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How to move a Big Mean Kitty?

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  • How to move a Big Mean Kitty?

    DH and I are moving from NC to CO and honestly moving the horse is going to be easier than moving big mean kitty. Tsali is 10 years old and we've lived at our current residence almost 7 years. She used to be completely indoors, but long story short, she demanded to be an outdoor kitty about 5 years ago. We gave in, let her out and she made a complete turnaround... our neighbors frequently comment on what an beautifully sweet kitty we have. Who? You mean Satan's spawn? Really? But it's true, she is much happier outside... on HER terms.

    She can be very mean when things don't go her way. The vet has to have the iso box ready at the door when I walk in. She's a 4 star kitty on a scale of 5. Unfortunately that isn't a good thing.

    We are planning to drive out with my truck/trailer full of stuff and a Penske towing our Jetta. So what do we do with Tsali?

    Options so far:
    1. Large Dog Crate. Food, water, litter box in backseat of pickup. Do not open crate on trip except to feed, scoop box. Pray I don't kill her (or one of the dogs eat her) on the trip for meowing the entire time.
    2. Fly. Take her to the vet and board her for a few days until we arrive in CO. Have MIL retrieve Tsali from the vet heavily sedated and then drop her off at the airport. We pick her up on the other end.

    Either way, this is not going to be pleasant. So, WWYD with a big, mean opinionated kitty?
    Dreaming in Color

  • #2
    Flying a sedated cat is not a good idea.

    I think the large dog crate option is the best one. Pack ear plugs. Can you maybe get her used to the idea before you move? Start putting her food in there or something?


    • #3
      I would not send her by plane. Set up the big crate like you describe, and see if you can get some tranquilizers for the car. Test the tranqs first! Some cats don't react well to them.
      I realize that I'm generalizing here, but as is often the case when I generalize, I don't care. ~ Dave Barry


      • #4
        I would get a calming supp for her for the trip itself. No flying for the kitty. Also get a large and dark cover for the crate, enough to where no light will come in, that has a mild calming effect on them. Stick favorite items in with her, not anything you dont want shredded however. Stuff that smells like herself, or you/her fav. person.

        good luck.
        Did you know, today is yesterdays tomorrow and what you would leave for tomorrow you should do today?
        I am pro-Slaughter


        • #5
          Big crate + tranquilizers and she will be fine = )

          I took my cat on a couple of overnight length driving trips (13-18 hours), and he was great with some tranquilizers, haha. He's pleasant enough to let out for litter box needs, so he just went in his regular cat carrier and I let him out for little box breaks when I stopped for gas.

          If you have room for a big enough crate that you can put litter, food, and water in it, I would consider leaving her alone in there until you get to your destination. Is this going to be a two leg trip? Or will you do it all at once? She might like to stretch her legs if you are stopping at a hotel for the night, but who knows. Cats can get pretty stressed during travel, so she might be very happy to have all her stuff in a nice cozy crate and not have to deal with anything else.

          My cats sometimes do better if we cover their carriers from time to time.

          But DEFINITELY talk to your vet about tranqs. I've traveled with and without, and it's a lot better with, haha. And testing them first is a very good idea.


          • #6
            As far as tranqs go, the prescription ones can be dangerous, but our vet recommends Dramamine. Granted, mine was easy in the car, but I would definitely recommend a half a pill of Dramamine per day in the car.


            • #7
              I would go for the big crate and make it so she can see you. Most bad shippers like to see their people when they travel. Be warned, some cats yowl when you travel, most do shut up once you are moving but start up again when you slow or stop. Get her used to the crate before you leave, and make sure it has a solid bottom and line that with something disposable (cheap towels from a dollar store) so she doesn't slide around. Do NOT ship her alone on a plane, many people have gone to pick up their cats (small dogs too) and got a dead pet back.
              Founder of the Dyslexic Clique. Dyslexics of the world - UNTIE!!

