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I was accepted at University of Louisiana-Lafayette and I'll be moving there this summer from Chicago with my boyfriend and two cats. I am seriously considering using a pet relocation service that would handle flying my cats from Chicago. Has anyone had any experience with these services? My cats are a huge part of my life and mental well-being, so I am very nervous. However, sticking them in a car for 14 hours is not an option for me. I appreciate any advice you all might have regarding these pet relocation companies. Thanks!

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Just now, Pink Fuzzy Bunny said:

Why not? There are plenty of sedatives available for pets for exactly this purpose.

I've tried this and my cat fights them, making himself more miserable. 

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There are pet friendly hotels. Have you considered this as an option? Maybe it would be less trying for your cats if it was a couple shorter trips rather than one long one. Past that, I would recommend contacting your vet and getting their ideas on the trip. Good luck!

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21 minutes ago, ClassApp said:

There are pet friendly hotels. Have you considered this as an option? Maybe it would be less trying for your cats if it was a couple shorter trips rather than one long one. Past that, I would recommend contacting your vet and getting their ideas on the trip. Good luck!

Yeah - I'm definitely going to talk to my vet. I feel like taking them on the road will just prolong their misery. Flying them would mean their journey would be over in 5 hours, total, as opposed to a 15 hour car ride. It'll cost me more, but I think it's worth it. As long as my vet okays them for air travel, of course.

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3 minutes ago, yayspace said:

Yeah - I'm definitely going to talk to my vet. I feel like taking them on the road will just prolong their misery. Flying them would mean their journey would be over in 5 hours, total, as opposed to a 15 hour car ride. It'll cost me more, but I think it's worth it. As long as my vet okays them for air travel, of course.

Sounds like a good plan! I might add (though I am a dog person and don't know much about cats!) that they might be more comfortable with you around, even if it takes longer. Additionally, pets don't quite seem to process time in the same way that we do, so maybe the 5 to 15 hour difference won't be as noticeable for your cats? Not sure, but maybe something to think/ask about!

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I'm driving from coast to coast with my cat, so around 55 car hours total. Here are a few things we did on our first bi-coastal move that she liked, but YMMV:

  • Get a carrier that is comfortable; she has a soft-side carrier with lots of visibility (it's a Sherpa Delta one). Place food in it each day for a few weeks beforehand.
  • Have favorite toys and objects in the carrier as well.
  • Make sure cat has plenty of food and water along the drive. We have Buster's foldable silicone bowls, and at regular intervals (rest stops), I place some water in a bowl and dry food in another. Even if your kitty doesn't want water, having it readily available is key. If cat starts panting, that's a sign of nervousness, heat, and/or dehydration; stop as soon as you can and get them some water.
  • Speak regularly with your cat during the drive. It may sound stupid, but talking to them, touching them, reassuring them can help.
  • If you can travel with another human being who can sit with cat in the backseat and help you out, it makes the trip so much easier.

I hope none of this seems obvious or stupid; I've traveled and moved several times with my 15 lbs. very VERY unstable rescue cat and we've somehow managed to figure out a way where neither of us get terribly mangled due to travel. She adjusts a little better now, and I don't have hours of wailing and scratched arms!

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13 hours ago, Cat_Robutt said:

I'm driving from coast to coast with my cat, so around 55 car hours total. Here are a few things we did on our first bi-coastal move that she liked, but YMMV:

  • Get a carrier that is comfortable; she has a soft-side carrier with lots of visibility (it's a Sherpa Delta one). Place food in it each day for a few weeks beforehand.
  • Have favorite toys and objects in the carrier as well.
  • Make sure cat has plenty of food and water along the drive. We have Buster's foldable silicone bowls, and at regular intervals (rest stops), I place some water in a bowl and dry food in another. Even if your kitty doesn't want water, having it readily available is key. If cat starts panting, that's a sign of nervousness, heat, and/or dehydration; stop as soon as you can and get them some water.
  • Speak regularly with your cat during the drive. It may sound stupid, but talking to them, touching them, reassuring them can help.
  • If you can travel with another human being who can sit with cat in the backseat and help you out, it makes the trip so much easier.

