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Cats in Cars
06-11-2016, 07:16 AM,
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Novelangel Offline
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Cats in Cars
I think for the most part, people drive their dogs around, and leave the cat at home. But there are a few of us nutcases out there who are willing to drive around with cats in our cars. Depending on the length of the road trip, this can mean dragging around an entire litter box, the cat's food and water dishes, and a favorite toy to play with. My kitty pretty much stays home these days, but when she was younger she went with us on a lot of road trips, from the local supermarket, to three hour drives on the freeway. She rode in the car very well, often taking naps in the backseat or on the passenger's lap. She would roam the car, trying to figure out how to get into her two favorite sleeping spots... the two places she wasn't allowed to be. Spot number one was on the dashboard, directly in front of the driver, where nobody could reach her. The driver would go nuts trying to see over the furry lump and the passenger would go nuts trying to become Stretch Armstrong to get a grip on her. The other favorite spot was directly beneath the foot pedals on the driver's side. Callie-sue would spend every waking moment attempting to get into one of those two spots, to the point where we had to block off the hole beneath the driver's seat, and become adept at tackling a speeding furry bullet before she could launch herself into the windshield. It got to the point where it was easier to just leave her home and she seems happy with that situation now. 

Does anyone else out there drive their cats around with them? What challenges do you face when doing so?
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06-11-2016, 10:38 AM, (This post was last modified: 06-11-2016, 10:43 AM by kfander.)
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kfander Offline
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RE: Cats in Cars
I take them on very short trips so that they are not entirely panicked when I do have to take them somewhere in a car, such as to the veterinarian. Although there may be exceptions, since there seems always to be exceptions, most cats don't like riding in cars.

I have moved four cats from the Rio Grande Valley of Texas to Maine, although we stopped early each night. Before I left, the vet gave me something that I could use to calm them but I never found that to be necessary. This included a feral cat that I had been feeding, and decided to take with me when I moved.

They were very good. I had them in two large cages, with a mother and daughter in one cage, and the other daughter and the feral cat in the other cage. I was prepared to make a change, to allow the feral cat to be alone in one cage if necessary, but they got along okay. There was one accident, where a cat vomited on the way, and that wasn't very pleasant, but everyone held off on their bathroom breaks until we stopped for the night. We ate from drive-throughs so that we wouldn't have to leave them unattended in the car, and I fed them an occasional cat treat along the way. Sometimes, I would take one of them out at a time while my wife was driving so that I could hold her on my lap.

Before leaving the hotel the following morning, I would feed them a light breakfast, then wait an hour or so to have time for that to come out the other end before heading off for another day of driving. They would make a lot of noise for the first fifteen minutes each morning, but then settle down. They weren't happy about it, and I'm sure it was a miserable trip for them, but it wasn't nearly as problematic as I feared it would be. Since then, I have moved them from Maine to North Carolina for a couple of years, and then back to Maine.

So I will occasionally take one cat with me when I go for a short drive. They can be a major pain in the butt when they are not in a cage and I am driving because, as you say, they seem to want to be under the control pedals, on the dashboard, or otherwise in the way, but I live in northern Maine, where we don't have much traffic.
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06-11-2016, 09:02 PM,
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Novelangel Offline
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RE: Cats in Cars
Wow, it sounds as though all cats might be cut from the same bolt of cloth as far as wanting to always be exactly where they shouldn't be. I wonder if this is because cats like to be in control all the time and the driver is in control of the car? The cat thinks he has to be where stuff is going on, I think... center of attention, so to speak. I think that most cats have a natural fear of cars, my cat does and she practically grew up in one. The difference lies in which car it is that she's looking at. She recognizes our car and doesn't fear it, but anyone else's car she will have a fit over.

