Moving with 2 cats

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
Topic Author
Cookiegirl
Posts: 43
Joined: Mon Jul 24, 2017 3:19 pm

Moving with 2 cats

Post by Cookiegirl »

Hi everyone,
We will be moving from NY to Florida, plan on doing the ride in 2 days, but we have two cats that haven’t been on a road trip and I’m really worried about the whole trip, plus a night in a motel, then a néw home for them.
Any suggestions would be so appreciated... I think I’m needing Valium just thinking of this trip.
Thanks
mainiac
Posts: 193
Joined: Tue Aug 05, 2008 9:41 pm
Location: Maine

Re: Moving with 2 cats

Post by mainiac »

Make sure the cats are in crates every single time a door is opened (car door, hotel room door). A cat can move really fast when they want to do so.
User avatar
TierArtz
Posts: 496
Joined: Wed Jan 04, 2017 10:33 pm

Re: Moving with 2 cats

Post by TierArtz »

If it were me, my greatest fear would be escape from the vehicle; that can be prevented with kenneling, or with use of a harness and a leash. We use a dog kennel large enough to hold a litter box and a bed(s), but not every car can accommodate that. Most of our traveling with cats has been on an airplane (Hawaii to Baltimore; Baltimore to Germany; Germany to Midwest).

If traveling with them is causing you too much stress, look into a pet shipping service. The cats could be kenneled for a couple of days and then arrive in FL when you want them to. That's how we managed the Germany to Midwest trip; a driver picked up the cat kennel and drove our "baby" to the Frankfurt airport.

If a pet shipping service is out of the question, it would be good to ease the cats into car travel by cruising them around town occasionally.
User avatar
Sandtrap
Posts: 13463
Joined: Sat Nov 26, 2016 6:32 pm
Location: Hawaii No Ka Oi , N. Arizona

Re: Moving with 2 cats

Post by Sandtrap »

Largest most secure comfy hard plastic pet carriers you can get. Medium dog ones are fine as long as the grates are cat proof.
Favorite toys. Lined with soft towels.
Cover the carriers and face them to see each other door to door. A/c on high. Play soft music and keep talking to them. They will settle on the drive n sleep.
Do not ever ever let them out except maybe and a hard maybe in the hotel room with closed windows n doors.
Human error is to be avoided.

Catnip
Catnip

Have done this with 2 cats.
DW and I were more stressed than the cats.
j🌺
Wiki Bogleheads Wiki: Everything You Need to Know
RMO87
Posts: 174
Joined: Fri Jan 18, 2008 9:11 am
Location: Kansas City, MO

Re: Moving with 2 cats

Post by RMO87 »

Wow, I feel for you. Cats typically hate the car. We have two, as well. I would think a travel kennel for each of them and earplugs for the humans are in store! NY to FL is a long way. Not sure how a litter box in the car might work, but you would almost have to try letting one out of their carrier at a time every couple hours (SUV rather than sedan would be best). Good luck!
User avatar
ResearchMed
Posts: 11765
Joined: Fri Dec 26, 2008 11:25 pm

Re: Moving with 2 cats

Post by ResearchMed »

Cookiegirl wrote: Tue May 11, 2021 8:33 pm Hi everyone,
We will be moving from NY to Florida, plan on doing the ride in 2 days, but we have two cats that haven’t been on a road trip and I’m really worried about the whole trip, plus a night in a motel, then a néw home for them.
Any suggestions would be so appreciated... I think I’m needing Valium just thinking of this trip.
Thanks
Have you taken the cats for any type of car ride, e.g., to the vet?
(Note: using a trip to the vet to get then used to car rides is NOT where i am heading!)

That is, if they've been in the car even for short visits, how do they handle it?
I had quite a few cats over the years, and all handled rides okay (ranging from just fine, looking around, to cautiously curled up) - except for one, who would throw up within before i got to the corner. Then she would throw up before we got to the end of the driveway.
And, eventually.... before I even started the engine! :annoyed
Clearly, that wasn't 100% "motion induced", to put it mildly.
But I never had to take any of them on a very long drive like that, but I did travel several hours by car with some.

Speak with your vet, and also plan to get the cats used to being in the car in a proper carrier.
Put some familiar cat toys AND something like a t-shirt that you have slept in for several nights (yes, nicely "scented" with "you" :wink: ).

You'll then want to figure out a way for food, water, and litter.
What I did for the latter was to get those little red and white (if they are still the same color?) folding cardboard litter boxes, approx 8x12".
I'd then cut it in half, and inser one half into the other, making something approx 8x6", with 4 walls, and a double bottom.

And I'd take car trips, even around the neighborhood at first, to get them used to the set up.
See how they do.
I'd start by putting them in separate carriers, but with the carriers right next to each other, open wired ends facing, so they can see each other, for starters anyway. And maybe even put a paw out, etc.
I wouldn't put them together, not even in a large carrier, at least not at first.
But if they *always* sleep together or such, them maybe... try together?

Again, your vet can probably help, including with various meds if needed, given that this isn't an optional trip.
ALWAYS TRY THE MEDS BEFORE ANY ACTUAL TRIP! ALWAYS.