I hope none of this seems obvious or stupid; I've traveled and moved several times with my 15 lbs. very VERY unstable rescue cat and we've somehow managed to figure out a way where neither of us get terribly mangled due to travel. She adjusts a little better now, and I don't have hours of wailing and scratched arms!

This is awesome. Thank you. If we do end up sticking them in the car with us, this is very helpful info to have. I like the idea of putting food in the carrier beforehand. I plan to put a blanket and one of my pajama shirts (worn a few times) in with them, too. Poor critters. I wish I could just be a Harry Potter character and turn them into cushions or something for the ride!

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I'll be moving 2 cats from Chicago to Texas this summer and it will easily be the most stressful part of my move. I don't think I could bring myself to trust a pet relocation service and will be driving them myself. I plan to have my vet provide sedatives (I've used them before and it worked well), buy each of them an extra large mesh carrier and spray it with a cat pheromone spray,  stuff the carriers with one or two of their favorite things to lay on, and keep food and water on hand (but from my previous experience of moving from the east coast to Chicago, my cat refused to touch anything).  I will also be attaching each of them to a harness with leash in case I need to take them out of their carriers during stops to see if they need to use the litter box or stretch.

I have a large foldable pet pen that I have used to foster kittens and will probably buy a second one for the move. When my bf and I stop at a hotel midway through our move, I plan to keep each cat in their own pen with their own litter boxes and food because I don't want them to be super scared and hard to find/grab in a hotel room. These pens will also be useful when movers remove our stuff from our current apartment and load our stuff into our new apartment.

 

Edited by Citizen of Night Vale
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33 minutes ago, Citizen of Night Vale said:

I'll be moving 2 cats from Chicago to Texas this summer and it will easily be the most stressful part of my move. I don't think I could bring myself to trust a pet relocation service and will be driving them myself. I plan to have my vet provide sedatives (I've used them before and it worked well), buy each of them an extra large mesh carrier and spray it with a cat pheromone spray,  stuff the carriers with one or two of their favorite things to lay on, and keep food and water on hand (but from my previous experience of moving from the east coast to Chicago, my cat refused to touch anything).  I will also be attaching each of them to a harness with leash in case I need to take them out of their carriers during stops to see if they need to use the litter box or stretch.

I have a large foldable pet pen that I have used to foster kittens and will probably buy a second one for the move. When my bf and I stop at a hotel midway through our move, I plan to keep each cat in their own pen with their own litter boxes and food because I don't want them to be super scared and hard to find/grab in a hotel room. These pens will also be useful when movers remove our stuff from our current apartment and load our stuff into our new apartment.

 

Although keeping them in the pen is fine... Keeping them in the bathroom for petting/attention time is usually good too. Gives them some comfort without giving them endless places to hide.

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@sjoh197 My 2 cats get along fine in a large apartment but they're not close enough to keep them in the bathroom together, especially during such a stressful time. I would prefer the pen because it's large enough for them to move around easily, they're separated, and they can see me the whole time. I can also unzip the top and pet or play with them if they would like it.

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13 minutes ago, Citizen of Night Vale said:

@sjoh197 My 2 cats get along fine in a large apartment but they're not close enough to keep them in the bathroom together, especially during such a stressful time. I would prefer the pen because it's large enough for them to move around easily, they're separated, and they can see me the whole time. I can also unzip the top and pet or play with them if they would like it.

Ah... Im so used to 2 kitties that love each other ;)

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@yayspace I second the temporary cushion ideal- if only! My cat has the really bad habit of pooping when she's upset, so I'm just hoping that WILL NOT HAPPEN on the drive! :rolleyes: Cats are certainly unusual creatures, that's for sure. Or fur sure, because that's also a definite.

And @Citizen of Night Vale just make sure your cats don't invade any local community radio stations! Who knows what hijinks could occur then. Hopefully they will manage the trip without too much stress.

