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Long car journey help needed

Discussion in 'Cat Health and Nutrition' started by Cat Keeper, Jun 10, 2021.

  1. Cat Keeper

    Cat Keeper PetForums Newbie

    Jun 10, 2021
    Likes Received:
    Hello, I'm new and just after a bit of advice.

    I've just been offered my dream job after 2 years of trying but it unfortunately means relocating 5.5 hours away.

    I have two cats who I will be bringing with me but looking for advice about the car journey as they both get very stressed in carriers.

    I am considering buying a play pen and somehow attaching my cat carriers to this so that they can have a litter tray in that but then still have their own space. I know not to give them food 2 hours before the journey and I am seeing my vets next week for some advice on giving them some sedatives possibly for the journey.

    Also wondering if it would be less stressful for them if I bought harnesses and clipped them into a seat? Gives them a bit more freedom but neither of them are harness trained.
  2. spotty cats

    spotty cats PetForums VIP

    Jul 24, 2012
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    5 hours isn't a very long journey. I would not sedate cats for travelling.
    Most will not use a litter tray en-route, using regular carry boxes is fine with no play pen needed. Some cats like the carrier covered, and soft classical music to help calm.

    A harness offers no protection if you get into an accident, cats should be securely contained in a strapped in carry box.
    Lurcherlad, gskinner123 and Maurey like this.
  3. gskinner123

    gskinner123 PetForums VIP

    Mar 10, 2010
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    As someone who drives cats over long distances for work, I would personally try the opposite approach.

    Cats that are close companions travel better together so do that if you possibly can. In our experience of cats who stress when travelling, a dark, very enclosed carrier is best, that is secured to prevent as much movement as possible.

    I don't know how long you have before your trip but it would help enormously to get the cats accustomed to what they're going to travel in, by leaving the carrier in their space at home, and either building up to feeding them in it or putting favourite treats inside on a daily basis. If you've the time, very short trips in the carrier, in the car are a big help.

    We've found that the more space they have and the more they're able to see things 'approaching'/moving past at speed through the windows the worse they are. It also helps, if you possibly can, to set off late and make your trip overnight.
    OrientalSlave and Lurcherlad like this.
  4. lorilu

    lorilu PetForums VIP

    Sep 6, 2009
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    Please, never sedate a cat for travel. It is extremely dangerous. Sedatives slow breathing and reduce heart rate, and can cause agitation and increase stress. No sedatives, no harnesses, no big spaces or litter boxes.

    Just put them in their carriers, (put a towel on the bottom) each in their own, not too much space because you don't want them sliding around when you go around curves or over bumps, strap the carriers in and drive. :)

    They will hunker down and get through it. If they holler, at least you know they are okay. I recently moved and while the travel part wasn't all that long, the cats were in their carriers for 6 hours straight. That's how I kept them safe during the moving, each in her carrier and shut in the bathroom until all the moving was done, then I drove them to the new house, where they had to sit in their carriers for another half hour or so until everyone who was helping me left.

    Congratulations on landing your dream job! You will be making a better life for yourself and for them and they will get through it. This is what everyone told me when I moved and I didn't believe a word of it, I stressed so much about my two senior cats and how they would cope. They coped fine. Amazingly unbelievably fine.
    Lurcherlad likes this.
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