And in the hotel, there can be VERY difficult to notice places to hide or even get into the walls.
Do NOT let them out, unless it is in the bathroom and you can SEE every possible place for an opening, including under the sink. Especially under the sink!
It's only one night (?), not a multi-week trip.

ETA: DO *NOT* LEAVE THEM UNATTENDED IN THE CAR AT ANY TIME. IT CAN GET HOT, FAST.

RM
Last edited by ResearchMed on Tue May 11, 2021 9:02 pm, edited 2 times in total.
This signature is a placebo. You are in the control group.
runner3081
Posts: 4207
Joined: Mon Aug 22, 2016 3:22 pm

Re: Moving with 2 cats

Post by runner3081 »

Buy a litter box and litter for the hotel. We went from Washington to Arizona with two cats. Locked them in the bathroom overnight so we wouldn’t have to dig them out from underneath hotel beds... can be nasty under there, lol.

We bought large soft cat carriers and left some food and water in there for them for the driving.

Every time we stopped (gas only) we would open up the hatch and get them some fresh air.

Don’t overthink this. They are cats, they will survive, haha.
Last edited by runner3081 on Tue May 11, 2021 9:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Jack FFR1846
Posts: 13680
Joined: Tue Dec 31, 2013 7:05 am
Location: 26 miles, 385 yards west of Copley Square

Re: Moving with 2 cats

Post by Jack FFR1846 »

We moved 2 cats 720 miles from Mass to southwest Virginia. I built a barrier in the back of my hatchback and put in a litter box, food, water and blankets. Being cats, they slept almost the entire trip. Upon arrival to our house in Virginia, they loved exploring the new house.

On the way home, we made one stop at a hotel and moved them in cages into and out of the hotel. They were fine.

Our cats hated going anywhere in a car but after maybe 20 minutes of meowing, they both went to sleep every time.

Your trip is about double mine. Certainly can be done in 2 days. I made that trip alone a couple years ago in 2 days, 1350 miles.
Bogle: Smart Beta is stupid
User avatar
Frobie
Posts: 251
Joined: Sat Mar 03, 2007 7:56 pm
Location: Houston

Re: Moving with 2 cats

Post by Frobie »

Ha, one of the most distinct memories of my life is the time my dad and I brought two kitties from South Carolina to Texas.

For sure have a crate for each.

Cats can be quite resilient. They’ll complain for sure, but a couple of days later it’s like they’re starting all over again.
Topic Author
Cookiegirl
Posts: 43
Joined: Mon Jul 24, 2017 3:19 pm

Re: Moving with 2 cats

Post by Cookiegirl »

Thanks guys, I’m feeling a bit better just reading all your posts,,,
User avatar
Frobie
Posts: 251
Joined: Sat Mar 03, 2007 7:56 pm
Location: Houston

Re: Moving with 2 cats

Post by Frobie »

Please let us know how it goes!
golf101
Posts: 63
Joined: Mon Jul 15, 2019 11:30 am

Re: Moving with 2 cats

Post by golf101 »

We just did a trip to and from CO from MN with our cat who hates the car. We used a tunnel that was fully mesh with a towel in the bottom for comfort. This gave her plenty of space to walk around in it and see outside a bit.

We got a pill from our vet that was amazing. She would cry for about an hour each day when we started the drive, but would calm down after that and did fine. It’s called Gabapentin. We tested it out prior to our trip to ensure it wouldn’t cause any issues for her.

Overall it wasn’t the best for any of us, but we made it!
MadHungarian
Posts: 218
Joined: Tue Jan 02, 2018 4:53 pm

Re: Moving with 2 cats

Post by MadHungarian »

Might i suggest listening to Garrison Keillor's little song "Forty Miles" on his "Songs of the Cat" album?
Toadandfriends
Posts: 73
Joined: Tue May 23, 2017 9:41 pm

Re: Moving with 2 cats

Post by Toadandfriends »

I use one of these (or very similar, I bought mine many years ago now).
https://sturdiproducts.com/collections/ ... all-double
Works great and very compact storage when not in use. I leave the middle down and put a comfy bed on one side and a little litter box on the opposite end. I put two cats in it. Just make sure all the possible openings are zipped shut :) There are places for two seatbelts to hold it in place. Works great to drive cross country with 2 cats. I can just squeeze in the back seat with carrier to offer food/water and take one cat out one at a time (to put in a small carrier) to transport to and from car. I've driven cross country many, many times this way. I strongly agree with the blanket over the carrier advice!
Good luck
Last edited by Toadandfriends on Tue May 11, 2021 10:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
investorpeter
Posts: 221
Joined: Sun Jul 31, 2016 5:46 pm

Re: Moving with 2 cats

Post by investorpeter »

Consider using a collar with one of those Apple AirTags, or similar tracking device, just in case.
flyfishers83
Posts: 144
Joined: Fri Jun 07, 2019 6:08 pm

Re: Moving with 2 cats

Post by flyfishers83 »

I recommend smaller test drives before the big trip. One of our cats used to like road trips. She is a big cat, but somehow she could fit under the seat and make it from the backseat to be at my feet while driving.

