General chatter - Moving with cats...random question

12-01-2010, 03:51 PM
My fiance, soon-to-be-hubs, and I are moving from Alabama to Oklahoma in a few weeks. We get married on the 11th, and are moving a few weeks after. I believe we're actually heading out on the 29th, but we can't actually move into the new apartment until the 3rd.

If that isn't painful and stressful enough, I have two cats, lol.

I love my girlies, they're my babies. I'm the youngest crazy cat lady you'll meet. The Army (hubs-to-be is an Army officer) is moving most of our stuff, valuables and such will be in his truck, and my car will just have my personal suitcase and my cats. It's a small car, but it won't be loaded with moving stuff. I just have no idea what the logistics for transporting them will be. We're going to make the roadtrip in two days, I believe, and we'll be in motels on the trip and until we can move in.

I bought two cocker-spaniel sized foldable crates. It'll be enough room for them to move around in, but that's about it. I'm considering buying one big crate and put both of them in it and have room for a travel-size litterbox. They're sweet friendly cats, and they get along with each other great, but I am afraid that with the stress of everything and being crated together, they might fight. I just need to figure out how I'm going to give them opportunities to use the litterbox and such.

It's one of those things that's just going to suck, but it'll work out one way or the other, it has to. They're going to hate it, I'm going to hate it, but somehow I'll get my cats and myself to Oklahoma. I'd just like to figure out the way that will keep the three of us as sane and comfortable as possible.

Here are a few pictures of the critters who are causing so much trouble. And my legendarily huge popcorn bowl. I fill that thing up and eat it every night, haha. These pictures make me giggle every time I look at them for some reason...I guess because it's such a typical "Megan" scene. Sittin around in PJ's covered in cats and eatin' popcorn, lol. jpg jpg

12-01-2010, 03:57 PM
my trip was drastically shorter than yours (4 hrs) but what we did was keep them in seperate cages but facing each other and then they slept and just used the bathroom at our destination. so maybe you can set the litterbox on the floorboard during bathroom/rest stops, and have them free roam in the car one at a time to use it? just put a towel or blanket down to catch any excess litter, and we kept the box in a trash bag on another floorboard (helps with the smell/litter spilling). hope that helps :)

12-01-2010, 04:08 PM
I had a 16-hour trip that we did in one day - with my entire back seat filled with three cat crates - two males and a female. I had to get a sedative from the vet because of their anxiety and I tried it out on the day the movers came to set what amount I needed/how long it took to take effect, etc. That was key, so I wasn't worried as much while driving. They slept a great part of the way, didn't want to drink/eat much at ALL (they were confined to their crates - i put in water and food because I didn't want them to bolt or hide under the seat of the car and come out under my brake pedal ;) ... so since they didn't eat/drink much, they didn't need the litterbox. If there's any way you can do it in one LONG trip, that might be easier on them... GOOD LUCK. With the wedding, the move, and a "happy ever after" :) I enjoy reading your posts (and remain impressed with the popcorn bowl!).

12-01-2010, 04:14 PM
I would think the one big crate with a litter box may be better, because then they can bond together when they get scared, or have the reassurance of each other (especially since they snuggle up anyway) - as well as access to the litter box. Do you know if your kitties get motion sick? A light sedative from the vet may not be a bad idea if that is the case - or if they're anxious travelers.

Either way - they'll be just fine. I moved every single year with my pets growing up (Army officer family, too :)) and our pets always made it through just great. Expect a few days of hiding though while they destress, and figure out their new surroundings :)

12-01-2010, 04:50 PM
We had 2 cats on our move from Ohio to Virginia. Neither one liked the car so we took them to the vet when we left and had them tranquilized. It kept them happy for most of the journey. If your cats get stressed in the car, you might want to consider it or ask about it.

12-01-2010, 06:10 PM
Hey, I've been a crazy cat lady since I was four years old! You're never too young. :lol:

We took two cats on a three-day car trip from Pennsylvania to New Mexico last June -- 1700 miles. The original plan was to gate off the back of the SUV and keep both cats back there with food, water, litter, and blankets -- like a big kitty play pen.

Well, it was hot and it got really hot in the back. The AC didn't make it all the way to the back. One of the kitties has heart problems and she started panting and looked like she was about to have the big one. So we pulled into a McD's, took all our stuff out of the back seat, moved it to the back, and set up the back seat for the cats. I put the litter box on the floor and the two cat carriers on each side of the back seat. Then we blasted the AC back there. They wanted out of their carriers so we ended up letting them sleep wherever they wanted to. One spent most of the trip in the passenger's lap and the other stayed in the back seat. We just had to zip them in the cat carriers before we got out of the car anywhere (much contortion from the front seat!)

We stayed in two motels. I checked online to be sure they accepted pets and then called to double check their pet policy. Once we got there, we carried the cats, food, water, and litter upstairs. BTW, no one used the litter box in the car. They waited till we were stopped for the night.

