9 Hour Drive With My Two Cats

saleri

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Hi,

So basically a friend has being watching over my two cats for the last few months. I'm picking them up and bringing them to my new apartment. However the drive from my friends house to my new apartment is 9 hours. What can I do?

I have one very scared cat who will probably hide in her carrier the entire ride.

I have another cat who is very active and will want out of his carrier and will be probably wondering around my car the entire ride.

What do I do about litter for the 9 hours?

Also anything I can do to calm them?

Any light sedatives I could use or get from a vet?

Thanks!
 

LTS3

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Take a look through these TCS threads for suggestions:


It's safest for the cats to stay contained in their carriers during the entire trip. Someone posted a picture of a tunnel-type carrier that stretches across the back seat of a cat that provides more room. I can't find that post but such carriers look like this:



I'd still keep individual carriers in the trunk so you can carefully transfer each cat in and out of such tunnel carrier one at a time. Getting such a carrier out of the car with cats inside would be a pain. Be mindful that a spooked or stressed cat may bolt or freak out as soon as you open the carrier or tunnel so go slow and be prepared.

If you go the tunnel carrier route, a small litter box can be placed inside. Or just line a carrier with puppy pads.

Sedatives aren't necessary IMO. Most cats do get stressed out with being in their carriers and any travelling but are fine. If your cats are the kind that totally freak out and hyperventilate, then a sedative may be needed. The vet can prescribe one.
 

Annieca2016

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I moved from the DC area to South Carolina two years ago with my two girls. One is fine in the carrier. The other hyperventilates/pants and soils herself if it's too long a drive. I got a prescription for gabapentin for my girls. (It's also a human drug, so if you happen to take it, ask your vet for the correct dosage.) I fed them that morning wet food mixed with the gabapentin. It's super bitter so they might not eat it all, just warning you.
They then went in separate carriers that I buckled into the backseats and covered it with a sheet. That prevented some motion sickness and freak-outs by the scaredy cat. Each time I stopped for my own needs, I'd lift up the sheet, make sure both were okay, and then would go about my business. That night they were in a new place (a hotel) so it took them awhile to use the litter box, but I offered them one, as well as water, food, and extra treats. They were no worse for the wear.

One thing to definitely consider, though, is the outside temperature. I moved in March so it was cool enough to not worry about them overheating. If I had moved when it was warmer, it would have introduced new challenges. You don't want to fry poor kitty!
 
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saleri

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Take a look through these TCS threads for suggestions:

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It's safest for the cats to stay contained in their carriers during the entire trip. Someone posted a picture of a tunnel-type carrier that stretches across the back seat of a cat that provides more room. I can't find that post but such carriers look like this:



I'd still keep individual carriers in the trunk so you can carefully transfer each cat in and out of such tunnel carrier one at a time. Getting such a carrier out of the car with cats inside would be a pain. Be mindful that a spooked or stressed cat may bolt or freak out as soon as you open the carrier or tunnel so go slow and be prepared.

If you go the tunnel carrier route, a small litter box can be placed inside. Or just line a carrier with puppy pads.

Sedatives aren't necessary IMO. Most cats do get stressed out with being in their carriers and any travelling but are fine. If your cats are the kind that totally freak out and hyperventilate, then a sedative may be needed. The vet can prescribe one.
That carrier is pretty interesting. I may just pull my seats down and get something like this: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B082B9PC33/?tag=thecatsite

Will have a lot more room for the cats and a small litter box as well.

Thanks!
 
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saleri

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I moved from the DC area to South Carolina two years ago with my two girls. One is fine in the carrier. The other hyperventilates/pants and soils herself if it's too long a drive. I got a prescription for gabapentin for my girls. (It's also a human drug, so if you happen to take it, ask your vet for the correct dosage.) I fed them that morning wet food mixed with the gabapentin. It's super bitter so they might not eat it all, just warning you.
They then went in separate carriers that I buckled into the backseats and covered it with a sheet. That prevented some motion sickness and freak-outs by the scaredy cat. Each time I stopped for my own needs, I'd lift up the sheet, make sure both were okay, and then would go about my business. That night they were in a new place (a hotel) so it took them awhile to use the litter box, but I offered them one, as well as water, food, and extra treats. They were no worse for the wear.

One thing to definitely consider, though, is the outside temperature. I moved in March so it was cool enough to not worry about them overheating. If I had moved when it was warmer, it would have introduced new challenges. You don't want to fry poor kitty!
That's a good point about the temperature! Thanks!

I didn't realize I had to cover the carrier with a sheet to help with ventilation. Thanks for letting me know!
 
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saleri

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Also should I give them water and food for the 9 hour drive? I honestly wasn't planning on it.
 

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Also should I give them water and food for the 9 hour drive? I honestly wasn't planning on it.
I used to offer food and water partway through a long trip, but none of my cats were ever interested. Just be sure you're ready with food, water, and a litter box as soon as you get to your destination.
 

LTS3

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Also should I give them water and food for the 9 hour drive? I honestly wasn't planning on it.

Water is fine. Food... maybe put a small amount into the carriers in case the cats get hungry. Most likely the cats would be too stressed to eat.
 
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saleri

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Water is fine. Food... maybe put a small amount into the carriers in case the cats get hungry. Most likely the cats would be too stressed to eat.
Thank you!
 

daftcat75

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That carrier is pretty interesting. I may just pull my seats down and get something like this: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B082B9PC33/?tag=thecatsite

Will have a lot more room for the cats and a small litter box as well.

Thanks!
I don't like the idea of cats or litterboxes loose in this pen while you're driving. This pen might be a good rest stop activity for them. But while in motion, I would prefer the cats in individual carriers and the litterboxes in the trunk. Cats that are too mobile or can fight with each other represent a huge driving distraction. If you're lucky, your cats will be like my Krista was. She protested for the first few minutes of the drive before settling down. When she did start talking again, I knew she needed a break. We pulled over into a parking lot where I prepared a litter box from the trunk and set it at her feet in the car. Then I let her roam the closed car. If she needed a bathroom break, she could use the box. Otherwise, about half the time, she just needed a break from driving and the ability to stretch her legs. When she showed more interest in me than roaming the car, I put her back in the carrier, emptied the litterbox, put it back in the trunk, and continued the drive until the next time she spoke up. If your cats don't speak up, I would give them a break every two hours all the same. Make sure they are doing alright, that they have a chance to potty, and stretch their legs outside of their carriers but still in the car before putting them back in the carriers and resuming the drive.

Krista and I road tripped a couple of times for a couple of hours each way. Here we are parked for her potty break.
24316629-550B-4EAD-91B0-70E869DC82F6.jpeg

And one of her stretch her legs break:
View media item 423040
Aside from breaks, she rode in her carrier and the litter box would be emptied and placed back in the trunk. You could also use a garbage bag to store the litterboxes in the trunk if you don't want to dump the litter each time (and not worry about loose litter in your trunk.)
 
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daftcat75

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If your cats are the skittish type and not easily corralled back into carriers, you can use that pen like an airlock at rest breaks. Take each cat in their own carrier into the pen. Then you can put litterboxes and water in the pen with them. Finally, open their carriers and zip up the top. When the break is over, you may have to use a sheet pan or a flattened cardboard box like a shield to enter the pen with them, while blocking them from the entrance/exit in order to get them individually back in their own carriers. Even better if you can do all of this inside the car. You don't want to lose a cat on the transfer.
 
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