Our other cat makes the weirdest sounds when driving her to the vet. I think she would have a hard time on a long trip. Would need to work on building up for a bit.
JohnFiscal
Posts: 942
Joined: Mon Jan 06, 2014 4:28 pm
Location: Florida

Re: Moving with 2 cats

Post by JohnFiscal »

I did a similar trip evacuating for hurricane Irma in September, 2017. We were stressed out having to evac, worried about gasoline and road jams (Florida is a peninsula, one way out...North). Going from south of Tampa to Connecticut, mostly up I-95. Two long days.

I had the car and trunk full. Two cats were in their own hard carriers, with some toys and towels. Also had big beach towels to cover the carriers so they wouldn't get fearful of the distractions and motions. We also used a reflective windshield screen to cover the back seat with the cats so they would not get overheated in the car.

The cats vocalized a lot for some time each of the two mornings, maybe an hour or more, then they quieted down and stayed in the zone. We had the carriers facing forwards as this was more secure to keep from sliding and to reduce motion if hard braking. We belted in the carriers securely. And we talked to the cats at times when they were vocalizing.

I concur with comments by Sandtrap. And that by ResearchMed to not leave them unattended in the car. Except that we did leave them unattended for a few brief visits into McDonald's where we both went inside to get orders and restroom, but then we went back to the car to eat. While in the store I left the car running with air con, but doors locked and the reflective shield over the carriers. So it was fine for that short time (and we also kept eyes on the car so there was no theft attempts).

We stayed in a hotel at about the halfway point, wife picked a hotel that took pets. The room was specially set up for animals, no place to hide, etc. When in the car we never let them out "to stretch their legs", they'd never go back in their carriers then.

Good luck!
Topic Author
Cookiegirl
Posts: 43
Joined: Mon Jul 24, 2017 3:19 pm

Re: Moving with 2 cats

Post by Cookiegirl »

Thank you! Great advice! I so appreciate it!
Kleina
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Oct 15, 2020 9:58 am

Re: Moving with 2 cats

Post by Kleina »

We moved from Michigan to Arizona with two cats. Cats love to soak their scent into things, and that helps them claim territory. So move their territory with them.

We purchased a Pet Tube https://www.twosaltydogs.net/product697.html, which we left out in the house for weeks before the move so the cats were familiar and comfortable with it. Before the move we would practice putting the tube in the car, then the cats, taking a short drive, and then coming back home and getting treats. We left out blankets and soft items for the cats around the house, and didn't wash them.

For the move the cats had the entire backseat in the pet tube with all their scent-soaked blankets and favorite toys. We also stuffed their favorite cat bed in. Because a litter box is full of cat scent and helps to establish territory, we brought all their litter boxes in the car in the pet tube with them, with old litter.

Once we arrived we kept them in the bedroom for a day so that they weren't overwhelmed, then we opened up everything to them. Litter boxes and scratchers are makers of territory for the cats and move well to help them feel comfortable in their new territory.

We didn't use any medications, but I recall reading that if you do you should try it ahead of time, as it frequently just makes the cats sick. In fact I recall a friend who tried to medicate and move his cats told me he drove the entire trip with cats vomiting in the backseat.
User avatar
baconavocado
Posts: 547
Joined: Fri Oct 13, 2017 3:03 pm

Re: Moving with 2 cats

Post by baconavocado »

Wow, lots of great advice here. This would be a stressful trip for most cats and I would just echo what has already been said, that the cats will be most comfortable in large, separate carriers, close together. I would try to never remove them from the carriers during the trip if possible. And also, explore the option of getting sedatives from your vet, but as someone said, try them out before you actually leave.

I'm not sure, but I believe the advice is to leave them in the carriers part of every day until they get used to their new home.
Carol88888
Posts: 433
Joined: Wed Jan 24, 2018 2:24 am

Re: Moving with 2 cats

Post by Carol88888 »

Ask your vet about a little Valium for them. It will make them drowsy and perhaps quieter.

You can't keep them drugged for two days but perhaps just for a little bit of the first day it would be worth it.
wordsmith11
Posts: 75
Joined: Mon Mar 27, 2017 10:18 pm

Re: Moving with 2 cats

Post by wordsmith11 »

golf101 wrote: Tue May 11, 2021 9:46 pm We just did a trip to and from CO from MN with our cat who hates the car. We used a tunnel that was fully mesh with a towel in the bottom for comfort. This gave her plenty of space to walk around in it and see outside a bit.

We got a pill from our vet that was amazing. She would cry for about an hour each day when we started the drive, but would calm down after that and did fine. It’s called Gabapentin. We tested it out prior to our trip to ensure it wouldn’t cause any issues for her.

Overall it wasn’t the best for any of us, but we made it!
+1 on Gabapentin. Safe, well tolerated. Does not put them into a haze but definitely takes the edge off. Easy to give as a liquid. Talk to your vet.
squirm
Posts: 3427
Joined: Sat Mar 19, 2011 11:53 am

Re: Moving with 2 cats

Post by squirm »

My cats do great in cars, we don't even put them in crates. They like to just sit on the seat.
FlamePoint
Posts: 59
Joined: Wed Nov 11, 2020 10:45 pm

Re: Moving with 2 cats

Post by FlamePoint »

We did a 4 day drive with cats last summer for a multi-state move. Plenty of planning in advance made for a relatively painless trip.

