Moving Cross-Country With a Dog and 2 Cats [Archive] - Honda Element Owners Club Forum

: Moving Cross-Country With a Dog and 2 Cats


NJLibertarian
01-30-2006, 09:41 PM
Hi, all. I'm going to be moving from New Jersey to Arizona in June and am trying to figure out what to do with the animals. (I'm hoping to tow a small trailer, if I can get all my stuff in without it weighing too much, and reserve all the car space for me and the animals.) I have a net behind the front seats, and the back seats up, for Hilda (my shepherd) all the time. But I can't figure out what to do with the cats. I will probably crate them in their little crates, but I am planning on getting a friend and driving as close to straight-through as possible, so how long do you think is too long to leave them in the crates without having a litterbox? Or should I put the 2 cats in a bigger dog crate with a litterbox, together, and make Hilda just squish herself in wherever she can fit? Has anyone done a cross-country drive with multiple animals? I know it doesn't help that I'm doing it in summer, but unfortunately that's when work responsibilities end and summer school starts.

ADAMLSTL
01-30-2006, 10:10 PM
Hi, all. I'm going to be moving from New Jersey to Arizona in June and am trying to figure out what to do with the animals. (I'm hoping to tow a small trailer, if I can get all my stuff in without it weighing too much, and reserve all the car space for me and the animals.) I have a net behind the front seats, and the back seats up, for Hilda (my shepherd) all the time. But I can't figure out what to do with the cats. I will probably crate them in their little crates, but I am planning on getting a friend and driving as close to straight-through as possible, so how long do you think is too long to leave them in the crates without having a litterbox? Or should I put the 2 cats in a bigger dog crate with a litterbox, together, and make Hilda just squish herself in wherever she can fit? Has anyone done a cross-country drive with multiple animals? I know it doesn't help that I'm doing it in summer, but unfortunately that's when work responsibilities end and summer school starts.

When you get gas; let them go ....:rolleyes:

hiker chick
01-30-2006, 10:55 PM
I'm most worried about the driving "straight-through" part. In case of an accident it'd be best to have them all in crates. [caveat: I drove across country in '04 in a Miata, my Samoyed riding shotgun -- but I took 6 weeks to do it]

At the least, definately have the cats in a crate so they don't freak out and get under your brake pedal. I have one of those net barriers and it would not keep a cat out of the front. It barely keeps a determined big dog in the back.

Plan on stopping every 2-3 hours (3 being the absolute max) and letting your pup stretch her legs.

WATER! Keep extra water in the car (at least a gallon -- what if the E breaks down?). If the trip is stressful on them then they will pant more and need extra hydration.

Travelling in summer you know you'll have to be so, so careful. Good that you're travelling with a friend so you can take your breaks but the animals can be watched and have the a/c on or windows open so the E doesn't turn into an oven.

VET RECORDS: Get a copy of your vet's records on all your animals. Especially carry proof of rabies vaccinations.

PET PHOTOS: In case one of them gets away from you and is lost, make sure you have extra photos that can be used to identify them. In digital media and hard copy pics.

PET ID: Make sure they all have current ID tags. When you're travelling that means a cell phone number that you can be reached at while you're on the road. Microchips would be an excellent idea, in addition to tags.

KEEP ANY ANIMAL NOT IN A CRATE, ON A LEASH WHILE DRIVING: So that you have a better chance of grabbing them if they dart out of the car when you open a door, keep a leash on them while driving. Unless they're in a crate.

CRATE FAN: battery-operated crate fans hook to the cage door, provide good ventilation and don't cost much. Worthy investment.

LITTER BOX: I almost forgot to attempt an answer to one of your chief concerns. I can't imagine driving with a litter box in the car. Yuck. Have your cats ever been on a leash? You've got time to get them used to it. A lot of people walk their cats. Otherwise, I suppose you'd have to go with a litter box. Poor you. pee-yoo!