After the trauma of shifting everything around, it really worked out well. The cats didn't fight at all. I think in stressful situations, they like having company and being near each other is comforting. I agree that the big cage might be best for your two cuties.

Don't worry too much! It's going to be easier than you think. :)

12-01-2010, 06:11 PM
I just have one cat, but when we moved we just put her in her crate, and draped a light blanket over her. (It was the summer, so I didn't want her to get over heated, but wanted her to stay clam.) It worked pretty well. We bought a travel-sized liter box, and when we stopped I would gently hold her for a little bit to calm her down, then set her in the box. She would go about her business and then we put her back in the crate. We would just scoop out the box and trash the yucky stuff, then put the box and the rest of the clean litter into a small kitchen-sized trash bag in the trunk.

I would suggest two separate crates, because although they might comfort each other, if they're in the same crate you may have to deal with one bolting out of panic while you're calming the other.

Nola Celeste
12-01-2010, 06:37 PM
We moved four cats from New Orleans to Galveston for Katrina and moved a slightly different set of four again to Atlanta for Gustav (fortunately, that was a much shorter stay!). Each cat had his or her own carrier, but we used rest stops frequently to let them move around inside the vehicle (a mini-SUV), eat a few bites if they wanted (they didn't), and use the little travel litter box we set up (most did, but one peed on a towel in her carrier instead because apparently she's pee-shy).

They made a rackety four-part harmony of misery at first, but settled down after the first half hour or so. They slept most of the time they were on the road. While I can't say that cats enjoy a road trip, they also don't seem to take them too badly.

Your girls will likely be fine in either the bigger carrier or in two separate ones, but you might find it easier to deal with two carriers. With two carriers, you can give each kitty her own space if, say, one wants to yell and the other wants to sleep.

Good luck with the move, and your cats are beautiful girls! :)

12-01-2010, 07:04 PM
I read through the post and the replies, but I may have missed this if it's been addressed. Make sure the hotels/motels you're planning on staying in are pet friendly. I know when my friend travels with her dog she has a tough time finding places that allow animals. I would think if they are close/affectionate cats with each other, one big crate with the litter box/food/blanket should be fine, but keep the smaller ones in the trunk for transporting the cats to the hotel, and to the final destination.

Good luck

12-01-2010, 07:14 PM
If you haven't done so already, get the kitties used to the crates now. Start by putting treats they like in the crate and let them go in on their own, do that a few times, then one time shut the door give another treat. Do this a bunch of times then add in small car trips to get them used to the car. You can buy a spray product called Feliway that produces calming pheromones. I usually spritz the carriers with feliway 20 minutes before they go in and the inside of the car too.

Good luck with your move!

Nola Celeste
12-01-2010, 07:15 PM
Oh, that's a really good point about the pet-friendly hotels!

La Quinta inns are generally pet-friendly and require only a small deposit. Holiday Inn Express hotels also usually have pet-friendly policies. Regular Holiday Inns vary; some want large pet deposits, others only accept pets under 50 pounds (which I'm sure your girls qualify for, heh heh!), others only accept pets in carriers.

12-01-2010, 07:32 PM
Be prepared for the possibility of them driving you absolutely crazy. My cat howled for the entire 5 hours from Athens to Nashville (save the 5 min he fell asleep until my phone rang and he started up again). Definitely keep them in a carrier though if they haven't been free in the car before. My sister let my mom's cat out of the carrier in my old car and he was so scared he peed EVERYWHERE! I found at least 7 pee spots and tried everything with no luck to get the smell out.

12-01-2010, 08:27 PM
I looooove the idea of letting the babies get used to the crates beforehand. Checking on petfriendly hotels is good too. Your little girls are gorgeous and so are you!

12-01-2010, 11:45 PM
When hubs & I first moved in together..we drove from AZ to WA with just one cat, and that was terrible. She cried so much she lost her voice for a little bit. Needless to say when it came time to move from Washington state to Maryland with THREE cats, we were better prepared. We bought this Stress Free spray. We sprayed the car seats, and the blankets inside their carriers. They cried for a little bit..but ended up falling asleep right away!! Whenever we stopped at a rest stop..we let them out to use the little box, stretch, & eat. Then they went back & fell asleep again. Driving with them wasn't bad at all!!

The hotel part was a problem. They never wanted to get back in the carriers. One hid under the bed and stratched up the hubs pretty bad. She's a little high strung, lol!! We had to spray the carpet in that hotel room for her to calm down, lol!!

I HIGHLY recommend buying the No Stress spray!! (I believe it works on dogs too.) It's nice to use at your new place as well. I'm dreading moving again..we have 4 cats now, lol!!

12-02-2010, 11:14 AM
Thanks for the advice guys! :)

I'm pretty sure I'm going to keep them in their own separate carriers. They'll be right next to each other and able to see and even paw at each other through the mesh so they'll have company. I'm just worried that with the stress of everything they might get hissy if they were kept together that whole time. I would prefer to just do the trip in one long drive with bathroom breaks, but I was outvoted (there are a few soldiers moving in our little caravan, hehe).

