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Travelling with a cat.....what do you think? Update!

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  • PDDT
    started a topic Travelling with a cat.....what do you think? Update!

    Travelling with a cat.....what do you think? Update!

    I have an older cat who is around 12 years old - he adopted us so we are not certain of his exact age. He has IBS. We have tried lots of different foods and have found one that for the most part he digests well. We have a lovely cat sitter who is very fond of him but when we go away he gets projectile diarrhea. We are going away for a week this month and I am worried about putting him through that for a whole week.

    He has had lots of tests at the vets and they are stumped as to what is causing the diarrhea so we are all happy that the food seems to help.

    We are renting an Airbnb for a week that is pet friendly and are taking our dog. We are thinking of bringing the cat too. We have never travelled with a cat because I always think they are more comfortable in their own homes. But in this case I am wondering if he would be happier coming along with us.

    Has anyone done this? How did it work out?

    I thought we could buy a good sized cage for the car so he can move around a bit on the drive. He is a large kitty - over 20 lbs so he would need more of a crate than a carrier. He has never travelled much in the car - just to vet visits so if we do this, should I do some practice runs?
    Last edited by PDDT; Sep. 2, 2019, 07:29 PM.

  • TC3200
    replied
    I've found that my cats trust me and take cues from my behavior and body language. If I get tense, upset, or hyper when traveling, they will think there surely must be something threatening to worry about. But if I'm calm and relaxed, they observe me and act quiet and patient, if watchful. Just like having a horse, haha. And I've found that even the worst cat traveler will wear itself after 2 hours of craziness and will finally shut up and go to sleep.

    Leave a comment:


  • Lucassb
    replied
    Glad the trip worked out so well!! You have given me some hope that when we head south this winter, our cats will be OK coming with us. We will be away too long for me to feel ok about leaving them with a sitter but although our 2 don't have any particular health issues, I was still worrying about the stress they would have going to a new place for a month.

    Leave a comment:


  • candyappy
    replied
    What a wonderful update. I am sure it made your vacation much more pleasurable knowing he was healthy and happy with you

    Leave a comment:


  • CanadianTrotter
    replied
    Originally posted by PDDT View Post
    Thought I would update on what we did.

    I consulted our vet who said we should take him rather than risk him being ill with the cat sitter or leaving him with them for a week. She suggested 1/2 dose of baby Gravol for the journey. We bought him as large a crate as would fit in 1/2 the back seat - so it was 30"x22". He slept most of the journey.

    He was fine at the apartment we rented. A bit miffed for the first few days that he couldn't go outside. We have a large, fenced patio at our condo where he can safely go out and enjoy the sunshine. But he adjusted to that.
    He seemed, as much as you can tell with a cat, to be really glad to be with us and when he had enough of us, he crawled into his big crate for a snooze.

    He didn't have diarrhea once!

    It could certainly have gone the other way.

    Many thanks to everyone for our input.
    Glad it worked out for you and your cat.

    If I have to travel and stay away from home I would need to take Ralph and possibly Ella with me. The other four could stay home without me with a pet sitter coming in no problem.

    Leave a comment:


  • Zu Zu
    replied
    Great update ~ so glad the trip worked out for all !

    Leave a comment:


  • PDDT
    replied
    Thought I would update on what we did.

    I consulted our vet who said we should take him rather than risk him being ill with the cat sitter or leaving him with them for a week. She suggested 1/2 dose of baby Gravol for the journey. We bought him as large a crate as would fit in 1/2 the back seat - so it was 30"x22". He slept most of the journey.

    He was fine at the apartment we rented. A bit miffed for the first few days that he couldn't go outside. We have a large, fenced patio at our condo where he can safely go out and enjoy the sunshine. But he adjusted to that.
    He seemed, as much as you can tell with a cat, to be really glad to be with us and when he had enough of us, he crawled into his big crate for a snooze.

    He didn't have diarrhea once!

    It could certainly have gone the other way.

    Many thanks to everyone for our input.

    Leave a comment:


  • DinkyDonk
    replied
    When we moved from the Chicago suburbs to WY, my old vet gave me sedatives for our 2 cats. Once dosed, both kitties just went to sleep in their carriers, and woke up once we were in our motel room where they ate, drank, and used their litter boxes as normal. They handled the car ride just fine, but were a bit confused being in a new house.

    Leave a comment:


  • CanadianTrotter
    replied
    Originally posted by PDDT View Post
    Thanks for everyone's suggestions. I think I am liking the vet idea too. He would have support if he got dehydrated and sometimes he needs help keeping his backside clean - they would look after that really well.

    Poor kitty - I don't think there is a really great suggestion for him other than us not going on vacation - and this is partly a work trip so that isn't going to happen.
    It's a hard decision to make and only you know what's best for your kitty.

    Too bad I'm not still in Hamilton, I would have boarded your cat at my house in his own 10x10 room.