GOOD LUCK! You are smart to plan so far ahead and thoughtfully. :)

ADAMLSTL
01-30-2006, 11:04 PM
I'm most worried about the driving "straight-through" part. In case of an accident it'd be best to have them all in crates. [caveat: I drove across country in '04 in a Miata, my Samoyed riding shotgun -- but I took 6 weeks to do it]

At the least, definately have the cats in a crate so they don't freak out and get under your brake pedal. I have one of those net barriers and it would not keep a cat out of the front. It barely keeps a determined big dog in the back.

Plan on stopping every 2-3 hours (3 being the absolute max) and letting your pup stretch her legs.

WATER! Keep extra water in the car (at least a gallon -- what if the E breaks down?). If the trip is stressful on them then they will pant more and need extra hydration.

Travelling in summer you know you'll have to be so, so careful. Good that you're travelling with a friend so you can take your breaks but the animals can be watched and have the a/c on or windows open so the E doesn't turn into an oven.

VET RECORDS: Get a copy of your vet's records on all your animals. Especially carry proof of rabies vaccinations.

PET PHOTOS: In case one of them gets away from you and is lost, make sure you have extra photos that can be used to identify them. In digital media and hard copy pics.

PET ID: Make sure they all have current ID tags. When you're travelling that means a cell phone number that you can be reached at while you're on the road. Microchips would be an excellent idea, in addition to tags.

KEEP ANY ANIMAL NOT IN A CRATE, ON A LEASH WHILE DRIVING: So that you have a better chance of grabbing them if they dart out of the car when you open a door, keep a leash on them while driving. Unless they're in a crate.

CRATE FAN: battery-operated crate fans hook to the cage door, provide good ventilation and don't cost much. Worthy investment.

LITTER BOX: I almost forgot to attempt an answer to one of your chief concerns. I can't imagine driving with a litter box in the car. Yuck. Have your cats ever been on a leash? You've got time to get them used to it. A lot of people walk their cats. Otherwise, I suppose you'd have to go with a litter box. Poor you. pee-yoo!

GOOD LUCK! You are smart to plan so far ahead and thoughtfully. :)

Wow. A bit heavy duty.... Good luck on the trip...:twisted:

SweetE
01-31-2006, 12:10 AM
Wow, great ideas hiker chick, especially the crate fan and extra water.

I have had this on my mind recently too, NJLibertarian, but not so extreme a case. I have just one cat, and am moving cross-province.

I am considering doing a large cat carrier with built in food bowls (I hate to think of a small carrier for long distances). For watering I will try this (http://www.i-pets.com/handi-drink.html) or this (http://www.petsmart.com/global/product_detail.jsp?PRODUCT%3C%3Eprd_id=84552444180 9838&FOLDER%3C%3Efolder_id=2534374302032883). My cat is not fond of, but will deal with her Hager cat leash (fits around her neck AND behind her shoulders). I will use this to take her out to do her business, hopefully she'll go in the grass (she's an indoor cat). For back up, I will bring a mini-litter setup with litter liner for quick disposal. Again, I hope she settles for the grass (now I'm thankful I never toilet trained her, or she'd be going into McD's with us! :shock: LOL).

Even with a large cat carrier for both your cats, Hilda would have a good-sized area to snooze and look out the window. No? Goodluck!

hiker chick
01-31-2006, 08:03 AM
Wow. A bit heavy duty.... Good luck on the trip...:twisted:

I love my dog.

;-)

Kebba
01-31-2006, 10:15 AM
Considering how long the journey is I think the list is spot-on. I think driving it with the dog would be pretty easy, it's the cat part that makes me a little anxious. Unless they are used to being in the car it could be a major pain in the rear.

If I were you I would try to get them used to car travel starting now. Put them in their crates and get them used to going on trips. One of my old cats would poop AND vomit within minutes of getting in the car. No matter what - we would withhold food if we had to take her to the vet (based on their suggestion). She would somehow summons her reserve poop and puke and we'd have a mess on our hands. And THAT is no way to travel from NJ to AZ.

The litterbox thing is going to be tricky .... how would both cats do in one large crate, in a stressful situation? Cause you don't want to cats getting into a fight while you're driving down the highway. Could your friend possibly take the dog or one of the cats?

I'm not trying to be a pain, just hoping to help you think through all scenerios before you depart.

GOOD LUCK!!!!

