Is it cruel to travel in a car with a cat for 2 days?

Meow24

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We would be stopping off to stay in a motel for the night. Would this be distressing for a year old cat? She's never travelled before. Any advice very much appreciated.
 

lucyrima

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How is she otherwise in the car (like to vet, etc)? Most cats are not fans of travel and the vet might give you something to calm her down for a while, but... two days? Is there no one who can come in to feed her, or take her in, etc?
 

fionasmom

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Are you moving to a new home or in a situation where the cat is better off coming with you? To answer your question, it might be distressing, but you could ask your vet if any type of medication might help. You will be stopping at a hotel, so there is a break. If this is a trip that you could make without her, and if you have a good cat sitter who could care for her, it might be best to leave her home. A lot depends on why you are making the trip....not that you have to tell us the specific reason.
 

Willowy

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Is this for a trip, a move, etc.?

I wouldn't take a cat on a weekend trip, but if you're moving of course it can't be avoided. For a longer trip, this would depend on the cat's general toleration of travel. How does she act when you take her in the car for vet visits? Can you find a good catsitter?

Things to know:
The cat needs to be up-to-date on rabies vaccination to cross state lines. They don't stop you at the border to check but if you get pulled over they WILL ask for the cat's papers. So make sure you have her rabies certificate readily available.

If possible, have your cat microchipped ASAP, and of course register the info right away. Most shelters will do same-day microchipping, just give them a call to ask about their current policies. Also have her wear a breakaway collar with an ID tag that has your cell phone number on it. Maybe even a second breakaway collar with your cell phone number written on it in permanent marker, just in case (they're cheap in bulk on Amazon).

Always keep a closed door in between your cat and outdoors---NEVER open the cat's carrier while the car or motel room door is open. Pop the cat into her carrier or the bathroom if you have to open the motel door. Never ever ever open her carrier at a rest stop. You definitely do not want to lose your cat in an unfamiliar place, especially an unfamiliar place near a highway. Just put some puppy pee pads in the bottom of her carrier; it's much better for her to have to soil her carrier than for her to get lost because you took her out to use the litterbox.

Make sure any kids (and adults) who are traveling with you know this too. Use zip ties to fasten the door closed if they're too young or too naughty (including the adults!) to listen.
 
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Meow24

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How is she otherwise in the car (like to vet, etc)? Most cats are not fans of travel and the vet might give you something to calm her down for a while, but... two days? Is there no one who can come in to feed her, or take her in, etc?
Is this for a trip, a move, etc.?

I wouldn't take a cat on a weekend trip, but if you're moving of course it can't be avoided. For a longer trip, this would depend on the cat's general toleration of travel. How does she act when you take her in the car for vet visits? Can you find a good catsitter?

Things to know:
The cat needs to be up-to-date on rabies vaccination to cross state lines. They don't stop you at the border to check but if you get pulled over they WILL ask for the cat's papers. So make sure you have her rabies certificate readily available.

If possible, have your cat microchipped ASAP, and of course register the info right away. Most shelters will do same-day microchipping, just give them a call to ask about their current policies. Also have her wear a breakaway collar with an ID tag that has your cell phone number on it. Maybe even a second breakaway collar with your cell phone number written on it in permanent marker, just in case (they're cheap in bulk on Amazon).

Always keep a closed door in between your cat and outdoors---NEVER open the cat's carrier while the car or motel room door is open. Pop the cat into her carrier or the bathroom if you have to open the motel door. Never ever ever open her carrier at a rest stop. You definitely do not want to lose your cat in an unfamiliar place, especially an unfamiliar place near a highway. Just put some puppy pee pads in the bottom of her carrier; it's much better for her to have to soil her carrier than for her to get lost because you took her out to use the litterbox.

Make sure any kids (and adults) who are traveling with you know this too. Use zip ties to fasten the door closed if they're too young or too naughty (including the adults!) to listen.
Are you moving to a new home or in a situation where the cat is better off coming with you? To answer your question, it might be distressing, but you could ask your vet if any type of medication might help. You will be stopping at a hotel, so there is a break. If this is a trip that you could make without her, and if you have a good cat sitter who could care for her, it might be best to leave her home. A lot depends on why you are making the trip....not that you have to tell us the specific reason.
Thanks for the replies! It is at Christmas time. I'm her "grandma" but she lives with our daughter in Sydney. We haven't seen either of them for a long time due to covid and our daughter really wants to be home for Christmas. Nobody can watch her cat in Sydney due to having their own animals plus we really want Puss here with us (She's a member of the family to us 😊🐈⬛❤). I did wonder about medication or sedation for such a long drive.
 

lucyrima

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Definitely ask the vet - I need to use something (for cat, not me :) just to take mine to the vet - by the time we've gone two blocks in his carrier (well, he's in it :) he's close to throwing up and does do it soon after.
 

vince

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Grandma did have a little poodle that didn't travel well. The vet prescribed 1/4 tablet of Dramamine and it did the trick. I've heard Dramamine is sometimes prescribed for cats with the same problem. Ask your vet.

When I was young, we used to take the cats on vacation with us (we had a trailer). They complained for about a half-hour every morning, then settled down and slept most of the time. We'd stop and let them use the box every few hours (generally every time we took a break), give them some water and let them eat, although we'd not give them a whole lot of food while on the road. We'd put them in the trailer with their box and water if we were going to be stopped for any length of time so they wouldn't overheat. They did just fine with that arrangement, and we never had any reason to sedate them.
 

crystal dawn

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As long as the cat tolerates the car well and isn't left in the car overnight and given plenty of opportunities to eat drink and use the litter box and just walk around while it's not recommended, it's not really cruel.
 

GoldyCat

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Thanks for the replies! It is at Christmas time. I'm her "grandma" but she lives with our daughter in Sydney. We haven't seen either of them for a long time due to covid and our daughter really wants to be home for Christmas. Nobody can watch her cat in Sydney due to having their own animals plus we really want Puss here with us (She's a member of the family to us 😊🐈⬛❤). I did wonder about medication or sedation for such a long drive.
How long is the actual travel time each day?

Since it's not until Christmas your daughter could work on acclimating kitty to longer drives, going out for an hour or two just driving around not going to the vet.

I prefer not to medicate my cats even for long trips. You can get Feliway or something similar in a spray bottle. Spray the inside of the carrier and make sure it's completely dry before putting kitty in (about 1/2 hour).

How much room is there in the vehicle? If your daughter can get a wire cage in she could put a bed, small litter box, and a little dry food in it. Water is trickier because it generally gives kitty a bath instead of a drink. Just be sure to have a towel or blanket to put over the cage to block the sun and give her a little privacy.
 

mewlittle

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How long is the actual travel time each day?

Since it's not until Christmas your daughter could work on acclimating kitty to longer drives, going out for an hour or two just driving around not going to the vet.
I was going to say the same on what Goldycat mentioned :)
 
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