    Leave a comment:


  • Simkie
    replied
    I'll put in a vote of dissent for boarding at the vet. Unless your vet has a full fledged boarding business, they're unlikely to be set up for low stress cat boarding (like with cage free options) and keeping a 20# cat in a small cage in a chaotic veterinary environment is pretty much guaranteed to trigger every stress response your kitty has. One of my vets once told me that hospitalizing an animal is like being in the hospital yourself, in a foreign country where you speak none of the language, and I think that's a great way to think about it.

    But perhaps you can ask your vet if any of the techs do pet sitting on the side. A tech should have a very good grasp what NO TREATS means, and also be able to judge if veterinary intervention is required if diarrhea does strike.

    Leave a comment:


  • Brown Derby
    replied
    Ask your vet if it would be okay to bring a towel or something with your scent on it for kitty to snuggle. And if it would be okay to bring some of "his" litter. Unlikely because of concern about pathogens, but worth asking.

    Leave a comment:


  • PDDT
    replied
    Thanks for everyone's suggestions. I think I am liking the vet idea too. He would have support if he got dehydrated and sometimes he needs help keeping his backside clean - they would look after that really well.

    Poor kitty - I don't think there is a really great suggestion for him other than us not going on vacation - and this is partly a work trip so that isn't going to happen.

    Leave a comment:


  • Chall
    replied
    My cats loved riding in cars. Loose, going from one window to the other side, into the back to stand up and look at the scene and cars behind them.
    When one got very old, I’d drive around the block (their “territory”) with the windows completely down, and she stick her nose out and inhale familiar smells happily.

    Leave a comment:


  • enterata
    replied
    I like the boarding at vet idea. Also, it would seem the vet could recommend some meds for this problem.

    Leave a comment:


  • furlong47
    replied
    Honestly, if this was my cat I would probably board at the vet for the week. Sounds like cat will get stressed out and go into projectile poop mode no matter what you do, and they are most equipped to deal with this including supportive therapy such as fluids if he needs it. Then you don't need to worry about making a mess of the car and AirBNB or needing the sitter to take care of all that including possibly going to the vet anyway if he gets dehydrated from days of diarrhea.

    Leave a comment:


  • PintoPony
    replied
    Good decision to leave kitty at home.

    When I read your podt my first thought was "I can't even imagine having to deal with crazy cat diarrhea in the car!" That's the sort of thing nightmares are made of!

    Leave a comment:


  • Simkie
    replied
    If he gets into the box but overshoots, I'd give him a bigger, deeper box. Hell, you could have a kiddie pool for him.

    Liquid Imodium is easy to add to wet food. Does he eat any? Wet food is so much better for cats in a lot of ways.

    Figuring out if his poop is truly stress or because the sitter is being sneaky with treats would be good...having someone else watch him for a night or two would be interesting!

    Leave a comment:


  • PDDT
    replied
    Yes, if I were a cat I would rather stay home too. Sigh...…. I don't disagree with what you have posted - that is my belief too and why I have a cat sitter. We have just never left him for more than 4 days and I am worried what 7 days of diarrhea will do to him.

    So - I guess I need to strategize the best way to help him while we are away.

    We don't do anything special to level set him when we get home. He is generally back to normal 1-2 days after our return. I'm glad you asked that, because it gets me wondering. We give him nothing but his food. I keep a container of the kibble downstairs so that if he is looking for a treat I give him a few pieces of kibble. I wonder if my petsitter is giving him treats? I have stressed that he gets none, but maybe she thinks all natural treats won't hurt him?

    I have tried pumpkin unsuccessfully and the vet did give him an anti-diarrheal medication during one bad episode. It got him regular but I had to burrito roll him to get the pill in him. He weighs 25 pounds and he is a pretty tough cookie in some ways - a street cat that adopted us. I didn't know you could give cats Imodium! But how to get it in him. Feliway doesn't seem to help him either. I'm so happy that his kibble (Hills I/D) keeps him regular and he will eat it.

    As to cleaning - he is such a good boy - he always makes his litter box, but often overshoots. He was having trouble getting upstairs in time and found the cleanest spots to go on (scatter mats) so we got him a downstairs litter box which he uses. I will just place it on some green garbage bags covered by newspaper. Should work.

    So - I will make an appointment with our vet to see if there is anymore support they can recommend - poor kitty, I just hate to put him through this while I have fun.

    Thanks for helping me think this through.

    Leave a comment:


  • Zu Zu
    replied
    If I was a cat I would rather stay home.

    If I was a cat with IBS I would really rather stay home.

    * just work on supporting the cat sitter with non-toxic clean up supplies

    Enjoy your vacation !

    Leave a comment:


  • Simkie
    replied
    If you want to try this, a test run would be prudent. Perhaps to a nearby relative's house?

    It seems extremely unlikely that the stress of moving house for a week wouldn't cause digestive distress if the much smaller stress of having his people go away kicks in his diarrhea.

    I'd look to other ways to manage his poop while the pet sitter is watching him. Pumpkin? Steroids? Prozac? Imodium? How do you level set him once you get home?

    Leave a comment:

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