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Moving with two cats (worried!)

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
Hello Everyone!

I have two cats..Abby (female) and Arlo (male). They are both two years old, 1/2 siamese, fixed, and indoor cats.

My husband is getting out of the military in 30 days and we are moving back to Michigan. It's about a 10 hour drive from where we live now, and I am very worried about my two babies.

They both HATE to ride in the car, and they scream and cry the whole entire time. We have tried taking them for rides periodically, so that they realize that they will be okay and that they are not going to the vet, but they still panic.

I am really worried about it because I don't like them to be scared/stressed out, and because we are already taking them out of their home which is going to be enough change/stress for them as it is!

I would love to hear any experiences and suggestions anyone can give me. I am also not sure what to do about food, water, and litterbox.

Any info would be great Also, any experience moving cats? This is the only place we have ever lived since we became their parents, so I am also worried about moving them to a new home. My male cat does not do well with change!


post #2 of 22
I don't have much advice to offer, but maybe you could contact your vet. They might be able to give them medication, similar to Benadryl, maybe, to help them stay relaxed, and maybe sleep most of the way. Just a thought. Good luck!
post #3 of 22
Benadryl should not be given to cats unless your vet tells you to and gives you a specific dosage. As with any human medicine. You can get tranqs from the vet, but if your cats just meow incessantly they're unesecary. You'd only need them if you had one that throws itself against the cage, etc. Meowing you can just turn up the radio and ignore, unless they are really stressed. My cat meows sometimes, but it's more like "Are we there yet?" "Can I get out now!" sort of meowing.

They make dishes for the car that won't spill, water and food, with special tops that keep it in. But most likely you'd be better off stopping every so often and putting out their box and giving them food / water. Be prepared for them to go in their carrier, and put something washable and old in the bottom, or the puppy pee pads so you can change them.

And good luck with your move!
post #4 of 22
I've done a search on some threads (see below). There is probably a wealth of information with others experiences. One thing you should start doing immediately is taking them on short car rides so they get used to being in the car. Also, you will have a better idea of what type of behavior to expect.

Good luck and I'm sure you will be fine.

post #5 of 22
Yes, I wish you well! Good luck!
post #6 of 22
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the suggestions and the links.

I have another quick question that I just thought of. Should I put them in seperate carriers, or get one big enough that they can both go in?
post #7 of 22
Separate, absolutely for the trip. Can I also suggest very strongly that you start now to accustom them to harnesses (the kind that also go behind the front legs as well as the neck) indoors for a short time every day (tight enough so only a finger can slip in.. they're very good at slithering out)? Because on the road, anything could freak them out and they could make a mad dash who knows where, but on a leash, you'll be in control the whole time (and clip the leash part on in the car first.. let them wear the harnesses for the whole trip). Don't expect them to eat normally, if at all (and don't give them a big meal before leaving, maybe just dry stuff) or even drink much, and do bring a roll of paper towels for unexpected 'accidents'. They'll be fine - we made a 5-6 hr trip with 3 cats years ago, and once we got used to the noise (1/3 never let up!) we managed, and all got there safely. Make very sure all doors and windows are closed in the new place (and everyone be made aware of it) before bringing them in, and check for weird cubbies down and up that they could hide in, etc. and if necessary block them off temporarily for a week. And make sure they know where their boxes are!
post #8 of 22
There is a safe herbal sedative specifically for cats that my landlady used when she moved from her previous home (five hours away) with four cats. I should ask her what it was, she put the correct dosage in their food and they were hella chill with everything (yes, I am from NorCal.) during the entire ride and just slept in the backseat (minus one who was in a cat carrier because she was still a little jittery). I'll ask her tomorrow what it was called, it was vet approved (actually, it was our local vet at the time that suggested it) and can be purchased over the counter at most pet stores that I have been to.
post #9 of 22
"Vet Approved" just means a company found some vet somewhere that was happy to approve their product for some money. Do check with your own vet first... it's probably a great idea, but not all cats respond to all things the same way.
post #10 of 22
Also, all cats should be in carriers during a car trip of any length of time. It is very very dangerous not to keep them in the carrier while the car is moving, to you and to them and to possibly your car. Some people start out with good intentions, put their cats in the carrier and after listening to them cry for a while let them out-- big mistake! Not only are they not any happier, but they are now loose in the car.
post #11 of 22
If your cats get along well together I personally would put them both in a larger crate so they calm each other. (We do the same when we go to the vet - we take both Bijou and Mika even if only one of them has the appointment. That way they don't have the different smell issues to deal with at home and Mika calms Bijou and vice-versa.)

