Friday, July 31, 2009

What's the best way (for the animal) to transport a cat from Massachusetts to Tennessee?

Take an uncrowded, evening flight and carry the cat on board with you. They can fit under the seat in a soft sided sherpa bag or a plastic kennel.
That is the fastest, most secure way to go.
He will need a health certificate and it is a good idea to get him used to a harness and leash just in case he needs to be out of the carrier.
Can't vouch for these guys but here is a link to pet transport:
A car is fine, as long as it has AC and you can endure possible bathroom usage. Also, if there are multiple(3-4) LOUD people accomp. you, you may want to re-consider.
Get a Dog Kennel (Crate) Be sure to acclimate the cat to the kennel before you leave.
If you can drive the car the cat is in it will probably feel better. I was able to get a pill from my vet to help my cats sleep better when I moved five hours away. The vet recommended feeding them well really late the night before we left and a just a tiny bit the morning we moved.
One of my cats whined to get out of his cage and he climbed under the seat and slept the four out of the five hours. My 15 month old or so cat slept almost the entire time in her cage with just a few pats when she woke up. I did buy a small cat box to sit in the passenger floor board just in case. Cut open a large trash bag to line the floor, seat, etc around the box. I know it sounds really strange, but I didn't have to worry about who was taking care of my animals, etc.
A larger carrier, the plastic kind, with a small litter box with NO-CLUMP litter, small food (dry) and small water dishes.
Keep food and jug of water and litter scoop and baggies for used litter in carry-all next to cat where you can get them.
You can buy dishes that hook to the door, you can get them in the bird supplies dept. of a store, they look like a half-circle and have two hook things.
It's going to be hot?
Put the cat where she will be comfortable, use car a/c or leave windows open, it gets hot in a carrier.
The vet can give you a sedative, which really is a kindness to the may not have to use the stuff for the whole trip but in the beginning it's pretty good to have, then just see how it goes.
A harness (NOT a "figure 8", but a small harness) and a lightweight leash, plus either a microchip or collar with tags is sensible.
It's not a good idea to let the cat loose in your car.
If you go to motel at night let her stretch her legs then.
NEVER leave the cat in the car in even moderate heat!!
Remember it gets twice as hot in the carrier.
One of my cats meowed the whole day on the last day of trip, but she stayed in carrier.
If traveling by car use a large plastic airline type crate. You'd want one big enough to be able to put a small litter box in it for the cat to use while traveling. Coop cups that fasten to the crate door are a good idea too. Provide small amounts of water often during the trip. Keep the AC running while your are traveling and by all means DO NOT LET THE CAT LOOSE in the car while traveling. Also DO NOT LET THE CAT IN A HOT CAR. Pets can die quickly in hot weather while left in a car. So make food stop and bathroom breaks quick stops.
car seat-
they can look out the window
they have the freedom to sit or lay
they have room to play
here's a link to a few:
if the sun gets in their eyes you can always put a screen on the window, or just tape a piece of paper to the window to give them some shade
and as for entertainment, they can watch the scenery OR you can buy them some car toys
I suggest throwing a ball in the seat with them and getting one of those sticks with a feather on one end and a suction cup on the other so that you can suction cup the toy to the window and hang it over the car seat
this might not be right for all cats but my cat likes it
for long trips like this one I put a litter box on the floor in front of the car seat and he tells us when he wants to use it, and we offer it to him at every rest stop just in case
if you decide to do this then I suggest practicing on shorter rides before the big trip
let a relative hold your cat till you get to Tennessee and you've settled down and then when your relative come to visit they can bring your cat!
If you are planning to drive, do some test drives so you can see how your cat responds to car movement. There have been some suggestions posted in this answer section on transport. If by air, check with your specific airline, and then recheck, as things change rapidly. If by air, I have posted a link. Spraying the inside of the carrier with Feliway is often suggested, as it may calm your cat.
If by car, you need to find pet friendly hotels/motels along the way. Not sure if travel in one day is a good idea.
However, NEVER give your cat a tranquilizer. You want your cat responsive to any jolts or bumps.

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