Here’s what we did:

1. Bought large soft sided carriers for each that held a small disposable litter box.
2. Arranged to stay in hotels that allowed cats. Call in advance. “Pet friendly” doesn’t always mean friendly to cats. The hotels we stayed in boarded up the area under the bed so the cats couldn’t get beyond our reach.
3. Never let the cats out of their carriers until we were in the hotel room.
4. During stops along the way cars were always kept running with AC and we took turns going to the restroom. Lunches were drive-through eaten in the car.
5. We had separate larger litter boxes that were taken into the hotel room at night. Also packed a container with food (wet and dry) that went into the hotel room with us.
6. Gabapentin is your friend. Our vet also prescribed anti-nausea pills that each cat received 30 minutes before we left in the morning. Nothing’s worse than traveling with a vomiting cat.
7. You can try spraying Feliway in their carriers each morning. Some cats respond to it, others don’t. It never had much of an effect on my cats.
8. Offer them food and water periodically at stops. They may not want to eat or drink much in the car. Typically once they settle down in the hotel they’ll eat. Wet food is better in this instance since they’ll get fluids this way.
9. Don’t stress. They’ll survive. Once you get to your destination and you settle in they’ll forget about the trip.

We picked up our soft side carriers on Wayfair. https://www.wayfair.com/pet/pdp/tucker- ... 29416.html
calwatch
Posts: 332
Joined: Wed Oct 02, 2013 1:48 am

Re: Moving with 2 cats

Post by calwatch »

I just did it with a friend from South Carolina to Oregon. My friend had tried a one day trip to see how they would do, and they did fine on that trip, but was concerned about how they would do on a longer trip. Most of the time they stayed out of the (soft sided) carrier and sat on the back seat or in my (or the non-driver)'s lap.

Since it was the friend's cat I ended up doing most of the driving and the cats would climb over to her. When she was driving I would try to shoo them in my direction. However, most of the time they were either sleeping or cuddling each other, which was very cute. The cats were on harnesses at all times. This was a CRV and we deliberately left the back bench mostly free, with the area where the feet go filled with their litter box and a chest of drawers that wouldn't fit otherwise. The kibble sat on the seat. We took four and a half days to do the trip, which is more aggressive than I normally would do but ultimately was right on time as the last day the cats were really noisy and wanted to be done with it (and so did I).

We took them in the carrier when moving them to and from the hotel, placing the cats in the carrier, their food and litter box, and wheeling them into the hotel (along with our luggage) on a cart. We stayed at Baymont and La Quinta Inns since they were pet friendly, although the last night we were unable to find any in the place we wanted to stop in so stayed at a Motel 6. In that instance since the corridors were outside she just took them in her lap back and forth from the parking lot. We generally left the cats in the hotel room by themselves in the morning while we got breakfast and did the limited sightseeing that we did. On other road trip stops the cats just stayed in the car, mostly out of the carrier. We stopped for dinner at sit down restaurants for a couple of hours but the temperature was mild and we left the windows cracked open. I don't think they spent much time in the carrier to be honest, but we had them ready just in case. Most of the time they were asleep anyway or curled up on our luggage. As you can see we did leave some area to curl up in but it was somewhat humorous when I made a turn too fast and the cat slid off the chest of drawers. The cats shed immensely inside but as my driving companion role is done, it's going to be up to their owner to take care of that. They were not on drugs nor sedated.

(edit - pictures deleted since they take up a lot of space)
Last edited by calwatch on Wed May 12, 2021 10:25 am, edited 2 times in total.
Topic Author
Cookiegirl
Posts: 43
Joined: Mon Jul 24, 2017 3:19 pm

Re: Moving with 2 cats

Post by Cookiegirl »

Wow, such great advice, I’m definitely feeling a bit better (still nervous), but grateful to have all these suggestions.
We’re moving which should be my biggest concern after so many years , have never left New York, but I’m more nervous about our kitties.
I’m going to start researching crates now,and motels
Thanks,, please keep the suggestions coming
Arabesque
Posts: 184
Joined: Mon Jan 08, 2018 9:56 am

Re: Moving with 2 cats

Post by Arabesque »

I haven't moved cats, but I have dogs, breed dogs. An important rule for dogs in heat is to have two doors between a male and a female at all times. You can even see the double gating at dog parks when the issues are cars and fights.

Double gating may not be totally possible in a move (or with dogs), but it is a good idea to have in your head. Cat cages and motel room or car door=2 doors. If you're moving stuff out of motel room, cat cages go in closed bathroom. Any time there aren't two doors, you need hypervigilance. FWIW
mr_brightside
Posts: 384
Joined: Sat Oct 17, 2020 3:23 pm

Re: Moving with 2 cats

Post by mr_brightside »

consider getting a sedative for the animals from the vet

we gave a sedative to a cat for a plane trip recently and it seemed to help some

----------------------------------------
Dagwood
Posts: 1038
Joined: Mon Mar 02, 2009 5:26 pm
Location: MD

Re: Moving with 2 cats

Post by Dagwood »

Lots of great advice here. Have moved our cats (and dogs) a few times:

Whether to let them out of the crate while you are driving is a personal call. I would be flexible depending on how they best calm down. Remember, them being upset will upset you, and it's a long drive. You want to get there safely, first and foremost, and a stressed driver is more likely to make a mistake.