              Member: Incredible Invisbles


              • #8
                Second the big crate and covering, but let her be able to see you. If you'd like to give her more room, try a large ferret hammock type thingie. We use them
                in large crates and kitty wire condo's for condos. Certain type of shower curtain
                clips will work to attach to the sides. Satisfies getting them to the top of
                their space, also away from the food. water and litter box.

                If the howling doesn't stop, can you leave a space in your trailer's dressing room for the crate (provided it's ventilated) or the Jetta to move her to. That's
                based on traveling by night when it's cool, assuming you're driving at night to keep things easier on the horses during summer weather.

                We had the luxury of moving the winter and a truck with a shell with sliding window in the shell and rear window of truck cab. DH stuffed foam around the opening so we could leave the window's open and let heat get back there. We had 3 cats, two pals in one large dog crate and one by herself. Keep them
                partially covered.


                • #9
                  Large crate. also Feliway spray can help a bit.


                  • #10
                    I'd opt for driving. Flying a pet can be very dangerous with the extreme temperatures of summer or winter.

                    Read too many stories of pet carriers being left on the tarmac too long and pet expired due to the heat...
                    MnToBe Twinkle Star: "Twinkie"

                    Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!


                    • #11
                      Also agree on the crate on the road. Have done my share of flying with dogs, and lots of car travel with both - between New York and Maine almost weekly for over 3 years. Too much can happen flying, and now you can't always accompany your pet on the same plane. So the logistics can be a nightmare.

                      Experimented quite a bit with Ricky the Maine Coon cat in the SUV. He's not nasty, but hates travel. Although our trips last only about 6 hours. This probably won't work for you, but we found he travels best in a smaller plastic enclosed dog crate. He howls much less often when you a)cover his crate so that he doesn't have to look outside at the crazy world going by, b) have him in the front seat, c)do not feed him the morning of the trip - in 6 hours he has never required the litter box, and d) keep it under 75 mph, even 70 (lower if the roads are rough). SO is a lead foot, and seriously, Ricky will start howling over 75!

                      Good luck!
                      But he thought, "This procession has got to go on." So he walked more proudly than ever, as his noblemen held high the train that wasn't there at all. H.C.Anderson


                      • #12
                        There's an easy solution. Put her in the vehicle you aren't driving, and then you probably can't hear the howling except at rest stops. And your DH will forgive you someday after his hearing comes back (maybe forgive you).

                        Actually, I'm sure there will be some initial howling, but will probably stop after a while. The first few hours will be the worst. I disagree with the covering idea though, since I worry about air conditioning air flow if the cage is covered. I like the ferret hammock idea though. Does kitty get stoned on catnip? A drunk cat might travel better.
                        You can't fix stupid-Ron White


                        • #13
                          Have you thought of Pet Airways? They fly the pets in the cabin not in cargo!

                          I, too, have a yowly cat. I've found that for a 3 hour trek, he's best if he's in the back seat. If I interact with him a lot (or at all) he starts up again. Also, though I know this isn't the safest thing to do, I let him out. He'll make a tour of the car and hop back in his carrier. Tour the car, hop in. Rinse and repeat. Super funny to see other drivers' reactions to his furry head watching out the window!
                          Forward momentum!


                          • Original Poster

                            Thanks everyone! Unfortunately Pet Airways doesn't fly out of RDU.

