View Full Version : How do you move pets (cats, actually) cross country?
05-23-2007, 03:44 PM
We're contemplating a rather large move, from MN to San Diego. We have three cats, and I have no idea how to move them, and how to do it with the least amount of expense? (And still be safe for them!)
Anyone have any great ideas? Done it before?
05-23-2007, 04:24 PM
When I have moved cats before, we put them in a cat carrier with a small litter pan, put them in the car and drive! They meow for a while and then calm down and sleep the rest of the way. We let them out in the hotel at night, let them eat and then back on the road the next morning. We have never had a problem moving cats. We have also flown with them. Put them in a carrier and go!
05-23-2007, 04:26 PM
We moved a cat and tons of tropical fish 1,000 miles. The cat was easy...just put her in the car and left. The fish were a little trickier, but they all survived :)
05-23-2007, 04:31 PM
As a previous air cargo person here... I will ALWAYS drive my pet myself!
They get flustered and there is definately a period of adjustment to the new digs. Expect some misbehavior;)
We just moved the 3 x in the last 2 years, same behavior everytime.
p.s. Pets get wierded out even when your packing to move, just par for the course.
Wait a minute! My kid's act the same way!!!!lol
Good Luck and do what's right for you.
05-23-2007, 04:33 PM
I haven't done it but my in-laws did. They consulted their vet and was given a sedative for their cat. The cat meowed the whole way (500+ miles) there even on the sedative. I suggest ear plugs for you :rotfl:
05-23-2007, 04:44 PM
I looked into several ways while trying to move our 2 dogs - 1 30lb barker & 1 90 lb bad traveler (drools & gets very nervous). The cheapest by far will be driving them yourselves. I looked into freight companies that specialize in animals & flying them. The airlines I checked had restrictions on the temps that they would fly them & times of year.
We decided to bite the bullet & DH drove them out -1000 miles w/a hotel stay. He said they did very well, eventually settled down & behaved ok at the hotel. We found several pet friendly places so that was not an issue. He did get flustered & left their dishes on the side of the road though. :sad2:
Just make sure they have up to date tags & shots if they will be kenneled when you arrive at all. Good luck w/your move!
05-23-2007, 04:45 PM
I haven't done it but my mom drove from Vegas to San Jose last October. Apparently, the cat doesn't normally meow, but boy did she find it on the trip, and never stopped the whole way.
I have read that you should crate train them weeks ahead of time. They suggested feeding them in the carrier or giving them catnip, if they like that. They also said to do several short trips, because of course most cats only go in the carrier to go to the vet. This way they don't think they are getting shots everytime.
05-23-2007, 04:54 PM
I drove 2 days with my poor old man cat. He was 18 years old and was in remission from bowel lymphoma -- he'd been diagnosed 2 years earlier! Indiana to Orlando ... the vet gave us valium for him, but he didn't respond well to it and I should have remembered. It just made him do the same things he was doing, only slower and dopier. We found a pet-friendly motel, but he wandered all night calling, climbing up on things and falling. He was hard of hearing too, so that was pretty bad. I was up all night, following him and giving him a little tap every time he started howling.
We'd stop every few hours (DH was driving the moving van) and I would let the cat out of his cage to wander around the car, use his litter box, etc. He was riding "shotgun" in the front seat so he could see me.
All in all, he made the move very well and enjoyed six months of retirement in sunny Florida before he passed away. He was a great, punky little tabby.
05-23-2007, 05:47 PM
Swandiverpatt, wow! you just described our old man (but not in remission). He too just turned 18, hard of hearing so he howls and he forgets that he just came in and howls to go back out. He's a tabby as well. He would not do well in the car, he starts flinging himself around the cage. Dreading taking him to the vets in Sept because of this, but his rabies will be due. The vet refuses to give him the other shots, because she is afraid it would be too much for his system.
05-23-2007, 05:56 PM
I was also in the "put them in a cat carrier in the car and go" category. It worked great (IL to NV), the vet also recommended making sure I had a gallon of water in the car in case the car breaks down, etc., for the cats to not get dehydrated.
05-23-2007, 06:16 PM
We moved from Orlando, FL to Seattle, WA with 3 cats. We put them each in separate carriers with rabbit water feeders. We would feed them when we stopped and took them out in the hotels at night. The Vet also gave us Vallium for the cats so they would sleep. They all made it.
05-23-2007, 06:49 PM
Fax them to the new phone number.:thumbsup2
05-23-2007, 07:22 PM
When I was a kid and we moved, we just put the cat in the back of the station wagon and drove! Of course, it was only a few miles. My parents have a cat now who is a traveling cat. She goes from their house to their camp several times each summer-it's about a 2 hour drive. She got carsick the first few trips but does fine now. She loves to jump in her carrier! So I'd go the driving route, but go on a few short excursions before the move so they get used to their carriers and you'll get a sample of their behavior so you know what to expect.