Whenever you stop and need to get out, they need to be secured in a crate. Cats can move quickly and an open door with a loose cat can smell disaster.

When you get to a hotel, use the crate or a pet carrier to set them up in the room with a portable litter tray, etc.

A/C on if it is at all hot. Low volume classical music is also calming.

Finally, a co-pilot helps to deal with them too. I had to do one dog and two cats solo and it was a challenge. But it is doable.

Good luck and try to have some fun! Those trips are memorable.
TSR
Posts: 985
Joined: Thu Apr 19, 2012 9:08 am

Re: Moving with 2 cats

Post by TSR »

You say "we," but I can't tell how many vehicles are involved. I recently did this with my partner, two cats, a separate uHaul truck, and a personal vehicle. That was relatively easy -- one cat in the moving truck (me driving), one in the personal vehicle (partner driving). You just need two small-ish litter boxes. Cats in this situation either get loud or they get scared. After my cat got adjusted to the uHaul, I was able to just let her out of the carrier. She immediately hid under the seats and pretty much never reappeared until it was over. I agree with everyone else that the big risk is them getting out of the car, so be very careful with that.

Good luck -- treat this as an adventure (a potentially hilarious one) and take a lot of pictures. That should lessen the anxiety a bit. Just remember: your cats will forget about this the minute they set foot in the new house, but you won't!
swengineer
Posts: 18
Joined: Sat Dec 15, 2018 6:20 pm

Re: Moving with 2 cats

Post by swengineer »

We took my mother-in-law's six year old cat when she went into the nursing home and couldn't have it any more. We drove 14 hours over two days with a small moving van and the cat in a carrier between the front seats. The cat liked the carrier, would sleep in it in the house if left open on the floor. My wife's brother had taken his mom and her cat on a three hour trip to his cabin once a few years before. The cat howled the whole way there and back. So we tried having the vet medicate it the first day. The cat did better the second day when we didn't medicate him. He howled the first hour or so each day, then settled down and slept.

The cat was about 17 pounds, and we had a fairly large carrier with water but no food, but we put the litter box in the moving truck back (it wasn't quite full, so there was room for me to stand inside and let him out to use the litter box, but it was packed full and tight enough that there was no place for him to go hide. We stopped a few times per day to take the carrier in the back and close it before letting him out of the carrier so he had a chance to go. That cat drank lots of water. Gave him some limited food during the middle of the day and then fed him in the evening and a small meal in the early morning.

The hotel room was pet friendly, but not too big, so we ended up putting the litter box in the tub overnight. That made for easy clean up, as the cat tracks out a bit of litter. We put food, water, his crate and the cat in the bathroom when we left the room, so he wouldn't dart out of the room on us.

The cat lived another 10 years with us, and turned into a lap cat for my wife. It wouldn't sit on her mother's lap, but would try to get 5-6 hours a day if she would sit.
User avatar
ResearchMed
Posts: 11765
Joined: Fri Dec 26, 2008 11:25 pm

Re: Moving with 2 cats

Post by ResearchMed »

How much time do you have before the move?
(sorry if I missed/forgot that)

If the cats have never been in the carrier before, or if they don't like it, then I'd start by putting a special treat inside and just let them find it by smell.
If no takers early on, then put the treat right at the front edge; don't make them "go in" to get it, at first.
Then slowly move the treat a bit farther inside each time.
(Do check that both cats are sharing in this task, and one cat isn't getting all the treats. In the latter case, move the greedy one to another room for a short time, to give the other a shot at the goodies.)
Continue doing that between now and the trip (perhaps sometimes make it a catnip toy IF they like those).

And you might start before the trip with somwthing like those "personalized t-shirts" as described above :wink:
A well used unwashed pair of socks can also work.

I know some have suggested soft carriers, but I'd strongly suggest hard carriers.
Those will protect the cat in case of anything falling on them, such as in hard braking, etc.
And I *always* got the carrier inside a seat belt in some way. Having the carrier-with-cat go flying off the seat, or even just slide off the seat and hit the floor... not a good way to keep the cats happy.

I'd also keep some treats handy during the trip, but only if you already have tried giving them one or two during the test rides. No new food during the trip.

And another "just in case", bring a lot of paper towels and a container of water just in case you need to clean up anything that might present itself, even if there was no evidence of such during the test rides. Much better safe than sorry...

Good luck.
With good planning and a bit of luck, it should go fine.

RM
This signature is a placebo. You are in the control group.
Mr. Rumples
Posts: 1237
Joined: Sun Aug 25, 2019 7:16 am

Re: Moving with 2 cats

Post by Mr. Rumples »

Moved to CO and back to VA with two cats. Repeating a lot of the above. NEVER let them out of the carrier except in the hotel room. I'd get them chipped. I broke up the trip into eight hour increments for them. I did not sedate; my vets said it might just make them howl and loose bladder control. On the way out, they cried for all of five minutes, that was it. Then they just slept.