So, kfander, your cats seemed to enjoy their cages for the most part? My cat loves her travel carrier, but prefers to be let out once she's in the car so she can basically make a nuisance of herself much easier. She will enter the box all by herself if I leave it lying open on the floor and doesn't freak out when I close the door on the box. Although she does complain a bit once I lift the box and start carrying it to the front door. A lot of cats never see the interior of a car unless they are about to visit the vet, so they don't enjoy the experience at all. There's just something about getting man-handled and poked by strangers that brings out the wild cat in the tamest kitty.
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06-12-2016, 06:38 PM,
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remnant Offline
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RE: Cats in Cars
Members of the cat family are naturally wary and mostly keep to themselves when the situation allows. But they are also very adaptable and don't process fear the same way dogs do leading me to suspect that their cognitive and critical faculties are not as well developed as that of their canine counterparts. You are likely to observe that a cat will have no qualms about returning to the same place it got a bloody nose like say, the hamlet of a naughty boy. I think the best companion pets in cars are kittens since they are very playful and curious. There is the risk of the cat jumping out of the car if the door is opened. Attempts to return them could prove futile especially if it is in an urban concrete or wild jungle. I have never taken the cat out and am of the opinion that those who do so usually carry the cat in the car during change of residence.
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06-13-2016, 09:10 AM,
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kfander Offline
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RE: Cats in Cars
(06-11-2016, 09:02 PM)Novelangel Wrote: So, kfander, your cats seemed to enjoy their cages for the most part?

No, they pretty much hate the cages. Given no choice though, they make do. I live in Maine, where it's cold in the winter and, since I leave my cages and carriers in the shed, if one of them has an appointment with the vet, I will bring the carrier in the night before so that it has time to warm up. However, I have to bring it in a few days ahead of time if I have that much notice because when they see me come in with the carrier, they all hide and they're still hiding the next morning, knowing that at least one of them is going somewhere.

I had to postpone an appointment once because I couldn't find the cat who had the appointment. Somewhere they seemed to have figure out who it was for because the other cats were no longer hiding the morning of the appointment. The appointment was at 10:00 am, and Cutie didn't come out until 2:00 pm, and I never figured out where she was hiding.
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06-13-2016, 08:46 PM,
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Novelangel Offline
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RE: Cats in Cars
(06-13-2016, 09:10 AM)kfander Wrote: I had to postpone an appointment once because I couldn't find the cat who had the appointment. Somewhere they seemed to have figure out who it was for because the other cats were no longer hiding the morning of the appointment. The appointment was at 10:00 am, and Cutie didn't come out until 2:00 pm, and I never figured out where she was hiding.

Sounds about right. My calico can become part of the woodwork when she wants to. There won't even be a tuft of hair sticking out to identify her. I have found her tucked away under the bed where nobody can reach her, I found her inside a lampshade that was stored in a corner. She has hidden under the couch where I didn't think there was enough room for her to get under there. She will hide behind, beside, beneath anything and stay still like a statue. I won't even catch the glow of her eyes, but if I go in the kitchen and run the can opener for a few seconds, out she'll come, like a little furry bullet. The can opener is magic if I use it wisely and not too often. She's too smart for it to keep working if I use it a lot, so I have to be careful with that one. Now, in my kitty's case, she will enter the  cat carrier willingly as I said before, but getting her to stay in there is another story. The joy of getting inside something is short-lived, so I try not to put the box on the floor too soon. I will be basically all ready to go first and then I put out the box and open the door. She climbs in and I shut her inside. There won't be any complaint until I pick up the box and she realizes she's going with us. She is unusual in the fact that she doesn't like to be carried around in a box, or bag. Most cats I've had in the past have loved climbing into a basket or bag and being swung around like they're on an amusement park ride. Not her, she will cuss up a storm if I do that to her. I once thought it would be fun to put her into a tote bag and carry her around town... she had other ideas and they didn't involve me, a bag, or town. We even bought a pet stroller once and she hated that thing with a purple passion. She tore it up trying to get out of it, ripping the top all to shreds with her claws. Why on earth the manufacturer made the thing out of nylon rather than canvas, is beyond me. I guess they are meant more for small dogs than for cats, but they could make them a little sturdier.
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06-26-2016, 09:08 AM,
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CatCuddler57 Offline
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RE: Cats in Cars
Both of my last two cats loved to be in the cars so long as they were in your lap or on the floor by your feet.  We would never let them sleep in the window unless we were parked because the police would pull us over and give us a ticket because if there was an accident, they could go flying through the window or something.  Other than that, I think cats are preferable for longer rides because they naturally sleep 16 hours a day while dogs need to be walked multiple times.  My grandpa had a trucker friend who had one of those really fluffy white cats, I doubt if it was a pure bred but it might have been, who had her own bed seat belted into the passenger seat for her to sleep in.  They've gone cross country delivering goods and she's great because she doesn't need that much exercise.  They were really close after so many years, that he could let her out of the truck to walk around the truck, urinate, and stretch, while he got gas or got a drink.  When he came back, he would whistle and she would come back and leap into the truck and they would be off.
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06-26-2016, 10:44 PM,
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pwarbi Offline
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RE: Cats in Cars
Over the years I've had quite a few cats and I have to say that the only time they've been in my car is when they've been on a trip to the vet for one reason or another. When it comes to dogs, I also see them as they rely on us a lot more than a cat does and they aren't as independent as cats, that's why I think they'd enjoy the car journey more. Taking a cat on a car journey for me would be as if you're taking the cats independence away from it and your effectively making it go where it might not want to. I can only imagine that as far as a cats concerned, being put in a box and then transported to a different part of the world, a part it's not familiar with would be the last thing it wants, and that's why when you open the cage door to let a dog out it bounds out, happy to be free, with a cat it's a lot more wary of everything that's around it and more often than not won't move for a number of hours unless you force it.

