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Old 01-30-2006, 08:41 PM   #1
NJLibertarian
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Moving Cross-Country With a Dog and 2 Cats

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.
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Old 01-30-2006, 09:10 PM   #2
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Re: Moving Cross-Country With a Dog and 2 Cats

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Originally Posted by NJLibertarian
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.
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Old 01-30-2006, 09:55 PM   #3
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Re: Moving Cross-Country With a Dog and 2 Cats

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. :)
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Last edited by hiker chick; 01-30-2006 at 10:01 PM.
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Old 01-30-2006, 10:04 PM   #4
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Re: Moving Cross-Country With a Dog and 2 Cats

Quote:
Originally Posted by hiker chick
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...
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Old 01-30-2006, 11:10 PM   #5
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Re: Moving Cross-Country With a Dog and 2 Cats

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 or this. 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! 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!
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Old 01-31-2006, 07:03 AM   #6
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Re: Moving Cross-Country With a Dog and 2 Cats

Quote:
Originally Posted by ADAMLSTL
Wow. A bit heavy duty.... Good luck on the trip...
I love my dog.

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Old 01-31-2006, 09:15 AM   #7
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Re: Moving Cross-Country With a Dog and 2 Cats

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!!!!
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Old 01-31-2006, 11:22 AM   #8
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Re: Moving Cross-Country With a Dog and 2 Cats

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!
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Old 01-31-2006, 12:34 PM   #9
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Re: Moving Cross-Country With a Dog and 2 Cats

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"!
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Old 01-31-2006, 12:52 PM   #10
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Re: Moving Cross-Country With a Dog and 2 Cats

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) OK...I have vented ! :D

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