Pet friendly rooms can be nasty, covered with perfumes to hide smells so be prepared for that. Be sure to have reservations and then call and confirm. I had a little kit in the car of a hand vacuum, wipes and so forth in case they had an accident in the room which they did not. I never noticed it before, but most of the hotel rooms had the beds on solid wood frames so they had no where to hide. In the end, they did fine and did not use the litter box for three days.
alex345
Posts: 40
Joined: Sun Jan 16, 2011 11:13 am

Re: Moving with 2 cats

Post by alex345 »

We've driven across country twice in the past year with our cat. Day one was OK, day 2 there was a lot of yowling and it became quite terrible. Eventually we figured out that a lap was required for our sanity. He needs lap time then we could put him back in the carrier and he'd sleep until we stopped for gas/food, rinse, repeat. lol cats
calwatch
Posts: 332
Joined: Wed Oct 02, 2013 1:48 am

Re: Moving with 2 cats

Post by calwatch »

Cookiegirl wrote: Wed May 12, 2021 8:18 am Wow, such great advice, I’m definitely feeling a bit better (still nervous), but grateful to have all these suggestions.
We’re moving which should be my biggest concern after so many years , have never left New York, but I’m more nervous about our kitties.
I’m going to start researching crates now,and motels
Thanks,, please keep the suggestions coming
On motels Baymont and La Quinta are the best at the value equation IMHO. Their pet fees are usually $10 or $20. Red Roof and Motel 6 have free pets but may be too low quality... I might have stayed in them in my 20's but try not to stay in them today, and was reminded by their tiny rooms (although that particular location in Pendleton, OR was exceptionally clean).
Fallible
Posts: 7783
Joined: Fri Nov 27, 2009 4:44 pm

Re: Moving with 2 cats

Post by Fallible »

I haven’t read all posts here, but would recommend you have your vet do a general exam of the cats and advise on travel methods as that’s what vets do. If there are problems on the road, you can contact your vet for advice.

Safe travels for all!
"Yes, investing is simple. But it is not easy, for it requires discipline, patience, steadfastness, and that most uncommon of all gifts, common sense." ~Jack Bogle
User avatar
JoeRetire
Posts: 8315
Joined: Tue Jan 16, 2018 2:44 pm

Re: Moving with 2 cats

Post by JoeRetire »

Cookiegirl wrote: Tue May 11, 2021 8:33 pm Hi everyone,
We will be moving from NY to Florida, plan on doing the ride in 2 days, but we have two cats that haven’t been on a road trip and I’m really worried about the whole trip, plus a night in a motel, then a néw home for them.
Any suggestions would be so appreciated... I think I’m needing Valium just thinking of this trip.
Thanks
Talk to your veterinarian about the cats.
Talk to your personal physician about the Valium.
Just remember: it's not a lie if you believe it.
BrightEyes
Posts: 35
Joined: Thu Nov 05, 2020 1:44 pm

Re: Moving with 2 cats

Post by BrightEyes »

Arrgggghhhhh!! :oops:

I wrote a very long response, typing for at least an hour... but I guess I timed out, and it was lost. I hate when that happens… :annoyed

So, trying again, for a more condensed version! (also typing first in a word processing document so I won't lose it all!)

I’ve traveled a lot with cats, including one that I literally moved around the world ( multiple US locations to England, Japan, back to US, a few houses down from the one where we adopted him) with some moves by car, and some by air, of course. ‘Round-the-World Cat handled them all well, as he was a very forgiving cat, and secure in his people. We moved him 8 times over 15 years, so total of 9 houses plus various short term stays in kennels, hotels, friends’ homes. Getting his own furnishings back seemed to help him know he was in his own home and we were staying a while.

I find a key to traveling with cats to be harness and (sometimes) leash. Cats are slippery. Harnesses give you a handle to help secure them, and leashes let you control movement somewhat, especially within the vehicle, and to at least track them if they decide to hide under car seat or furniture. If you have a cat wrangler (sometimes also double-hatted as the Navaguessor or Nagravator), then sometimes a more peaceful (quieter) journey can be had by allowing a (preferably calm) cat out of the crate. The leash is important to keep said cat off the driver, though if the driver is the cat’s primary/security person, allowing a paw or peripheral touch can comfort the cat. Don’t try to let them “get used to” the leash by attaching to harness and leaving them loose around the house— it chases them, and they can’t get away, so it can be very scary, especially when they don’t have experience with the leash yet. Just let the cat lead if you are walking them on it (that's OK in the house! or outside). And only one cat at a time… Voice of experience, if you walk two cats on leashes, they will head opposite directions, and then you are in the middle and can’t reach either one while still holding the other’s leash… :oops:

First move with ‘Round-the-World Cat and the Siamese Queen-of-the World was 5 days in a small car with two teenagers… the cats were *much* easier to deal with! It was too hot for them in the crate, so they were soon allowed out on leashes and we moved part of the Too-Much-Stuff in the car into the crate for the rest of the trip. It was quieter with them in laps.

Other times, when I didn’t have a wrangler along, the cats were crated for driving, but still had harnesses. We sometimes let them out on leashes for bathroom breaks, but usually they were too distracted by the novel circumstances to go, even when the repeated cries of distress (and eventual bladder emptying at the end of a rest stop long enough to allow some familiarity/comfort with the new location finally let one empty his bladder…. for an amazingly long time!) showed a need to go. They did, however, seem to really enjoy getting out of the car and checking out new places. YMMV. These were both very confident, calm cats. And I didn’t attempt this unless there were at least two familiar people available!