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@Cat_Robutt Hopefully, my cats will be sedated enough to do no such invading.... One of my cats also has a habit of pooping when she's stressed. We're a 5-10 minute drive away from the vet and she always manages to do that or vomit (or both) before we even arrive. I'm hoping she'll do it once right when we get in the car to start our long drive and that'll be it. :(

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Does anyone have experience travelling with dogs? For the relocation I'm almost certain I will be driving with my dog with me (no problem--she loves the car!), but I'm a little worried about things like going home to visit for Christmas. Ideally if I'm going to be gone more than a few days I'd like to bring her with me rather than leave her with a kennel. 

 

My family lives in upstate New York and I'm moving to Chicago, so it's feasible that I can drive home whenever I need to visit. My dog is twenty pounds so I'm not sure how bringing her on a plane would work. She's probably too large to fit under the seat to travel in the cabin with me, but I'm really worried about the cargo hold thing. I also have no experience bringing pets on trains--does anyone have experience with this? My dog is friendly but energetic and excitable. Any advice or personal anecdotes is appreciated! 

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20 hours ago, Cat_Robutt said:

@yayspace I second the temporary cushion ideal- if only! My cat has the really bad habit of pooping when she's upset, so I'm just hoping that WILL NOT HAPPEN on the drive! :rolleyes: Cats are certainly unusual creatures, that's for sure. Or fur sure, because that's also a definite.

And @Citizen of Night Vale just make sure your cats don't invade any local community radio stations! Who knows what hijinks could occur then. Hopefully they will manage the trip without too much stress.

OMG my cat that I had when I was little would poop EVERY TIME we took him to the vet. It wasn't even that long of a car ride. I think he did it just to piss us off. One time, he puked on his brother on the way to the vet. :( 

Unfortunately, my cat right now is having stomach issues. Hoping that clears up real soon and doesn't affect his ability to travel. 

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Hashtag cat life, am I right? They can be such little terrors wrapped up in fluffy cuteness. At least they aren't geese.

@lauracol I've never traveled long distances with a dog, but I know Sherpa makes FAA-compliant carriers, even for largish dogs. I have some of the same recommendations, such as making sure dog stays hydrated, cool, and is surrounded by some comfort objects. How has your dog handled travel in the past? That would give me a better idea of how to approach making suggestions. 

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On 4/15/2016 at 11:17 AM, lauracol said:

Does anyone have experience travelling with dogs? For the relocation I'm almost certain I will be driving with my dog with me (no problem--she loves the car!), but I'm a little worried about things like going home to visit for Christmas. Ideally if I'm going to be gone more than a few days I'd like to bring her with me rather than leave her with a kennel. 

My family lives in upstate New York and I'm moving to Chicago, so it's feasible that I can drive home whenever I need to visit. My dog is twenty pounds so I'm not sure how bringing her on a plane would work. She's probably too large to fit under the seat to travel in the cabin with me, but I'm really worried about the cargo hold thing. I also have no experience bringing pets on trains--does anyone have experience with this? My dog is friendly but energetic and excitable. Any advice or personal anecdotes is appreciated! 

I have lots of experience traveling with my dog but only in the car. We've moved across the country and also done another move of about 1000 miles. The website petswelcome.com is a great resource for finding pet-friendly hotels as well as knowing if they charge a fee, require a deposit, etc. I typically end up at La Quintas though I've stayed in a range of other hotels including Motel 6 (always pet-friendly though quality varies widely), Days Inn, and Baymont Inn & Suites. 

I've driven home a few times with my dog for Christmas (8-11 hours depending on which place of mine we're talking about) and that was fine. I've also found people who weren't going home to watch her for shorter breaks (Thanksgiving or Spring Break). Often there are students around who aren't going home, especially international students. The dorms may also close so you could potentially really be helping someone out by letting them house/dog sit for you over break. You do have to pay them but undergrads are pretty cheap (I pay $15-20/day, depending on the time of year).

I'll be honest and say that I've never flown my dog and probably never would, though she's maybe 25 lbs. Because of her height, she's too big to fit in the carriers that go under the seat (they have to be able to stand up AND turn around in those). To fly her as cargo would cost me ~$150 each way PLUS many airlines won't fly dogs as cargo when it's either too hot or too cold. Think of it this way. The baggage often sits out on the tarmac in all weather waiting to be loaded and your dog would be out there too, exposed to the heat or cold. For me, it's just not an option.

