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Should I take my cat on vacation with me?

kathryn
June 26th, 2008, 10:22 AM
Hi again, I'm back with yet another problem that I would only trust you guys to solve.

Okay, I'm supposed to be going down to Ocean City NJ for a week. July 12-19th. My mom put my dad (of all people!) incharge of the cats. But my grandmom will be over in the morning and my aunt in the evening to check on things. Also, I ask my neighbor to kinda keep an eye on things as well. The neighbor who helps me with the outside cats so yeah I trust her to make sure my house is okay.

The problem is, my one cat Maxwell has SEVERE separation anxiety. I really can't leave him for more hen a few hours. He gets really anxious and will sit in the window or by the door and wait for me. If I'm gone too long, he gets really upset and runs around the house looking for me. Sometimes he won't eat/drink/potty. So obviously I try to stop home after a few hours to calm him down before I go back out.

My mom generally keeps him under control though. The thing is, he ABSOLUTELY HATES MY DAD with a passion. He does things to purposely get in trouble. When we rented the shorehouse (we are driving there by the way) my mom said it would be okay that I brought him with. Now she's sort of changed her mind and is trying to convince me to leave him behind. She told me that he'll get over it. He won't though =/ I'm okay with leaving him behind if my moms home because he likes my mom a little, and she can calm him down. But as I said, it's going to be my dad here. When me and my mom go out for more then a few hours, Maxwell tears up the house and knocks things over and tries to run out the back door or front door.

I really don't feel comfortable leaving him in my dads care. This cat is a genius by the way. He knows what he's doing. My mom then offered to allow me to leave him at my grandmoms...I'm not really sure about that one either. For one, my grandmom probably wouldn't feed him the proper food and he would end up getting sick. Secondly, he doesn't like my grandmom either. She's sort of loud as well and he doesn't appreciate that. But it's still better then leaving him in my dads care.

I really would rather bring him with though. My mom said what happens if he runs away when we are down there. I told her I didn't see how that would happen, and what happens if he runs away from home while we are in Ocean City? Then we'd have to drive home early and find him. He only listens to me.....We are on the 3rd floor anyways. So he'd have to get threw the door, run down an enclosed stairwell and get out that door too. I don't really see that happening. He's smart, but the stairwell would probably confuse him.

What do you guys think? My mom had already agreed to all this many months ahead of time and only changed her mind a few days ago. She said she signed the lease and it said no pets! I told her well, you never told me that so it's really not my problem. This cat only likes me and only listens to me, and I feel like no matter what I do something bad is going to happen. I really just want to bring him with. Even if I leave him at my grandmoms, he will probably run away or just end up starving himself.

I don't see him running away at the shore house though. He only runs away when I'm gone for too long. I'd be there to check in with him every few hours, and my mom would be there alot too since she just wants to go to relax and not to go for the beach. She keeps saying if he gets out he's going to get hit by a car. That could happen at my house or my grandmoms house too.


Blahhh someone please help me.

kathryn
June 28th, 2008, 11:34 PM
60 views and nothing??! Come on guys, I'm leaving in 2 weeks and still don't know what to do with my poor kitty! :frustrated:

badger
June 29th, 2008, 01:02 AM
Because you've pretty much decided in your head that he won't be happy unless he's with you. So take him!
Personally, I would leave him right where he is. Cats attach to places much more than dogs. Given his temperament, your presence will probably not make up for the stress of a long car ride and a strange place.
You mention that lots of people will be checking in while you're gone, so between them they should be able to keep him safe. If they need special instructions, write it up. Buy some Rescue Remedy and ask them to put two dropperfuls in his water bowl every time they fill it. If he's likely to run, confine him.
I think this is one of those situations where you do your best and yeah it's not perfect but don't ruin your holiday over it, go sit on the beach and read crappy novels and swim in the sea.
The oracle has spoken :laughing:

growler~GateKeeper
June 29th, 2008, 01:07 AM
Some questions to consider:

How long is the drive including any gas/bathroom stops?