At the end of the day, I just don't think its natural to take a cat out of it's comfort zone more times than you should, and while taking it on car journeys might seem like a good idea to us humans so it can experience more parts of the world, I'm sure the cat would much rather we left them at home and for us to just take the much more inquisitive dog instead!
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06-27-2016, 08:29 PM,
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Novelangel Offline
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RE: Cats in Cars
(06-26-2016, 10:44 PM)pwarbi Wrote: Over the years I've had quite a few cats and I have to say that the only time they've been in my car is when they've been on a trip to the vet for one reason or another. 

At the end of the day, I just don't think its natural to take a cat out of it's comfort zone more times than you should, and while taking it on car journeys might seem like a good idea to us humans so it can experience more parts of the world, I'm sure the cat would much rather we left them at home and for us to just take the much more inquisitive dog instead!

One reason that cats don't like cars is because most of the time the end of the road is the vet's office. If they don't like the destination, they won't want to go and yes, that stresses out the cat. I took my cat on the road the first time as an experiment. When we found out that she liked it, and no, she didn't just sit in a box the whole time either, we took her to a lot of places. She went to the store with us, out to eat with us, down the road to the gas station... a lot of places. She even rode with us on a three hour journey to visit my parents. Her problem was that she didn't like my parents for some reason and would go about nuts if we made her go inside their home. Therefore, to keep her more into her comfort zone, (as you put it) we left her at home by herself when we went to visit my folks. Since it is a three hour trip both ways and we would stay several hours to visit, she is left alone most of that day and doesn't like that either. So we can't win as far as her comfort zone is concerned. I can't get another cat to keep her company either as that would cost us $50.00 extra on our rent each month. If a cat only gets in a car to go to a bad place, such as the vet, he or she will be scared to death of cars, especially yours. My cat is scared to death of every vehicle BUT our car. I can take her right up to our car with its engine running, and she's fine, but if a single car somewhere down the street starts its engine, she's out of her head with worry. For this reason alone, (the big scary world) she has become more of a house cat over the years and less of a world traveler. 
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08-24-2016, 03:49 AM,
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RE: Cats in Cars
Well I got a really good laugh at the thought of trying to take my little friend on a road trip with me.  We have enough trouble as it is getting him in there to go to vet that I would have to imagine the inside of the car would be all torn up and have claw marks everywhere.  Not only that, I would also have to expect some pretty serious bodily injuries as well, and I am just not sure if I am ready for that.  He is a smart cat, too, so he knows when we are trying to get him in there.  That said, we probably would not even have the chance to take him with us.  Oh well, it does make me curious to see if there are any people out there who do have luck in taking their cats in the car.  I would have to assume that most cats hate going in the car, and that has always been my experience, but I could be wrong.  Interesting stuff, and thanks for sharing.
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02-09-2017, 11:20 AM,
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Rhonda Crawford Offline
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RE: Cats in Cars
I know I'm in the minority here but my cat DoraMae travels with me when I will be home for long periods of time (12 hours to Kentucky, 8 hours to Alabama, and has been to Key West).  When she sees her harness and leash she isn't happy but once in the car about 20 minutes she settles down and is along for the ride.  I take a litter box but she has never used it.  I will give her a few treats here and there along the way as I don't feed her the morning we are heading out due to car sickness.  If she has eaten she will get sick but once that is over she is good to go.  I know some people think I'm crazy but I want this little fur ball with me vs leaving her at home even though she has a "Cat Nanny" who takes care of her when we are away for just a few days. I am impressed she does as well as she does but I'm so glad she does.  The day she showed up to my house 4 years ago (declawed I might add) I don't think she expected to have thousands of miles under her belt.
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