I also agree with the harness idea. Get them used to the harness and before opening any car doors on the trip ensure the cats are enclosed in the crate or if you are giving them a breather, put a leash on the harness before opening doors.

You may find that they may meow for a time and then settle down. Make the crate as comfortable as possible, i.e., soft blanket on bottom and something thrown over the crate to provide a nice, safe, dark place to hide and sleep . We usually put out a bowl of water for ours when we are in the car with them.
post #12 of 22
I have moved numerous times with my cats, medicated and not, and have found that not medicted is best. I put them in their carriers in the car, and they howl and cry for awhile, then they settle down and sleep. The seem to do best if the radio is on, not too loud. I always make sure that they eat and use their litterboxes early so they will not have to go during the trip. Put towels or a favorite blanket in the carriers with them. Even though they probably will not play, a favorite toy can also be comforting.
I know it has been said before, but it cannot be stressed enough that a cat shouls not be left loose in the car during even a short drive, and most especially during a long, stressful trip. It is so dangerous to take the chance of having a kitty used to lying by your feet to become tangled in gas or brake pedals.
If you are going to stop at a hotel during the trip, make sure you have everything you are going to need in the room for the night before you release kitties from the carriers. Take it from someone that has crawled under a semi truck at 4 a.m. with a flashlight in their mouth trying to capture a frightened cat. This includes everything you will need, snacks, drinks, food, as well as everything kitties will need.
Good luck on you move!
post #13 of 22
We moved recently. I have a retired show cat who cares less about car riding. My little female really doesn't like car riding much and will tell you about it. But they did ok in the move - about 4 hrs in the carriers before they got out.

I would put them in separate carriers, cover the carriers with a towel so its dark. I don't like to feed/water cats when traveling as some can get car sick. If its not too hot (may have to keep AC on) they should be ok. Most times after a few hrs they will go to sleep.
post #14 of 22
I, too have traveled with my kitties, on several occassions. Never mediciated. I have 5 cats, so I did put 2 together, 2 together and the mom separate. 8 hours is the longest I traveled. They did cry and howl, but eventually settled down and only did it ocassionally.

Taking them on short trips now to adjust, leaving them in their carriers at all times, playing soft music, all is great advice. Mine also hid for several hours after we reached our destination. But they eventually settled in and everything was fine. Just be prepared for alot of crying. It will be ok.
post #15 of 22
Thread Starter 
Thank you for all of the advice

I am sure that it will be okay..I just worry about them, and I don't like seeing them upset

I have 28 days to get them a little used to being in the car. I hope it makes the 10 hr trip easier on them.

post #16 of 22
Also, if you don't do it already, leave the carriers out for them to check out on their own. Put their favorite blanket and toy inside and leave the door open. If they are comfortable with the carrier you will be using then that may help a little too.

The vet may be able to suggest an anxiety rememdy for them but I agree that it really isn't necessary unless the cats are throwing themselves at the cage door and possibly harming themselves.

If the cats are best buds then I would definately cage them together, or if you have to then at least have their doors facing each other.
post #17 of 22
Thread Starter 
Another quick question.

What about using feliway? I am not too familiar with that product, but I have heard it mentioned before.

Does it claim to calm cats?

What about using it in our new place?

Thanks again
post #18 of 22
Feliway does help to relieve stress. I would recommend spraying the carriers before leaving (allow it to dry before putting the cats in). Then look into a diffuser in the room where you first put the cats. I would recommend keeping them to one room for a couple of days to let them settle in.
post #19 of 22
Thread Starter 
I wanted to thank everyone again for the advice We leave here on Sunday for our 10 hour drive, and I am still REALLY nervous for my two babies.

They are not very happy about the house being packed up, but I suppose that is to be expected.

I bought a feliway diffuser and the spray to spray the cages before we leave. I hope it helps...even if just a little! We will be living with my Mother in Law..in her basement. We will have the whole area to ourselves. I hope they adapt well. I am worried about that! At least she dosen't have any pets!
post #20 of 22
Let us know how you fared. Good luck
post #21 of 22
Thread Starter 
I just wanted to thank everyone for the great advice, and let you all know that it went way better than expected!! My female cat was fine, and the male cat cried for about three hours and then slept the rest of the way. They have been adjusting well to living with my mother in law and I am using the Feliway Diffuser....which I think has been working great!!
post #22 of 22
That is great! So what did you do?
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