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25-10-2020, 14:48   #1
Faith
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Advice - Long distance car trip with cat

We’re going to be moving from the UK to Ireland next month with our 9 month old kitten. It’s going to involve about a 5 hour drive to the ferry, ~4 hours on his own in the car on the ferry, and then 3 hours from the ferry to our house.

I’m trying to plan for making our cat as comfortable as possible. He has a cat carrier than he is okay with (23 inches) and a blanket that goes in it. He’s generally a fairly good traveler but we’ve only really done short distances so far. We have calming tablets and a calming spray to help him stay calm too.

I’m wondering about a few specifics. Would it be better to:

A) put him in his normal cat carrier in the front passenger seat where he can see me when I’m in the car, and have a disposable litter tray in the car. Pull over from time to time, take him out of the carrier, give him a cuddle and see if he wants to use the litter tray.

B) get a much bigger cat carrier that will fit a litter tray in it and put it in the backseat of the car and just leave him in there throughout the journey?

If you have any experience of a similar journey, I’m all ears! Equally if you have any product recommendations or advice, I’d love to hear it. I just want to make it as painless as possible for him!
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25-10-2020, 14:56   #2
Nody
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Only done 4h drives so far; I'd not bring him out simply for the risk of escaping unless you remain in a closed car. If so, then I'd consider stop on the side, bring him out from the cage to go to the toilet but keep all doors and windows closed. Depending on their personality he may prefer to sleep in your lap in the back rather than be in a cage when possible as well.
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25-10-2020, 14:59   #3
Alun
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This was a good few years ago mind you, but when we moved here from the Netherlands we brought our cat with us on the ferry/channel tunnel and two long car journeys ...

We got some tablets from the vet to sedate him during the car journeys. I drove, and my wife sat with him in his cat carrier with the top off on the back seat so she could stroke him and reassure him if he did wake up. He slept most of the way on both journeys, but we stopped half way between Kent and Holyhead and let him out on a lead and harness (We spent weeks before hand "training" him to accept this). We found a handy pub with a beer garden to let him out in.

We didn't have a litter tray at all IIRC, maybe the sedative helped in that regard?

On the channel tunnel he was in the car with us so no problem, but on the ferry we simply walked on board with him in the carrier and nobody said anything That was when the fast ferry was still running to Dun Laoghaire so it was a lot quicker.
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25-10-2020, 15:50   #4
Faith
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I’d love to have him on my lap in the back seat, but unfortunately there’s only two of us humans and we’re driving two cars back so we can’t manage that.

Nody, I’m terrified of him somehow managing to get out too! My car is small inside so manoeuvring around inside is tricky, hence thinking of just getting a bigger carrier for the journey so he could stay inside but still stretch out plenty. There’s mixed reports online of how cats feel about bigger spaces - some say smaller is better as there’s less movement and potential for sliding around, but others say it’s better for movement and stretching.

It seems likely he won’t want to use the litter tray but I’d like him to have the option all the same. He had a harness a few months ago as we got him used to being outside by using one, but he was a devil for slipping out of it when he got startled!
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25-10-2020, 16:20   #5
aonb
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I would be TERRIFIED to let him out of his carrier during the trip - imagine if he escaped!! I think just for this one day he should be confined to his carrier - at least he would be safe.

If you are going to use a new calmer that you havent used before, it might be a good idea to try it out before the big day. One of mine couldnt tolerate the calmer at all and went bonkers!

I would suggest a bigger carrier, on the back seat of your car, if you have the space - that can take the litter tray, and hope he will use it at some stage - maybe while on his own in the ferry.

Good luck and safe trip
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25-10-2020, 22:23   #6
Graces7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aonb View Post
I would be TERRIFIED to let him out of his carrier during the trip - imagine if he escaped!! I think just for this one day he should be confined to his carrier - at least he would be safe.

If you are going to use a new calmer that you havent used before, it might be a good idea to try it out before the big day. One of mine couldnt tolerate the calmer at all and went bonkers!

I would suggest a bigger carrier, on the back seat of your car, if you have the space - that can take the litter tray, and hope he will use it at some stage - maybe while on his own in the ferry.

Good luck and safe trip
My reaction exactly!

When I moved from Kerry to Connemara with 4 cats in carriers in the car? Boycat is a Houdini and escaped from the secure carrier before we had gone two miles. I had to stop to drop off the keys and was terrified he would escape.

It took six hours to get where I was going; with Boycat under my seat. I dared not even find a toilet.

Please leave him in a secure carrier and do not risk opening a door or window? They are unpredictable in new situations!

I came to Ireland way back with one of my cats. Three flights, a night in a b and b, then a train and then a car. She was fine after the first flight even though she had to be in the hold. I double tied the carrier door . She spent the night playing with the light cord..the only problem was at Edinburgh airport when they held the flight to Ireland up as no one knew how to put a cat through customs.

Cat was totally unfazed. As long as YOU are there so will yours be.

Last edited by Graces7; 25-10-2020 at 22:37.
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26-10-2020, 05:34   #7
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lol... this thread brings back so many memories! When I moved out here from Connemara with three cats... They and the dog and sang all the way... The din was awesome... So I joined in. A mere 2 hour drive!

When I got to the slipway here, I let the dog out on the lead. And Boycat erupted. The carrier door was still closed...

He vanished under the car, so down I went on my belly to winkle him out. By then he had seen THE OCEAN and was somewhat "overwhellumed".

Some tourists arrived at that point.

I told Boycat that when we got "home " he would be free as the air BUT NOT YET.. Even he has not found a way to cross to the mainland.... Yet!

It will be fine!
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28-10-2020, 15:12   #8
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big carrier which holds a litter tray & his food and a small snuggly bed. Do not open the carrier tilll you arrive leave some windows open once the cars are loaded on ferry until they are loaded the fumes are toxic. hell be fine
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28-10-2020, 15:42   #9
Baybay
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We’ve travelled regularly with our fellow since he was a few months old, short car journey, ferry to France & then a lengthy car journey south.

Because of the length of the second car journey, we feel it’s not that fair to keep him in his carrier all the time so we use Feliway spray, place his litter tray in the rear footwell & use a retractable lead constantly attached to a buckle collar, as opposed to the snap collar he usually wears. We did try a harness & lead but he wasn’t too keen on that but he is used to his collar. The setting on the lead means he’s limited to where he can roam but most of his time is spent sitting on top of his belted in carrier as he likes to see out between the front seats. Snooze time is usually on the parcel shelf.
The lead means we feel happy to open the windows to take a toll ticket for example. Or to open the door when we stop at a service area without being afraid of him bolting off into the distance. Actually he’s pretty cautious & while he will eventually get out of the car & have a sniff around (while his two humans go inside to eat in relays!) use his tray, not the grass which we always try to park beside, he then hops back up on his carrier.

Last edited by Baybay; 28-10-2020 at 15:43. Reason: Spelling
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