Transporting cats 10 hours away.

ryseryse_2004March 19, 2014

We will be moving to another state 10 hours away. We have lots of indoor/ outdoor cats that we will try to find homes for. Since I am certain we will fail to place them all, how do I transport 3-5 cats (who don't much like each other) in a car for 10 hours?

Anybody with experience with this?. They will be especially hard to place because they are frightened of strangers so not cute and cuddly to anyone but us.

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There's no way around it - they will be really annoyed, howling and screeching for part of the way, if not all of it. Talk to your vet about sedatives.

Withhold food AND water 12 hours before leaving time, drug them (if possible), stuff them into carriers (one per cat) that have something soft and absorbent, and start driving.

Don't try to "service" the cats along the way, because if they escape they are unlikely to be found again. Yes, you may be driving in the stench of cat poop, but if you try to clean the carrier, you risk losing the cat.

Make sure you have their litterboxes and litter in the car so you can set up immediately in the new place.

Not looking forward to it, because I have three who will be on an 8-hour drive with me.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 9:42AM
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How they react will vary among the cats. Some may meow for the first hour of driving where others may not make a sound. Personally, I'd rent a van/suv that would hold a medium kennel, one that is large enough to hold each cat in addition to a disposable litterbox (Petsmart carries them). Also take along some some canned cat food to offer at a rest stop. IF they eat during that time the canned will help keep them hydrated.
I wouldn't withhold food and water for 12 hours before a 10 hr trip. When I travel with my pets (I've flown for 10 hours with pets and I've driven for 10 hours) I always feed them about 2-3 hours before departure. That allows them time to do their business before they're put in the kennel and it also gives them enough nutrition/hydration for the trip. Use layers of small towels in the sleeping area of the kennel so if a cat does throw up you can remove the top towel and still have bedding for the cat.

Use a cover between those cats that don't get along, yet leave enough of the cage uncovered so the cats can see out, plus get some ventilation. You'll find some animals travel better with the kennel elevated so they can see their surroundings, and others will want to hide. One cat I traveled with meowed a lot, but when we elevated her carrier so that she could see everything she never made another sound.

You can offer food and water at rest stops but be sure all the doors/windows to the vehicle are closed when you're working with the cats.
I can't recommend drugs since they can sometimes make the situation worse. There are some herbal treatments available that others have used with success, but when I tried one brand on my dog he became sick. You may want to try them days/weeks before the trip and see how your cats react.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 5:34PM
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There are rescues that transport critters and if they are going your way may help you out by taking 1 or 2, it is easier for them because they will not also be moving stuff like you will probably be doing. They generally already have crates, which will save you that expense; in return you could donate some cash to their rescue efforts.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 5:40PM
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I agree that it will be hard. Ask your vet for any advice that they can give. Any cat is not going to like being wholed up that long.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2014 at 5:34PM
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make sure you keep the A/c on high. Mine pant like crazy in the carrier.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2014 at 5:38PM
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If they have not received sedation before, with the exact same drug & dose - PLEASE do not sedate them.

A colleague of mine, a pediatrician, recently was on a flight with 2 cats that were sedated for the flight, and in the passenger compartment (under the seat) with the owner. One died from over-sedation. Fortunately he was able to provide assistance and revive the other one who stopped breathing.

While in the air - the flight attendant called her personal vet who was able to talk directly to and help the pediatrician treat the kitty.

I volunteer doing animal rescue and we do not sedate animals for transport. They also only get water for the 12 hours prior. Use as big of a vehicle as you can, cover the cages so they don't see each other. Perhaps an overnight stop & stay at a pet friendly hotel, at the 5 hour point.

Good luck.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2014 at 5:54PM
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Have to add a funny story...

A friend flew her feral kitty from Chicago to San Diego. TSA at O'Hare decided they ''had to remove the (feral) kitty from the cage to do a pat down.''

From the way my friend described it, I think the TSA agent probably still has scars.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2014 at 5:59PM
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Wonder if good old feliway spray would help? I don't think I'd make a stop anywhere or let a cat out of the cage for any reason - just try and barrel through the 10 hours and release them only when its a secure room that they can hide in for a few days to recover. Agree with Lazygardens that its just way top risky,

Since one of my cats went missing (got him back -yay) Ive been on a cat search forum and sadly that seems to be a fairly common scenario - cats get out during a move and are either never seen again or recovered only by extraordinary effort.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2014 at 10:37PM
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I moved a 16 year old cat, 16 year old cockatiel and a 17 year old dog in one van for an 8+ hour drive. My cat did not move the whole trip. I would get them used to carriers and put them in them for the move; unsedated. Bring litter boxes that have their scent in them and place them in the new house before bringing the cats in. Then bring the carriers in, set them in an open area near the litter boxes and open the crates. Let them come out on their own. They will smell their litter and will feel more at home.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2014 at 9:42PM
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I agree with others about not letting your cats out of their pet carriers until you reach a very safe place ( your new home). A friend of mine worked for years in cat rescue and she said it was sad how many people who travel with their cats think "their" cat will not leave the car/van/RV. But my friend (whose rescue group would be notified) said so many cats have escaped when a door was opened at a rest stop and became so frightened that they would not even come to "their people" after getting out. That has got to be so sad for not only the family, but that poor cat!

    Bookmark   March 31, 2014 at 9:55AM
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I won't be letting the cats out for a break for sure! Even staying at a motel would be very traumatic for them and I doubt I could even get them back in the cages when it was time to take off in the morning. They will just have to cross their legs and make it in the car for 10 hours.

I will give them a good talk about 'the alternative'. I would never take them to a shelter anyway but I certainly will threaten that.

Right now it looks like the number will be 6 unless I can talk someone into taking a couple of them.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2014 at 10:36AM
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Another thought is talking the new buyers of the house into keeping them. Yeah - that's gonna happen!!!!

    Bookmark   March 31, 2014 at 10:37AM
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LOL...kitties with their legs crossed.

Would be sure to put absorbant material under the cages, that you can switch out if needed. My one kitty would get so scared during car rides, he would pee in his crate on the way to the vet.

Good luck!

This post was edited by mdln on Mon, Mar 31, 14 at 10:56

    Bookmark   March 31, 2014 at 10:55AM
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