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Tag Archives: cats

The Chaos of Travel with Pets

First off, let me apologize for taking so long to write this post. With the move things were already chaotic. Then as a favor I agreed to be the substitute librarian at an elementary school while the regular teacher is out on maternity leave. Then my immune system went bust with all the kiddos around me! Oh, and I am taking 2 online classes. So there is that.

So now, I am somewhat well and have no homework. (Actually I left my homework at the school library so have nothing I can do tonight.) Here we go.

I have wanted to write about traveling/moving across country with pets. This was probably the biggest part of the adventure. Honestly, it was something we were really worried about.

Our initial plan was to only drive one car from Connecticut to Oklahoma. We would have had 2 adults, 2 human puppies, the dane, and 3 cats all in one car. It could have been done, but not comfortably. Still, Dan and I are kind of disgusting in that we hate to be apart for any length of time so we wanted to be in the same car.

Well, that didn’t work out. I got a new car instead of just selling my old one and getting one in Oklahoma. That meant that we had more room, which was good, but we both had to drive, which was not so great. The biggest plus was that the human puppies could be split up. They were 9 and 11 when we left (the oldest has since turned 12) and they bicker ALL THE TIME. And, of course, the cats could be away from Casper. So our travel experiences were very different. I will start with Dan’s car, the one with Casper.

Traveling with a service dog is not the same as a regular pet. He is very used to being in the car, even for a long time. We did make sure there was plenty of food and water in the car. When you are traveling you don’t know when or where you can get that for your pet. We used clean seltzer bottles to carry extra water. Since Casper has a special diet it was extra important to have his food ready. We got meals ready in large zipper bags in advance. The process of getting his food ready is a chore. He has a few supplements plus allergy medicine in the morning. I had to even label AM and PM bags. Not much fun, but super convenient when we were on the go. We also put in an extra blanket for him.

Then there were the cats. That is never easy. I have never heard of a cat that likes to ride in the car. I had 2 separate carriers for them so they wouldn’t fight. I got soft sided ones for 2 reasons. 1. If there was a tight fit somewhere it could be squeezed and 2. It seems more comfortable for them.  Their food is easy. I just put it in Tupperware so I didn’t have to take the whole bag. I also had water for them just in case. The main thing was litter boxes. I toyed with the idea of having one in the car and letting them roam during breaks but wrangling them into the carriers was such a chore we decided they would not be let out until the hotel stops. (We did short days for this reason and I will get to that.) I also got some herbal supplements for them to calm and distress them. Sprit Essences is a great brand owned by Jackson Galaxy, the Cat Daddy from My Cat from Hell. There are dozens to choose from. I got one called Easy Traveler and also Changing Times. They were sprayed in the carriers every day. They still meowed while we drove, but not nearly as much as I had expected.

Because the cats would get no breaks we decided short days were in order. If you were to drive from our old home to our new home and only stop for gas and food, it takes about 26 hours. Typically I do this in 2 days. This time we did it in 3. It also gave us time to visit with family on the way. (Another post should come for that.) Still, though, this was not enough. On the first night I realized one cat peed in the carrier and it leaked all over my new car! I was not thrilled. I had to find detergent to wash the carriers and a sheet I had in the car, and then I got smart. I lined the carriers and the car under them with puppy training pads. I ended up not needing them, but at least I was safe and I highly recommend this just in case.

Finding a hotel with a service animal is easy (or should be). By law all hotels must allow a service animal free of charge. With the cats, though it was a little more difficult. We were limited where we could stay. Thank goodness for the Internet. I calculated our drives and booked hotels in advance. You should check the pet policies when you do this. The pet fee is different everywhere. We stayed at the same chain the whole time. One place charged me $75, another charged $10. Don’t try to sneak them in. They will find out. I bought disposable litter boxes. If you have never seen them you should check them out. WonderBox is one brand. They are made of recycled paper. I use them at home too because after a week or so I can just throw the whole thing out. While traveling this is especially useful. You don’t want a stinky litter box in your car and even if you dump it, the thing still stinks. I packed one a day and brought in litter and large garbage bags too so you can wrap it all up for the cleaning crew.

Then there are your stops on the way. With Casper we can go in and enjoy our time out of the car. With cats, not so much. It was WAY too hot to leave them in the car. I thought I could leave the car running and lock it while we were inside. This could have worked, but was stressful so we didn’t. I tried to get Dan to go in and eat and bring me food, but he wouldn’t. Instead we got everything to go and ate sitting around the cars. (We don’t do fast food so drive thru was not an option. (Bob Evans restaurants are a life saver in the Midwest.) It worked. We just took turns in the bathroom.

Overall it was not nearly as chaotic as we had expected. Don’t get me wrong, I am not looking forward to doing this again, but we survived. Just remember, if you have to travel with animals PLAN AHEAD.