PVR
01-31-2006, 12:22 PM
Can you possibly fly the cats to your destination after you arrive?

Having travelled long distance with cats several times (and flying them twice) I would DEFINITELY not have them in the car again if I could at all help it.

A little kitty tranquilizer before the flight and they were fine after a few hours. I STILL have scars from one of the road trips!

Good luck!

tango
01-31-2006, 01:34 PM
Having done this MULTIPLE times with cats and dogs (more than one of each) and ghost writing a pet web-site I can tell you that no matter how well adjusted and docile your cats and dogs seem, when put into a new and unfamiliar situation they will do things you ever dreamed they would do. This is how cats and dogs get lost - they are freaked and frightened and just BOLT.
Unless your cats are frequent travelers you MUST transport them in a crate - one big enough for a small litter box. If you are concerned about litter mess, use shredded newspaper and change each morning and evening when you are safely inside your hotel room. Do NOT remove the cat from the crate until you have reached your final destination and placed them in a secure room with the door closed. Until then feed and water the cat IN the crate - preferably at night after you have stopped for the day. Hotel rooms are not safe - pesticides, poisons, holes in walls, under-bed supports, even open-bottom mattresses all present dangerous hazards for kitty. Do not let the cats roam in a hotel room - they will be fine in their crate.
For their safety (and yours while driving) dogs should also be crated in the car. Do not feed dogs in the mornings before traveling - evenings are best. Offer water at potty stops. When preparing to walk be SURE you have the leash attached to the dog and the collar tight enough before opening any car door. Hold leash FIRMLY - dogs do bolt HARD when frightened or excited. NEVER leave a leashed dog unattended in a car - always crate. Use the crate to confine your dog unless you are WITH then in the hotel room, a housekeeper, maint or mgmt MAY need access and if your dog (or cat) is loose in the room they are GONE. Again there are unknown hazards in travel for dogs - antifreeze poisoning, rate baits, viruses and disease. Close supervision is a necessity - even in your hotel room - again crates are SAFEST.
You are not being cruel to crate them, you are being a GOOD pet parent and transporting them safely and securely to their new home. They will be fine crated for the trip - and will actually be less stressed upon arrival. AND if you were to have an accident, your pet would not get lost in the confusion. You do have tags and collars for each pet with your cell phone number on them, right? Even cats need to wear ID while traveling.
And yes, cats and dogs CAN be given a mild tranquilizer for 2 or 3 days while traveling - if properly administered they will sleep thru most of the trip. This can be a life-saver for car-sick dogs and screaming, stressed cats. Ask your vet when you go in to pick up your pet's health records before the move.
I am sure you already know not to leave pets in a car without AC or ventilation even if it seems cool outside - and open windows are an invitation to thieves.
If you plan ahead you can make this move with your pets safe and easy for ALL of you. Happy "Tails"!

Hondamade4dogs
01-31-2006, 01:52 PM
My two dogs use to come to work with me everyday, and then on all the trips, We got the Element, so that they would have more room, It is easiest, if you crate the animals, After this last trip, I found it was easier to put Ann (Ex-girlfriend)in a crate, and leave the dogs out to ride in the seats. After me and the dogs found out she was screwing around, it was time to send her packing and off to the curb. So we took the crate and her clothes and placed them on the curb...Now we refer to her as a POS !(piece of Sh*t) :roll: OK...I have vented ! :D :roll:

Oh...just crate the cats, and let the dog move freely around the cabin ! :grin:

lae10851
01-31-2006, 02:00 PM
I like all these suggestions. I also think you shold check with your vet about a Tranquililzer for extra stressful moments. We drove from Anchorage Alaska to Santa Rosa a couple of years ago with our 3 dogs. My husband took the Shepherd mix in the UHaul and she rode shotgun and loved it (slept through most of it) , but the two smaller dogs were stuck with me in the Corolla and one of them was especially stressed.

We ended up breaking down three times thanks to UHaul and our trip ended up growing to 10 days. We had not planned this for them, but they were all especially brave. Just treat them like you would babies who cant tell you when they need to be relieved.