How does Maxwell do in the car - honestly does he travel contently?

Do you have a leash & secure harness that fits him & he is 100% comfortable wearing?

My main concern:
How HOT is the temperature in Jersey in mid July?

Remember you'd be driving for atleast a couple of hours in a very hot enclosed car, no windows rolled all the way down, if you have A/C in the car think how much hotter it feels when you step from A/C to full on heat.

Does Maxwell like the vet's office? Have you considered boarding him there for the week you'll be gone? That would be a secure area with constant supervision & vet care if he stops eating/doesn't use the litter.

My :2cents: being summer & a hot one @ that {28 June forcast for Atlantic City is around 98F - mid July will be hotter still & temp in the car increases that by @least 10 degrees} I'd board him @ the vets or leave him home confined to 1 room or 1 floor with no access to the outside doors.

chico2
June 29th, 2008, 07:19 AM
Kathryn,you ask a difficult question,that's probably why not everyone has answered.
Every cat is different,I could never travel in the car with mine,Rocky would exhaust himself just from screaming,so no matter what,he would be better in a familiar environment.
I am sure Maxwell will be fine at home for one week,but if you don't trust your dad,worry Maxwell would run away,boarding at the vet is an excellent idea.
At least you'll know he's safe,probably not happy,but safe and you won't have to worry:cat:

kathryn
June 29th, 2008, 08:16 AM
The trips about 45-hour. We have air in the car but we don't take any rest stops even though there are some because it's a really short trip.

We have air at the shore house though.

he's still acting like a nut. I'm trapping ferals today and he keeps sitting at the back door looking at me with his eyes all big and will try to run out the door to follow me.

My moms saying I should put him at my grandmoms if I'm worried my dad will loose him. He's usually fine on vet trips. He doesn't actually like anyone touching him though except me, so he hates the vet but not the actual trip there.

I think my cat needs some prozac or something... he is really cuckoo.
:shrug:

What's Rescue Remedy badger? I've never heard of that.

My dad keeps teasing me he's going to drug my cat with valium to go make him sleep the whole time I'm gone. My mom really yelled at him for it and he was like "I was only joking!". So childish my dad be

Gahh why does my cat have to be such a nut? I might be able to confine him to my room. My house is kinda small but my room might be enough for him. What he does is if I'm gone overnight he sleeps in my bed and waits for me after he get's tired of running to the door and window to look for me.

Crazy kitty!

mollywog
June 29th, 2008, 08:27 AM
it does seem like you've made up your mind. However, I have to agree with the others in keeping him at home. He is used to your house, and he is going to be ok. I am sure your dad will take good care of him. Especially since the lease says no cats! You wouldn't want to cut your holiday short because they find out you brought a cat!
and the travel time/ stress/ heat are all very valid considerations.
make the decision that's best for Maxwell.

badger
June 29th, 2008, 09:46 AM
Rescue Remedy is a herbal mixture that comes in drops or a spray and was formulated to calm down anxious humans, but it works on animals too, for panic attacks and long-term stress relief. It is made by Bach and you can get it at health food stores and also some pharmacies and big grocery chains. It works wonderfully well for some, less well for others. I'm surprised you haven't heard of it, your mum being a vet and all. I keep both versions on hand, you never know when WW II will break out around here lol.
Definitely give it a try, certainly before considering Prozac.

growler~GateKeeper
June 29th, 2008, 04:26 PM
I'm surprised you haven't heard of it, your mum being a vet and all.

Badger it's katherine93 (http://www.pets.ca/forum/member.php?u=28845)'s mum who's a vet

tikipug
June 29th, 2008, 04:37 PM
i would take your cat with you. have you considered a crate, maybe big enough for pillows and toys to shelter him when you are not around? my husband and i travel all over the southeast with our work and our two pugs go with us. i am sure there are differences with cats. but i also worry when in hotels about them getting out and getting hurt. that is why we crate them anytime we are not in the room. also benadryl (can you give it to cats?) calms them and helps them to sleep if needed. i have only used it once. i know my separation anxiety level would be high if i had to leave my babies at home. you would probably be worrying about him the whole time you are gone. hope you can resolve your issues, good luck!:cat:

badger
June 29th, 2008, 07:34 PM
it's katherine93's mum who's a vet

woops. sorry.

kathryn
June 30th, 2008, 04:08 PM
I'm the one who's friends with the vet tech.