                            Tsali used to travel loose in the car with DH and I all the time back and forth between our apartments in college and then would go home with DH on holidays. Then she hit 3, and became the big mean kitty almost overnight. She's no stranger to tranqs so no issues there. I'm just concerned about piling her on the journey... i.e. I'd like to put her in the crate and not mess with her again until the end of the trip. I think that will be easiest on her.
                            Dreaming in Color


                            • Original Poster

                              Originally posted by JanM View Post
                              There's an easy solution. Put her in the vehicle you aren't driving, and then you probably can't hear the howling except at rest stops. And your DH will forgive you someday after his hearing comes back (maybe forgive you).
                              LOVE IT.
                              Dreaming in Color


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by drmgncolor View Post
                                She's no stranger to tranqs so no issues there. I'm just concerned about piling her on the journey... i.e. I'd like to put her in the crate and not mess with her again until the end of the trip. I think that will be easiest on her.
                                Will she take the pill if you put it in a Pill Pocket?
                                If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.
                                Desmond Tutu


                                • Original Poster

                                  Originally posted by Louise View Post
                                  Will she take the pill if you put it in a Pill Pocket?
                                  Good question, Louise. I'll see if she will.
                                  Dreaming in Color


                                  • #18
                                    My cat eats pills pretty well if I put it in some cheese (Velveeta seems to be preferred and smooshes around the pill nicely). I think for some of them, it's also fine to crush them up and mix them with something tasty (check with your vet), which I often find easier than the cheese.

                                    I had to re-dose my kitty during a trip, and I'm pretty sure I just mixed a crushed pill with some wet food and let him eat it after the first one was expected to wear off.

                                    My cats are DEFINITELY best when I don't interact with them. They will quiet down eventually but will immediately start yowling again if I so much as answer the phone or try to sing along with the radio... Tranquilizers minimize this muchly, haha.

                                    Also, with covering, as long as the car is a reasonable temp, it's likely to stay fine in there (especially since it sounds like you're using a nice big crate). You can check every now and again, or just use a cover that still provides some airflow. We also sometimes leave the front part uncovered partially to where air can get in, but where they're still staring at something that mostly blocks their view of anything too exciting.


                                    • #19
                                      I got a crate that would fit in the back of my truck. I put my two cats in it and an litter box. No food or water but would offer it. They only eat twice a day any how and would offer water at stops. Actually I think I have a gerbil waterer thing. They didn't use it of course. The one I thought would be good wasn't and the one I thought would be a mess wasn't.

                                      I used rescue remedy and it worked. My big orange cat would be meowing with me and I would squirt it in his mouth. Must say it worked and made him shut up.

                                      We travelled from CO to FL with 2 overnight stops. We brought them in then and let them stretch their legs overnight etc.

                                      They didn't love it but they survived.

                                      I have a big dog wire crate, so they could see my mom and I. I believe I did put a towel 3 sides of it so they would feel safer.

                                      My big cat hated the car after that. We are getting ready to move about an hour away at the end of July, so he will have to move then. I will probably throw him in just a normal carrier or just hold him for the brief journey.
                                      I love cats, I love every single cat....
                                      So anyway I am a cat lover
                                      And I love to run.


                                      • #20
                                        I will say that I have been happy flying with my kitty clear across the country - once separately (Continental is good about putting them in an air-conditioned van if there's going to be a long layover), once on the same plane - but it sounds like your kitty is better off going the low, slow route. Sedated kitty + airplane = higher chance of dead kitty.

                                        I would set up the large crate NOW and start feeding kitty near it, then in it. I used to have to shove my cat in the crate, but I fed her in it for about a month and she now thinks it's the bees knees. I use a zip tie to secure the door open when we're at home and she uses it as her cat-cave. For a trip, I just have to put her down in front of the door and she walks in and sits down.

                                        Current kitty is a reasonably good traveler as long as I keep her in practice, but I used to have a cat who made me contemplate felicide more than once - think LOUD and PERSISTENT (although she was slightly quieter once she made herself hoarse). The more I turned the radio up, the louder she meowed. The longest trip we made together, which was still only an hour, I gave up and let her out of her crate partway through since she was being so distracting (I know, bad). She wedged herself behind the seats on the platform against the back windshield for her continuous serenade, and she did slow down around minute 45, only caterwauling to the occasional passing car. Fortunately/unfortunately, that was the last trip she ever made.
                                        The plural of anecdote is not data.
                                        Eventing Yahoo In Training