I especially second the collar and leash recommendations. On a day trip once, our spazzy dog decided to jump out of our car at a rest stop. He then got confused when I called him back and jumped inside someone elses car and got in the back seat! Who knows, maybe he just wanted to upgrade to a Subaru Outback, but luckily the other folks were not upset. (That was in Alaska - I wouldnt count on people being so nice in the lower 48.

Anyhow, best of luck to you. Maybe if this is going to be happening later this year you can get your animals acclimated a bit by preparing them to get in the crates now. Maybe take them on short rides and see how they do.

Amy

SopBox
01-31-2006, 03:45 PM
....

...I am sure you already know not to leave pets in a car without AC or ventilation even if it seems cool outside - and open windows are an invitation to thieves......



Thanks for mentioning this one Tango , after living in Arizona for 20plus years, I cannot tell you all the horror stories of folks who have left their children, their pets, even handicapped adults in vehicles - windows down, cracked, or all the way up to prevent theft .. all resulting in one thing - death or coma.

Average temperatures during the summer time ( May to October ) run over 105 degrees, many over 110 degrees... the temperature inside a vehicle can be much greater.

I wish you a safe drive NJLibertarian - and in advance, I welcome another E owner into the Arizona fold!

ramblerdan
01-31-2006, 03:50 PM
If the cats aren't tranquilized, bring good noise-canceling headphones for yourself, your friend, and the dog. Weeeooooorrrrrwwwaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!

SweetE
02-01-2006, 11:55 AM
Has anyone ever moved a fish before? I am moving almost four hours away, not so bad, but have to move with a Betta fish as well as my cat. Think it'd be okay in a bag with lots of extra air for that time?

tango
02-01-2006, 12:02 PM
Has anyone ever moved a fish before? I am moving almost four hours away, not so bad, but have to move with a Betta fish as well as my cat. Think it'd be okay in a bag with lots of extra air for that time?
A betta can live in a water buffalo hoofprint full of water for it's entire life - a 4 hour trip is nothing for them.
Good water conditioner with slime coat - big plastic bags (double or triple them for safety and leaks), a big jar or a tupperware bowl - any of the above will work - be sure not to get Mr Betta too cold, too hot or put in direct sun.
Good luck!

hiker chick
02-01-2006, 03:24 PM
[quote=SweetE]Has anyone ever moved a fish before? quote]


He and the cat definately should go in separate crates.

;-)

kalinka
02-01-2006, 03:39 PM
Most dogs travel well if they are used to it. We travel all over the place, sometimes the dog is crated sometimes not.
Cats are another story..

The best way to figure out if you need to tranq the cats is to put them in the car IN A CARRIER or crate and drive around for a while. If they freak out and start whining you can try to desensitize them by doing it a few times a week to see if it gets better. If it does not get better you can put all of them into a dog crate with a litter box in there and tranq them. I would tranq them rather than have them screaming and panting the entire ride.

The dogs should be no problem as most dogs are used to riding in the car. If they are not take each of them separately for lots of rides before you go. Most dogs settle down just fine and love riding. if they are not well trained crate them and if they are well trained keep leads on them while you ride but DO NOT leave them unattended at any time with leads on. I have seen dogs hang themselves in cars that way. Even in a crate do not leave a lead on the dog if you can not see them.

I would think that the dog part will be easy and the kitty part will depend on if they are cool riding or not.

Kalinka

Totin' Notes
02-01-2006, 03:59 PM
I like all these suggestions. I also think you shold check with your vet about a Tranquililzer for extra stressful moments.

Um, would the tranquilizer be for the pet or the driver? :twisted: :roll:

- Jeff

lae10851
02-01-2006, 07:56 PM
Um, would the tranquilizer be for the pet or the driver? :twisted: :roll:

- Jeff

If your vet is willing to prescribe the driver with one, I see no problem with it! :D

kung
02-02-2006, 10:14 AM
LFS guy once told me he received a shipment of Bettas packed only in wet newspaper. They survived, but he never ordered from that company again.

