how dangerous it is to let a pet loose in the car and advising motorists not to do it.
post #23 of 31
I was simply saying a carrier in a seat belt is not good for the same reasons that a child under a certain age is not as well. Maybe i am wrong, but I do not know of car safe carriers that lock into a seat the same as child safety seats, except larger carriers with certain vehicles.
I do think this is great that everyone is expressing their feelings over this topic, even though I am not the one who made this thread! This is something good to share!
post #24 of 31
I would under no circumstances allow my cat to roam freely in my car while driving, even for a minute. Hard-sided carrier with a blanket thrown over it, with a seatbelt is the safest for you and your pet.

Fergus is good in his carrier. He just sits there while I'm driving, with his front legs crossed. He'll usually snooze. Ripley, on the other hand, looses all composure. She whines, and howls, and tries to scratch through the bars...I'm so worried she'll hurt her little feet (which hasn't happened so far, but other cats have hurt their paws doing this), that I put baby booties on her front paws while we're driving. And bring treats. I often find that keeping the windows up makes her calmer, and putting on some soft music helps a little.
post #25 of 31
Once again, to each is own. I never said my kitty roams freely in the car, she sits next to me except to use the litter. I feel safer driving knowing my cat is not hysterical, panting, screaming IF being out of the arrier is better for her. I have had one cat this did not work, but sometimes it does, with me 3 out of 4.

Never try it first driving. Some people let their cats out doors, this can also be a risk as well, and the outcome beyond our control.
post #26 of 31
If your cat is not in a carrier, it is roaming freely in the car. There is nothing to prevent it from suddenly being scared by something and freaking out, jumping under the pedal or the seat, etc. If your cat does so well that it will just sit there, then likely it will do equally well in a carrier.
The OP question involves a cat that obviously hates being in the car, and your advice to let it loose could, and likely would, result in injury to the cat or the person.
post #27 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zissou'sMom
If your cat is not in a carrier, it is roaming freely in the car. There is nothing to prevent it from suddenly being scared by something and freaking out, jumping under the pedal or the seat, etc. If your cat does so well that it will just sit there, then likely it will do equally well in a carrier.
The OP question involves a cat that obviously hates being in the car, and your advice to let it loose could, and likely would, result in injury to the cat or the person.
Understand, It was the carrier my cat hated as well.....
post #28 of 31
It is very easy to train a cat to not associate the carrier with bad things, and advice has already been given about how to do this. With Zissou all it took was leaving the carrier out at times when it wasn't going in the car and throwing a few treats in there.
post #29 of 31
I really hope people are not getting the wrong impression of me. I did state earlier on this thread the same exact thing as last reply as another option and that the carrier should never be looked at as a negative association as well. Opening the carrier in the car is obviously not looked at as a safe option, I respect that. It may sometimes work for some kits and people, but not the majority..
Though the person who started this thread looking for a possible option, we really should go back to trying to help them........if they are even still looking!
post #30 of 31
"Those who say cats feel safer in a small, confined area should never have the pleasure of a cats company."

If you look back at one of your earlier replies, I think it would tell you all you need to know... I would doubt the original poster would reply since you've made the thread into your own defending using what you have admitted to be an unsafe practice. I agree that we should have been giving advice to the original poster all along. That's what everyone else has been trying to do.
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