August is going to be stressful for my kitty (and betta fish), advice needed!
I have a wedding coming up in August (1 month and 1 day away! eek!!). Shortly after the wedding, my new hubby and I will be packing up our little Indiana apartment, renting a U-haul, and driving for 3-4 days to our new home and life in Sausalito, CA! Then after some brief unpacking, (we'll have about 4-5 days there), we will be leaving for our honeymoon, which is 13 days long. I already have a pet sitter lined up for the honeymoon trip, so that the cat doesn't have to be boarded. But I'm still worried about she'll handle the stress of moving, being in a new place, and then her humans leaving right away!
Any tips for keeping her stress free on the trip, and then after we leave for our honeymoon? I've never traveled with a cat before, and she HATES being in the car for the 2 minutes it takes to get to the vet. She also has been known to get sick whenever I go out of town for a long weekend (probably due to stress), and then gets better shortly after I return.
I'm also somewhat worried about how we'll move my betta fish without hurting him or making him sick.
I would suggest talking about the move with your kitty's vet and seeing what he/she recommends. There are sedatives for kitties but I don't know how well they work.
I am glad you have gotten a sitter rather than boarding her. Based on my own recent moving experience (not nearly so far away from former home!), I can say spend as much time with her as you can during the 4-5 days before leaving on your honeymoon. When we moved, my older cat adapted immediately, explored our new loft, spent a lot of time in my lap (unusual for her) while my younger cat spent the first 2 1/2 days hiding, not eating, not eliminating, just hiding. On the 3rd day she came round. It has been a stressful time for her and I was about to go get some sort of OTC calming thing for her (with a vet's advice!), but she got OK. I just spent a LOT of time with her, going to her hiding place, putting her in my lap, stroking and loving on her while she yelled at me (she has never been aggressive towards me, unlike other kitty), and talking to her a lot. I did not know what else to do.
I have cat-sat for friends who did not want to board their kitty when out of town on a long trip. They sait it would probably be several days before I even saw the kitty (based on the last sitter). The first night she was sitting in the armchair with me; the next night she was sitting in my lap. We never looked back.
I wish I had more advice for your and your kitty and betta fish (I used to have one of those two and when I was in England once he boarded with my parents).
I also wanted to bump this back up towards the top of the list so other people will see it and maybe be of more help than I can.
Congratulations! (Could you and hubby possibly postpone your honeymoon for awhile 'til kitty settles in? Or is it better to get all the traveling over with at once and come home to her to stay awhile?)
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Your cat is just going to have a hard time.... and will have to live through it.
See, the timing of it all won't be enough for a cat. If your cat is a cool, old-soul kind of animal who is very secure in himself/herself and in his/her relationship with you, then you being around all the time-- during the trip and in the new place-- will help. But most cats need more than a few days in a new spot, and no amount of "But momma's here with you! Isn't that reassuring enough?" is, in fact, good enough for a cat who likes order in his/her world.
Meh... my recommendation is do the best you can with the human plans you have. But be sure that your sitter doesn't let kitteh out in your new Sausalito place. The cat's solution to chaos is to get outta Dodge.
Or, and a worse idea, board your cat at the old vet for the duration of the move and honeymoon. Then have it shipped to you. This way, you give the cat a long period of a predictable life and just one day of Hell.
The vet can give you something that helps calm them down, if needed. However, we only tried that on a long trip we took and I did not like the response we got from the older cat so ended that. That cat was generally the chronic complainer on any trip but these were long days in the car and it eventually settled down. I was able to give them the back of an SUV with one of those barriers up and the option to either be in or out of their carriers. Cat #1 did not like it when Cat #2 tried to be in the same carrier. The vet said they could stay in the carrier for around 8 hours and be OK but I tried to make the trip as comfortable as I could and had food and water in the back for them too. I think they drank a little water but never ate any food en route. About half way through the second day of a four trip they began to be curious and did some sight seeing but generally, stayed in their carriers. I did not want them up front with us because they can impede your driving. And we used to have a cat that was very good at getting itself under the car/truck seat but almost impossible to get it back out. So if they want to hide, the carrier is a much better option. One I had, was a cool customer and traveled just fine, but with two, I'd opt to have them both safely contained.
I have a regimine I use and YMMV. They stay in the house they know, shuttled from bedroom to bedroom, until everything is moved out. If it's just a short, day move, they come over to the new place when the furniture is set up (Mostly) and the movers gone. That way, they are in familiar surroundings even if minus furniture and then in the new surroundings, they have all the stuff they are used to right away. They seem to adapt faster to new digs than we do, that way.
On a long trip, I take the furniture cover/mat I have and put it over the foot of the bed in motels. They may or may not choose to sleep on it but it is familiar to them. In that case, on a move out, we generally stayed in a motel the last night or two and had a family member stay with them while we dealt with movers. More expensive but I think less trouble for both the cats and everyone else and got them used to what was to come. We had to insure that both cats were in their carriers when we got out of the car at the end of the day but didn't encounter any problems as we could just open the top half a bit until we got them contained. They were good about it but that might not work for all and just keeping them in the carriers my be the better option. Any time we take them to the vet in carriers, I make sure they can see us. The one cat "back seat drives" a lot but they know we are there.
I would suggest, if you are going to use motels, that you research and reserve rooms ahead of time. Not all motels allow animals and even fewer more than one. Make sure that you let the front desk know they are not to provide any maid service for your room and that you have that sign on the door any time you go out.
But, we had two cats and they provided some company for each other although unless in situations like that, the older cat just tolerates the other one. If you had the option of getting the cat used to the sitter ahead of time, that might help.