05-23-2007, 07:28 PM
We flew our 18 pound cat from Germany to LAX. Never again. They did not service his kennel at JFK they way they were supposed to and the poor thing was starved by the time he got to the west coast.
Coming back, we put a box in the back seat with a blanket over it to make him a perch so he could see out. He preferred to be IN the box, asleep. He never used the litter box during the day.
At night, we stopped at Motel 6s (pet friendly) took in his scratching post, litter box and food bowls. Next day back in the car and off we went. never had a minutes trouble.
05-23-2007, 07:34 PM
When I was a kid we would drive to our cabin (4 hours away) with the dog and cat in a VW Bus. We would put the cat in the car in her carrier and then let her out once we were underway. If we had to stop, we would place her back in the carrier so she didn't get lost.
05-23-2007, 07:44 PM
We've moved 3 times in the past few years.
The first 2 times, the dog was in a collapsible mesh sided crate in the back of the SUV. She was fine, but excited and hyper. I kept dry food in with her, and gave her water when we stopped.
The last move, DD and I flew, and DH drove the SUV with the dog and the fish tank and coral and live rocks in the back. The dog had a bed on the seat, and we bought her a harness and a strap for a seat belt, since the tank took up the cargo area. DH said she was great that way, she could see what was going on and was happy to sit on the seat on her bed, and was belted in. :)
I'm not a cat person (allergic) but my experiences are pretty similar to the cat owners here. And I think it would cost an arm and a leg to ship them. If you drive them, they might be stressed, but you are right there with them the whole time. :)
05-23-2007, 07:59 PM
We've moved the cats from Virginia to Virginia, Virginia to Mississippi, Mississippi to Oklahoma, and Oklahoma to Washington. Plus trips from Mississippi to NJ. After a couple rounds of tossing them in their carriers, we got smarter than our howler. Bought a mid-size dog crate, cut a piece of plywood to fit for a second level, padded the second level, stuck a small litter box in the bottom, lined the sides around the box with towels and put them in. Because they were together, Wedge could smack Tycho whenever he started howling. :) I also recommend the rodent water feeder, and favorite foods. Oh, and the crate is always out where they can see it so they're comfy with it.
We've also flown them cross-country twice and it's not bad, but I don't know if I'd do it with a move, since Tycho FREAKS at the sight of packing anyway. I think if we stuck them on a plane right after seeing boxes, he'd have major issues. But it would depend on where we're moving, obviously.
05-23-2007, 08:00 PM
After you get to the new house, our vet suggested putting all the cat's stuff in one room and allow them to get acclimated to it. Cats tend to get a little stressed with the new scents in a new place... keeping them contained to one room keeps them safe while you are moving things around, etc. and keeps them more relaxed.
05-23-2007, 08:07 PM
One more thing:
Agree with the "put them in a crate and go!" suggestions - the cats will do fine! The rabbit water bottles are great, too. Gives them full access to water without spillage. The one thing I would add is to get a harness and start getting them used to it now (they can wear it around the house for short periods of time). You will want to let them get some exercise when you stop and it's just TOO easy to slip out of just a collar! We once moved from NH to NC with two cats...since we had a big U-Haul, we parked in the truck side of rest areas and "walked" the cats in their harnesses on long leashes off to the side in the grass - we made a lot of people smile with this odd little spectacle!!
05-23-2007, 11:08 PM
Because they were together, Wedge could smack Tycho whenever he started howling. :)
05-24-2007, 12:51 AM
I drove with the pup in my siggy from Gainesville, Fl to Northern WV (about a 15 hour trip) all alone when he was 5 months old. Wasn't that fun?
Kidding. He did great! I kept some dramamine on hand (His Vet said that is easier on their systems than the prescribed tranqs and would kick in relatively quickly if he got out of control.)
I put him in his harnass and rigged his leash through the seat belt where he could move around in the passenger seat, could look out the window.. but couldn't go far enough to distract me from driving. (Like getting on my lap, which is where he is anytime we drive around town)
Have you looked into harnasses? Rink did much better having "freedom" while he was safely strapped in the car than he ever does being locked up in his cage. And I personally felt more comfortable knowing he was easier for me to get to in the case of an accident!
05-24-2007, 11:50 AM
We take our cats from central Wisconsin to southwest Florida twice a year. We have a van, they get the back seat and a put an open cat carrier on the seat, a litter box on one end, food and water on the other side. There is a scramble to put them in the car but they only cry for a little while. they sit on the seat, under the seat, and occasionally on top of everything in t he back of the van, and sometimes go in the carrier for a nap. They sleep in the car at night, we crack the windows and they are fine. The vet said it was too long a trip to give them sedatives but to make sure they are hydrated. Every time we stop for gas or food, I clean the litter box. They have made the trip 4 times and we have not had any problems.
05-24-2007, 12:27 PM
You can take a cat as carry-on luggage on several airlines. You may have to pay a small extra fee. I would try to do that so it is over quickly for them.
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