Avoid drugs… cats can have very idiosyncratic and negative reactions to drugs. Most vets and experienced pet shippers/airline do not recommend. You'll do fine without them.

Microchips identify your cat if found and the chip is read and your info is unto date in the registry. They are not tracking devices. (Maybe you could attach some sort of tracker to the harness? if you want to try that, but the leash is more useful so you won’t need a tracking device! And cats *can* back out of a harness with some effort.)

Many motel beds have the bottom boxed in so people can’t lose stuff under them; this helps prevent a cat hiding under the bed, too. We never had any troubles with that; again YYMV depending your cat’s personality. Ours tend to be outgoing and people oriented, so they want our laps and the snuggle with its once out the one crate. Agree with litter box in bathroom, unless otherwise provided by hotel. (The hotel in Japan had a little “play pen” area set up with a short fence suitable for a small dog, which was one easy bound for a cat! kind of adorable!) We didn't have trouble finding/picking up cats in the morning to depart; YMMV, but you know your cat. Mine would not have agreed to remain quietly confined to the bathroom, especially overnight!

Agree with suggestions for clothes/bedding that smells like family, whether you and/or the cats themselves. Have this in the crate and have spares ready, just in case. Consider puppy pads or the pads meant for the Tidy Cat Breeze litter box at the bottom of the crate— the Breeze pads are very absorbent and disposable. The Breeze might work pretty well as a travel litter box, actually…. but I always just took a small plastic litter box that would fit on the floorboards or could be carried into the motel room, with cheap clay litter, so it was simple/cheap to dump and refill as needed. Even though I think only one cat ever used it in the car. Only when we were parked, never moving. And that's the same cat that also wanted to stay lying down in the clean litter box (on the seat next to one of the kids) as we drove through the desert— we finally decided the clay litter might hold some coolth, and feel comforting to her, and let her make her own choices.

Agree also, with always securing the crate through positioning and/or seatbelts. This is safer for people as well as cats in case of sudden braking or a crash.

Traveling by car with cats is very do-able. If you stay calm, the cats will be more calm. If you are very anxious, they will pick up on your anxiety, and since they can’t understand WHY you are anxious, they will also become anxious, so try to not worry!

Good luck, safe journey; let us know how it went when you have reached the other end and are settling in!

Bright Eyes
BrightEyes
Posts: 35
Joined: Thu Nov 05, 2020 1:44 pm

Re: Moving with 2 cats

Post by BrightEyes »

Oh, part of what got lost in my first, lost response was about the move itself! Make sure the cats, crate, food, litter/box, harnesses and leashes, etc., are in a room you don't allow the packers/movers into! I usually used my personal bathroom, but whatever works. Marked it with a big masking tape "X" across the door and a sign to stay out. Once I didn't put the crate in the blocked off room, just told then not to pack it... so they only packed the harnesses and leashes I had put inside the crate for safekeeping, which I discovered the following morning when we were driving away from the house! Needless to say, departure was delayed by a couple hours until the nearby pet store opened and I could expensively replace the missing equipment! :annoyed
egrets
Posts: 545
Joined: Sun Jul 05, 2020 2:56 pm

Re: Moving with 2 cats

Post by egrets »

TierArtz wrote: Tue May 11, 2021 8:46 pm
If traveling with them is causing you too much stress, look into a pet shipping service. The cats could be kenneled for a couple of days and then arrive in FL when you want them to. That's how we managed the Germany to Midwest trip; a driver picked up the cat kennel and drove our "baby" to the Frankfurt airport.
I would never so this. Only you can be depended upon to keep the cats safe. As others have said, don't have the cats loose in the car, and be 100% alert about things like housekeeping opening the hotel room door, etc. I can tell you from experience that a do not disturb sign will not keep housekeeping out. Be sure your cats are ID microchipped.
Shire hobbit
Posts: 11
Joined: Tue Oct 02, 2012 1:37 pm

Re: Moving with 2 cats

Post by Shire hobbit »

When my wife & I moved from FL to Mass 20+ years ago we used a crate while in car etc and going into and out of hotel, we made sure hotel accepted cats etc when we made reservations, while in hotel room, used large dog crate with small kitty litter box in the crate, other than some stress no problem, gave small meal at breakfast to avoid vomiting in small transport crate in car and waited a bit once settled in hotel room to feed again.
Topic Author
Cookiegirl
Posts: 43
Joined: Mon Jul 24, 2017 3:19 pm

Re: Moving with 2 cats

Post by Cookiegirl »

Wow! I can’t tell you all how grateful I am to be reading all your posts. I’m gathering so much great info, I. So glad I asked for your advice! Keep the suggestions coming! Thanks soooooooooo much!
Murgatroyd
Posts: 464
Joined: Sun Jan 21, 2018 8:23 pm

Re: Moving with 2 cats

Post by Murgatroyd »

We drove 1000 miles Dallas to Chicago. Straight through. Put them both in a previously mentioned tube which took up the entire back seat. Two small disposable boxes at either end. One them complained fo 2 or so hours. That was it. They settled down and mostly slept.

We did not want to mess with hotels and additional strange places and the risk of losing one.

