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Readers Respond: What was your worst mistake in travel with a cat? What would you do differently?

Responses: 48

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From the article: Travel for Cats

Traveling with a cat can be an enjoyable experience, or a nightmare, depending on how well you plan in advance. By accustoming your cat to a carrier well in advance, even an emergency trip to the veterinarian can be accomplished with a minimum of panic.

Share your worst experience in traveling with a cat. Escape from the carrier, "pee accident?" What could you have done differently to avoid this? This is your chance to help other readers learn by your mistakes. Think of this as your own "mini-article" for the About.com Cats site. Questions and replies to other posts will not be published.

Share your experience

anywhere anytime

We go everywhere, camping in deserts, forests, even cities. They use the cat box and if we sleep in the van and not the tent we are still cozy. They grew up travelling though, with a home base (that they get bored with quickly). Curious? Ride with us! http://my2catsarehuman.blogspot.com/
—Guest john

Mint Leaves

I would give my kitty a single broken mint leaf in his carrier to chew and it always does the trick. Not only is he strangely entertained, he becomes sleepy.
—Guest Jeana

practice and calm

I rehomed a nervous but intelligent female bengal. I started with box travel and after several journeys opened the box. My girl is bonded to me, not the house so we go different places. She wears a velcro soft vest with an elastic lead in the car (trixie brand - brilliant design and material**) Koko sits happily on the parcel shelf !! she only fusses if she needs the loo. Cats take a lead from our mood so relax and trust kitty. She will get there in her own time.
—Guest kokomos mom

Poops in the Crate every time

My cat can't get in a crate without needing to relieve himself multiple times. And if there isn't something to bury his waste with he gets Very upset and claws endlessly trying to complete the task. I finally figured out I could use a rodent cage - guinea pig size or so - and fill the bottom with litter. Now once he gets his business out of his system and has it neatly buried away he is much more calm.
—Guest Lina

2 cats - 30,000 miles a year -7 years

The key - be prepared. Cages, dry food, water, litter box, scoop, poop bags, puppy pads, toys, RX, cleaning supplies & patience. If you have a lockout for the windows/doors, use it. Never open the door if your cat(s) are out of the cage. Allow time for them to get out of their cage & stretch. Carry a small syringe for giving water if they refuse to drink. Line their cage with a puppy pad & a soft towel on top, cozy. Bring extra towels in case of an oops. You can wash them out @ a rest stop or park. Know that you will have a chorus in the back seat occasionally or all the time. My cats settle after about 1 hour of singing. I give them a treat then & they then relax & go into a bundle for about 2-3 hours. We try to drive when it is their normal "long nap" time. We also bring a cat condo for the hotel room that tears down easily. It adds a homey touch, something they know. We put it by a window for bird watching on a side table for height. We bring a sleep cocoon or make 1 with a towel.
—Guest Gena and Bob

what a mess

When I was much younger and didn't know about cat carriers, I needed to bring my cat to the vet. I had him loose in the car. He hated the car & got diarrhea. When I opened the door to get him, in his panic, he climbed up my shoulders & covered my long hair with poop! Luckily, I had a towel in the car, but did it reek! Never again did I take the cat loose in the car. What a mess, & I realized I could have lost him if he had jumped out. I always use a carrier now.
—Guest Marlene

travelling with Cujo

I recommend tranquilizers. Our cat started screaming nonstop and trying to eat the metal bars of his cage. He tried stuffing his face through the bars. One hour after taking a pill he was awake but quiet for over ten hours. He was fine later and ate, drank and used his box. Thank goodness for tranquilizers.
—Guest karen

From Washington to the other Washington

Whenever I travel with my cat (short or long distances), I do the following: (1) My cat gets the travel poops/pee when he is put in the crate. Use puppy wee pads to line the crate (and car, in case you let them roam) and it's really easy to clean up. Once he poops/pees, I'll swap out the soiled pad and he's fine after that. (2) Use a harness & leash. My cat "hunkers down" or refuses to really budge when he wears it so it's nice knowing he isn't going to run off on me. Also, if he does, he isn't going far. (Once he's in the crate, I remove the leash so he won't get it wrapped around him. But if I'm swapping the liner/have the door open for any period of time, I put the leash back on). (3) I know you aren't supposed to, but my cat got used to being able to roam the car once we were on the road...it really reduced his anxiety and after a multi-day road trip, he didn't mind getting shoved in the crate since he knew he'd get to come out soon. He'd sit on the floorboard or on my lap.
—Guest Shelly

My Cat Loves to Truck

I have a 5 month old polydactyl cat. Ever since we picked up from his old home he has been right at home riding on the front dash of my passenger seat. Never had to do much but make sure he had a litter box food and water. He is one of a kind I guess. He has already traveled several thousand miles with us already. My husband and I drive a truck for a living. He is truly a godsend. We just make sure no doors or windows get left open for his safety. :)
—Guest Rhonda

Learning experience

I travel with my cat all the time. She has been from utah to maine three times. I do not recommend tranqulizers because the animal doesnt understand why and what is happening. Which causes more anxiety. Also make sure you have something from home like a couch pillow or anything else, it makes your animal feel like it is in a safe place. Also make sure you have the neccessitys for your cat water food cat liter. I keep these all in the vehicle so she can use the bathroom eat or drink, i let her roam free but certain spots she cannot go and i guide her ti not go in those specific spots. I hope this helps other people
—Guest Mindy

scared for my 6 cats

I am moving from OH to AZ July 1 and I have 6 cats and I am unsure how to do this because I have everything figures out but how to move my animals. I am moving by myself with no help so I will be driving the uhaul truck and towing my car behind the uhaul truck and I don't know how to do this please someone help me with ideas quick I have 30 days before the move and I refuse to leave any of my animals behind!
—latoyamoorehouse

Traveling by car with pets

My cat HATES any kind of carrier. We will be moving from the Midwest to Florida in the next 6 months. Any suggestions?
—Guest m carter

Freaked Out Cat Bolts

Poor Ben...we were moving from Colorado to Georgia. He was great in the car, as always, so we didn't expect him to bolt for the door when my daughter went outside. When she saw him scurry out the door she screamed "Ben!" which startled him further and he just took off, running down the stairs, past the pool and into the darkness. We searched all night and half the next day, calling him, but he refused to come to us. He just ran from bush to bush and under cars and into a grove of trees and out of sight. We finally had to leave him there in Missouri. We cried for days.
—Guest Susan

Two cats champs at car trips.

I have two cats both are conditioned to traveling buy car with out carriers. It takes time to condition but once done they know what to expect when the climb into a vehicle. Start with small trips to drive throughs or quick trips when you won't be turning the cars ac off. Just take these small trips every time you think about it and in no time your cat to will love going for a ride and will do great on long trips too just plan ahead no cats to old for leaning the car is a safe place. But bring there food water box and bed or toys.
—Guest DizzyBug

Lavender Spray and Wire Cage

We traveled from Kansas City to Indianapolis, about an 8 hour drive, with our two cats. Both are rescues that were severely abused and they cannot be without each other. One cannot see very well and he cries for the other if she gets too far away. So we could not place them in seperate carriers. We used a wire medium dog crate in order to fit them both and allow for proper air flow. They cried for about an hour and then calmed down. We also used lavender spray to maintain the calm anytime they started to get a little agitated. The wire crate also allowed for better air flow and a small litterbox in the corner all though they did not use it. We also provided a cube that they can get into that they slept in. But I really feel like it helped for them to see out so they could understand the motion they felt.
—Guest Melissa

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What was your worst mistake in travel with a cat? What would you do differently?

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