I do have Feliway (destress spray) and will definitely be using it. I'm also letting them get used to their crates. It's out and they're enthralled by it, haha. I think I might even start feeding them in it. I'd like to do a few warm up mini road trips around the block or something with lots of treats and such, but they need to go to the vet for shots so that's going to leave a bad taste in their mouth about car trips no matter what.

And yes, they're both noisy. I've been mentally and emotionally preparing myself for 4 days straight of "meow....meow....meow....meOOOW"

Here are a few pictures of them in one of the crates. They're small cats, and it's a good-sized crate. I think they'll both have plenty of room if they each have their own.

12-02-2010, 03:37 PM
i love the kitty pictures! i'm totally a crazy cat girl. i've never had to go more than a few miles w/ my cat, thank god because she gets really really furious about it. definitely think separate crates are the way to go lest they take out their terror on each other.

i think you might find this amusing. it's about moving with dogs, but it's funny and cute.

good luck on your move!! and congratulations on getting married!

12-02-2010, 04:40 PM
Those are some adorable kitties in the photos!

I just want to echo what nationalparker said above: if you decide to use sedatives, DEFINITELY do a practice run with the drugs before moving day. When I was a small animal vet, I used to get panicked calls from clients who over-sedated their pets for a move and were in the middle of nowhere with a semi-conscious pet in the backseat. If you use drugs per vet recommendations it's usuallly fine, but occasionally pets will have idiosyncratic responses to sedatives that can't be predicted.

And I absolutely love the hyperbole and a half blog! The one about moving dogs is great. My favorite is "how a fish almost destroyed my childhood".

12-03-2010, 01:19 AM
awwww i <3 ur cats!!!!

12-03-2010, 07:31 PM
I drove across canada with my two cats a 5 day trip (of course I stayed in hotels along the way.) They didn't moved around much in the crates I had for them, they mostly laid there and when I stopped to rest I put them on leashes so they can come out into the wilderness. But they didn't. The only time they came out was when we were in the hotel rooms. It was stressful on me and on them cause they were like my children.

But they were fine for the 3000KM's I drove with them. Once I got to my grams I ended up giving them to her because I couldn't bare to put them back in the crates and take them on my longer journey. It pained me so needless they are in a wonderful home and the trip you are taking them on...they will be fine. :D

12-03-2010, 07:54 PM
Two years ago the Hubs and I moved from Oklahoma to Virginia with our 2 cats and our dog. I really thought it would be hard for them, and we had the one cat in a cage and the other out. But halfway through the trip we let them both out and they slept almost the entire way and barely moved. The cage was more stressful then being out of it, although they would occasionally crawl into it as long as the door was open.

Oklahoma's full of really nice people, I'm sure you'll love it!

12-03-2010, 10:02 PM
i took 4 cats in q large dog crate, BAD idea lol
let's just say when we arrived we had to wash everyone and the crate.

and the talking they will do is annyING and cute lol

it was so funny when we took 3 cats to get fixed, rawring the whole way there then angry silent treatment on the way home.

i love the kitties :)
we have 5 now.

congratulations and good luck!

12-06-2010, 03:26 PM
I moved an older cat from SF Bay Area in CA to NORTH DAKOTA! Long road haul of 5 days. I had him in his large carrier, and in the back of my station wagon, had a large crate with his litter box in it, as well as some padding.

We made the first leg short, on purpose, San Lorenzo to Reno and although offered his kitty box at every rest stop, he refused to go. 15 minutes out from Reno he was howling his head off because he needed to go BADLY and I was telling him to HOLD IT because we were coming out of the mountains in the dark and it just wasn't safe to pull over! We hit the hotel parking lot, and I whipped him out of his carrier into the crate and he did his thing in great relief, I'm sure! THEN we checked in.

After that, he'd usually howl for a rest stop shortly after we hit the road in the AM. I'd either pull over to the side of the road or find a place to get off the interstate and let him do his thing. Then he'd usually be good for the day.

HOWEVER, during the hot trek across Nevada in summer, he refused to drink on the road. And he was getting dehydrated looking during the drive, so I had to force water him with an eye-dropper and bottle. I'd have been better off if I had one of those liquid medicine syringes from the vet. But I kept him from getting sick by stopping at every rest stop and giving him water. Then he'd drink fine once we hit the hotel.

So be prepared for anything and everything is my advice!

Next time we moved, from ND to OR, he was pretty cool with the process. It was nice that he'd let me know when he needed to go.

However, now we have three cats, and they are much less mellow than my old boy was. I'm thinking moving them would be much more difficult. Especially since one is very paranoid, sees the possibility of assassination everywhere. We'd definitely have to go with the each cat in his/her own carrier route, because I think they might well fight under stress.