Amtrak has recently changed its policies to allow dogs 20 lbs and under on all trains. I've never done this but it seems like a great option!

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@rising_star and @Cat_Robutt thanks for the advice! My dog technically fluctuates around 19.5, so I probably could take her on the train if I really needed to! Glad to have that option. Also, paying undergrads is a good option I never thought about--and I appreciate the hotel website tip. It looks like I'll probably just avoid the plane if I ever need to travel with her. She's great travelling in the car--the only worry I would have with the train would be she is frequently very hyper and friendly, which not all people appreciate. Still, I'd be much more comfortable having her with me in a carrier on the train, even if I had to give her a couple of Benadryl to simmer down, than putting her in a cargo hold. Thanks!

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My dog does great in the car. I agree with @rising_star about using La Quintas. They're usually great, you get a free breakfast, and they're always pet friendly. I've read too many stories about dogs dying in the cargo holds of airplanes to even consider it, and I have a big ole doggy who would be way to expensive to fly anyways :) 

@yayspace - My cats fight sedation too, and it makes them awful to drive with. I found that if I don't sedate them they'll start to settle down about an hour into the drive. If you can make it through that first hour with music/podcasts/selective hearing, you may be fine. I restrict their food the night before and the day of so they're not pooping all over the place, but if I stop for a lunch break I'll give them some water. I'm also doing my longest drive this time around and am going to invest in a Sleepypod carrier that can be buckled in to the seats for safety. One of my cats really likes to be able to see what's going on, so the mesh top is helpful. They're also waterproof and come with a washable liner which I hope will contain any accidents. Like I said above with the dogs, there have been instances where pets have accidentally died or been let loose at the airports. Also, I don't know how the relocation services work, but not only do airlines sometimes restrict whether or not pets can fly in the cargo hold (because of extreme high temps that might be a factor in Louisiana summers!) but sometimes they only fly to the closest major airport. The one time I flew my cats because I didn't have a car, the closest airport I could fly in to with pets in the cargo hold was New Orleans. Then I had to have someone pick me up and drive me and the cats the remaining three hours to my destination. It was a pain! 

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@ihatechoosingusernames Nice username :P That is great advice about not feeding them a bit beforehand––do they mind much? I don't want my cat to be additionally stressed out, so I'm wondering which is the lesser of two evils: meowing because she is hungry or meowing because she messed in her carrier! I second the buckling carrier; the one I have can also be strapped in for safety, which I love. I'll also be putting some soft padding nearby just in case. It will be a long set of drives, but hopefully we will all make it through in one piece!

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2 hours ago, Cat_Robutt said:

@ihatechoosingusernames Nice username :P That is great advice about not feeding them a bit beforehand––do they mind much? I don't want my cat to be additionally stressed out, so I'm wondering which is the lesser of two evils: meowing because she is hungry or meowing because she messed in her carrier! I second the buckling carrier; the one I have can also be strapped in for safety, which I love. I'll also be putting some soft padding nearby just in case. It will be a long set of drives, but hopefully we will all make it through in one piece!

If we can survive the grad application process, I'm sure we'll survive meowing cats!

They don't seem to mind too much, but if I'm stopping at a hotel I'll make sure to leave food out for an hour or so. It gives them time to eat, but also restricts them enough that hopefully they've expelled what they need to before we start driving again the next morning. The worst experience I had with moving them was after I shipped them via airplane and had to drive them afterwards. We had to attach little things of cat food to the carriers in case they were delayed/stuck somewhere, and some kind soul decided to feed my cats at some point during the shipping process. Two hours in to our three hour drive, my female cat had a not-so-solid bowel movement that I'm sure happened both because she needed to poop but also was fed while super stressed out. We didn't have a great place to stop, so we just kept going until we hit home. Her first experience in our new home was a bath because she walked all over her mess. My cats won't die on a restricted diet for a few days :) Water, obviously is another deal. I'm thinking about laying down some disposable pee pads just in case. 

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