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An Uneasy Truce

Hi Friends –

I am so excited you guys I almost don’t know where to begin.  I think you all know this, but just in case I forgot to tell you, when I came home with Dad to my new home there were three cats already here. I usually call them basement monsters for fun but I know what they are (now). The problem is they don’t seem to want me around much. I was really starting to get depressed, so I talked to Dad on the ride to work one day. That’s where we really get to talk about things, ya know. I asked why Dad thought I never get to play with the kittehs. He said maybe it’s because I’m so much bigger than they are. That made no sense at all! I’m like one human year old and the old lady cat is seventeen; she’s WAY bigger than me. Dad laughed and said that bigger and older do not mean the same thing. I really don’t see the difference, he tells me all the time how the cats sat in his lap, I sit in his lap now, so…gawwwww, whatever…Dad asked me to trust him and try the down-stay whenever I want to see the kittehs. He’s been right a couple times, I guess, so maybe. He also asked me to try and not get so excited and that might help too. Apparently my running room to room doesn’t mean ‘C’mon follow me let’s play chase?’

I thought about it while we were in more of Dad’s boring meetings at work. I figured I’d give it a try since my way really only gets me hissed at, chased away, and clawed. Guess what you guys? As it turns out Dad is pretty smart (sometimes). I started with backing up, or just stopping in my tracks because I was too distracted to lay down. I couldn’t believe it; that actually worked better than running. Since then the kittehs have spent more time on my side of the gate. The fluffy black one (Winkie/Capt. Fluffy Tail) will greet me nose to nose. This is real progress people!

Mom has even helped me make friends with Lucy (sort of). She doesn’t like me but she will allow me to be within a foot of her while she demands her breakfast and dinner. This has been a lot more difficult than it sounds. I had to start by lying down on the kitchen floor while Mom stayed close to the gate in the dining area giving the kitteh pets. Mom then called me forward; I had to crawl but we did it. I made it all the way to the gate without losing the whisker she keeps telling me I’d lose! I really feel better knowing we’ve made progress and someday I may get to be friends them.

Hey, guys, Mom just finished editing this and sent Dad an email asking if she can post the old lady cat’s (I guess her name is Lucy) side of the story. I say go ahead. No way those basement monsters can say I am anything other than fair and unbiased. Apparently they have been talking in the morning after Dad and I leave. Well, I for one can’t wait to hear this!

Hello, Humans

My name is Lucy and I am quite offended reading that the mongrel calls me the “old lady.” I may be older than him but I am as spry as a kitten, let me tell you. I can still tear his big fat nose right off that slobber face if I wanted to. (Ok. I WANT to, but the humans would be mad and it’s not worth losing a comfy home and regular meals over.)

I have been with “Mom” for over 17 years. I am her baby. Really, until recently I didn’t like any other humans but her. Sometimes she makes me spitting mad, like when she brings home new animals! I had MANY cat and dog siblings over the years. The cats are ok, after a while. The dogs? DO NOT GET ME STARTED. I just don’t like them. Why would anyone want a giant slobber hunk of stink in their home? **sigh**

She even brought home those tiny humans. They were ok at first, loud, but smelled like milk. And they were warm. And I loved that nice enclosed bed they had. That was comfy. Then they learned to walk upright and all hell broke loose. The biggest one is ok now though. She knows how to hand out some prime pets now. But I digress.

So they bring home this giant of a mongrel a few months ago and I am all like. “Oh, hell no! I am NOT even trying to civilize another one of those. They never learn. See ya! I am moving my furry butt to the basement. Bring my food regularly and clean the poop box. I am OUT.”

I thought that after a while the humans would miss my lapsits. See, I like “Dad.” He is a pretty good guy, easy to train. Every night at 8pm I would demand that he sit on the couch and I would sit on his lap for 2 hours. Exactly. If he was late then he had to stay until I had my fill. (He was also good about feeding times. I like a well regimented household.) He LOVED lapsits and I knew it would only be a matter of time before he realized it was the mongrel or me. Once he figured it out he would get rid of that, that, DOG and things would be back to normal. I forgot how STUPID humans are.

So, recently I realized I was at a crossroads. Either I spend my twilight years in the basement with no pets or I finally put on a stiff upper lip and tell the dog who is boss around here.

I started slowly. I organized my crew and we all three made an appearance in the kitchen one morning. This was no easy task. Pixie and I have a sort of truce now that we have an even bigger enemy, but since she won’t bend the knee and recognize me as queen we will never be what you humans call “friends.” Winkie is easier to sway. He is a big fat chicken, but offering him a larger portion of wet food wins him over every time. There we stood. And it worked. That dog was flabbergasted!!! I was yeowling with laughter when they headed off to work.

After that he started calming a bit and that down-stay trick (dogs are so pliable to their master’s will) gets him more on my level. Of course his head is 3 times my size, but my fists of fury will get him if he gets out of paw.

Now I greet “Dad” every morning for pets and that dog is just beside himself about it. This was totally worth the wait. Now, I just have to get my lapsits back. I am not ready to face my foe in the living room. That has become his territory and I must get reinforcements before I brave that battle. I will keep you humans informed about my progress.

Also, here are photos of us. “Mom” shares way too many of that beast and not enough of us!

tabby cat

Lucy

gray and white cat

Pixie

black and white main coon

Winkie (Cap’n Fluffytail)

 

written by DFS and LJS