We took turns napping. It went well.
hi_there
Posts: 869
Joined: Sat Aug 29, 2020 7:00 pm

Re: Moving with 2 cats

Post by hi_there »

I moved from CA to NY with two cats. So it was about a 9 hour trip with them in TSA bags. The one brave cat was fine, but the other was traumatized and hid in the new house for a week. Driving this distance would not have been practical, but if given the choice, I would easily choose a 2 day road trip over a cross country flight, as you would avoid crowds, loud noises, and generally scary stimuli. Incidentally, the brave cat gets motion sickness and vomits almost every time we go in a car.
LittleMaggieMae
Posts: 826
Joined: Mon Aug 12, 2019 9:06 pm

Re: Moving with 2 cats

Post by LittleMaggieMae »

Think about buying a package of "doggie pee pads" that fit in your crate(s). My Little Girl cat pees when she is terrified which usually occurs going into the crate or out of the crate (at the vet). :( I've found a pee pad to be a better choice than a towel or "blanket" for her crate in case of accidents. I can dispose of the wet pad and replace it with a fresh one.

I have never overnighted with a cat at a hotel - but I'm thinking if I was going to do this - I would probably use the bathroom as the Cat Room. with my luck a cat loose in a hotel room would find someplace (under a bed? behind something? ) and would be impossible to 'recapture'. :(

I would NOT let the cat out in the car while you are driving - especially if you are alone. Cats can get out the door or under your feet (the brake and gas pedel) and do all sorts of other distressing things - you need to focus on the road.

My kindhearted BFF felt bad for her crying cat on her first trip to the vet - and let the cat out of the crate in the car... it didn't stop the cat from crying. And when they got to the vet - she couldn't get the cat back into the crate. In fact when she opened the car door the cat bolted - out into the parking lot and under another car. It took 2 hours to wrangle the cat - one of the vet techs actually managed to get far enough under the car to grab the cat. If you are unsure of your cat (as in never traveled before) I would highly recommend NOT letting your cat out of the crate in the car.
LittleMaggieMae
Posts: 826
Joined: Mon Aug 12, 2019 9:06 pm

Re: Moving with 2 cats

Post by LittleMaggieMae »

Years ago, when I moved houses - and had three cats - I had all litterboxes, litter, food, bowls, and a jug of water along with a couple of cat beds packed separately and that went with the cats. I only moved 2 miles away. The cats were crated and "stored" in the bathroom behind a closed door well before the movers came. At some point a friend helped me with the cats - moving them (and their stuff) to my car. Once we got to the "new" house - the cats went immediately into a bathroom (and remained in their crates) behind a closed door - until the movers were done and gone and I was able to prepare a "bedroom" for them. I let them out in their "bedroom" where they lived for 3 days - while I was working on the rest of the house. They were afraid but curious when I finally let them check out the house.
Mr. Rumples
Posts: 1237
Joined: Sun Aug 25, 2019 7:16 am

Re: Moving with 2 cats

Post by Mr. Rumples »

Just a note on rooms. An expensive hotel / motel doesn't guarantee a nice room. The best room we had was also the least expensive; it was Motel 6 which had laminated wood floors instead of carpet.
Mudpuppy
Posts: 6755
Joined: Sat Aug 27, 2011 2:26 am
Location: Sunny California

Re: Moving with 2 cats

Post by Mudpuppy »

I agree with the suggestions to line the crate with puppy pads or those Breeze litter pads to guard against accidents from either end. It's so much easier to throw away a puppy pad and wipe down what's left over, rather than having to clean the crate and store the dirtied towels for the rest of the trip. Relatedly, keep crate cleaning supplies in the car, like pet-safe wipes or a pet-safe spray and paper towels, so you can clean any splatter/residue that didn't get caught by the puppy pad. Include pet wipes in your cleaning supply kit in case the kitties sit in the accident and get it all over themselves before you can safely pull over to clean up.

If you plan to have a travel litter box in the crate/car, I'd also suggest using non-clumping, low-dust litter like newspaper litter for similar hygiene reasons. A scared cat might sleep in the litter box and it's no fun trying to clean caked off clay litter residue from fur. I learned this one the hard way from a cat that splashed water over himself, then hid in the litter box. That was "not fun" times for both of us when I had to clean him up. I now keep one box with newspaper litter available for them all the time at the house, so they know it's a litter box option. Along with acclimating them to that sort of litter for moves, it's also come in handy if the vet says to use newspaper litter during surgical recovery.

Speaking of vets, try to identify the veterinarian you will use at your destination now. Look up online reviews to find good vets in that area and call to see if they're accepting new patients. Get your cats complete records from your current vet before the move and see if your current vet would be willing to phone consult with the new vet for any chronic issues. Also look up emergency vets in major cities along your driving route, just in case something happens.
squirm
Posts: 3427
Joined: Sat Mar 19, 2011 11:53 am

Re: Moving with 2 cats

Post by squirm »

You can read everyone's story but at the end of the day It really depends on your cats temperament. Our ragdoll just plops himself down in the car and is good to go. No crate, nothing. He's like a quiet passenger the whole trip.
Topic Author
Cookiegirl
Posts: 43
Joined: Mon Jul 24, 2017 3:19 pm

Re: Moving with 2 cats

Post by Cookiegirl »

Love these replies, all sooooooo helpful!
Post Reply