Juicebox
02-03-2006, 01:23 PM
I drove from Sacramento, CA out to Columbus, OH in 4 days with my 3 cats in the backseat of my car. They were all crated. They didn't need tranquilizers and were quiet the whole time. I drove for about 7-8 hours each day. When stopping I'd find a hotel that took pets. I'd let them out for the night in the room. I carried a litter box and their food in the trunk and I'd just take it all out and bring it in for them. I never had to stop during the drive or anything. It was much easier than expected. They slept most of the day. It all depends on the cats you're trying to transport I guess.

eliz
02-04-2006, 06:38 AM
Just traveled with Cat from SA, TX to PHX, AZ. FroFro was not used to a crate, but my husband put him in it a few times the month before we left to desensitize him for the trip. We got an adjustable Kitty Walk for the back of the Element and placed a kitty litter and pillow back there for him. He did just fine. We stopped and scooped whenever he used his litter. Had to be careful though so he wouldn't bolt. See my pics on Kissya's Kitty thread. Good luck and may the force be with you.

NJLibertarian
02-05-2006, 04:44 AM
Hi, everyone, thanks so much for all the suggestions. They are definitely helpful. The dog is an experienced traveler; I took her on a road trip to Chicago when we were in the car for 12 hours each way and she was basically fine. The cats are much more of a problem. The one cat is horrible about traveling and always has been. She is like the cat someone wrote about that started reacting as soon as it got in the car, before it even started moving. She throws up, pees, and poops right away even when fasted. She did this on our most recent move from New York State to New Jersey, and has done it pretty much her whole life (she's 7). Do you think she will keep this up for 40+ hours? I will definitely ask the vet about tranquilizers. The other cat gets scared but does not (so far) react in such a physical way. As far as shipping the cats by air, is it silly for me to worry because it will be summer? I have shipped the dog by air cross-country twice, and she was fine, but it was in the winter. The cats will definitely be crated and I will not open that crate door unless I absolutely have to, and then only with every door and window in the car shut and locked. I am just trying to decide between one big crate for 2 cats, or 2 small crates. They are comforted by each other so maybe a big crate would be better, but then again if the one gets sick all over everything, then I would have 2 dirty stinky cats instead of one to deal with. Does anyone think short car rides for acclimation will really help the bad cat to get better? She does have to ride in the car every so often, to the vet or for weekend trips sometimes, and she always reacts the same way, so there may be no way to acclimate her except to just get in the car and go.

kalinka
02-05-2006, 12:12 PM
She throws up, pees, and poops right away even when fasted. She did this on our most recent move from New York State to New Jersey, and has done it pretty much her whole life (she's 7). Do you think she will keep this up for 40+ hours? .

When an animal voids itself like this from all ends it is having a flight of fight response.. in this case flight. She can not keep it up for 40 hours but she will seriously dehydrate. I would absolutely tranq her. You could attempt doing short trips to see if she can desensitize but I do not give it high odds of working.
IF you would like to try this you can use a few drops of Bach flower rescue remedy before you get in the car AND Nux vomica which is a homeopathic thing (get it at any heath food store. Give the cat a few drops of the rescue remedy and one pellet of nux vomica about 5 minutes before you get in, there is no seditive effect. I would say that if you can not get the cat to relax in 3 short trips... I am talking 10 min ride max....... forget the entire thing and get a tranq pill for the trip. Find out how long they last and be sure to tranq her for the entire trip.

Dehydration for a long stretch really could be a serious health issue so don't think twice about knocking her out

Kalinka

tango
02-05-2006, 01:00 PM
Poor kitty - scared to death. I have tranquilized cats for moves before - I would tranq BOTH kitties and put them in the crate together. That way you have just one crate to worry about and they will be re-assured by each other on the trip. Be SURE they have good ventilation if you knock them out - maybe put a small battery powered fan on them if you are worried. I really think they will just sleep the whole way.
Bachs Rescue Remedy in their water does help with stress - as does spraying the crate and both kitties with Feliway - and both are all natural and they DO seem to help.
I am not a big "tranquilize them" person but I have seen and experienced for myself just how much less stressful it is for the cats who are not freaked out and sick for hours AND dealing with a move to a new place as well. Your vet should be able to give you a safe medication to make this move easier on ALL of you.
And I think it's GREAT that you care enough to take steps to keep your cats their most comfortable in this situation. Your fur-kids are very lucky!