Ugh well I'm still split. I don't feel that he would run away in Ocean City, but if he did I might never see him again vs. if he runs away from home while I'm away, I might get him back. I think I might just leave him behind, and if worse comes to worse come home early or have my grandmom bring him with when she comes down. That's if he's not eating or drinking and not going potty. Can't have my cat starving himself obviously.

I'll just have to see how he reacts when I'm packing up to leave. If he's going all looney then I might just take him with.

Is Rescue Remedy safe? I'll use it as long as you guys say it's okay. Looks pretty good. Says right on the website for separation anxiety.

My cats are all healthy for the record. Maxwell's really the only one who needs it.

possum
June 30th, 2008, 04:40 PM
I might have missed this, but is Maxwell harness/leash trained? How is he in the car? I take my cat, Rosie, on vacation all the time, even sailing. She's an indoor-only cat but is active and we have to watch that she doesn't run outside. The cabin is the most challenging (with the door open all the time), so we have her outside with us most of the time, either on the leash (tied up or walking) or in a big pet tent in the shade. Even in the cabin we only take her harness off at night so that she's easy to grab if she makes a dash for the door. She has outsmarted us a few times, but since it's unfamiliar territory she's never gone far.

It might be a bit tight for time, but if he isn't already car and leash trained you could start and see how he does. Harness around the house, then leash around the house, etc. Sit in the car in the driveway, and then with the engine on, then up and down the driveway, then around the block, like that. Take him on errands around town. Us a rubbermaid container for a car litter box. I know it's safest to have a cat in it's kennel, but we've found it's a smoother ride for everybody if the cat can sit in a lap, or wander from lap to lap, or look out the window (the window is the biggest deal, I think). Make sure you have a driving buddy for car trip training until Maxwell gets used to the whole thing.

Rosie is a super affectionate people cat. We don't always take her but when we've had her cat-sat she seems starved for affection when we get home. No one cat sitter can match a family of five full time cat cuddlers. Just that she can sleep under the covers with us at night makes it worth taking her along.

In the car, there's been a few times that somebody has left the van slider door open at a gas station, and Rosie doesn't even move off her pillow. I guess because it's unfamiliar ground, her modus operandus is to scope out the situation thoroughly before bolting.

Hope that helps!
Marnie

CyberKitten
June 30th, 2008, 05:04 PM
I just saw this (have had one of those wks so not much time for Pets.ca) - I think it depends on the cat and no one can answer your question but you. You know you cat and while typically, it is best to leave cats home, it depends on the cat and the person. I have one Siamese that has to be where I am - not so much due to separation anxiety, more to do with the breed and because she has become used to travel - as a former only "furkid" (Now she is one of 4 and still is a good traveler). The three others I leave home unless we are going to be away for a long time. And I do not always take the Seal Point now eiher since with the other cats, she is just as happy as home so that works out well.

As Badger says, cats identify with their surroundings and it is often the loss of their home area that is just as much of a trauma than their person being away. So if you leave enough instructions and you have good ppl to care for her, this is a question only you can answer.

If she is used to travel - and likes it, that is one variable. if she hates it, I'd leave her home, no matter the separation anxiety. That CAN be helped with Rescue Remedy. I doubt she'll run away - and the fact is if she is stressed on vacation and runs, she will be in a place where you know no one where at home, you have more resources. It also depends on whether she is an indoor outdoor cat - indoor cats are easier to travel with. Are you driving - that is hard on a cat if it is long and hot. This time of the year is not good for travel with cats. Cats, unlike dogs, are not keen travelers - usually.

You alone know her history of travel and a good traveler is a cat who has done at least ten trips without problems.

Good luck!

kathryn
June 30th, 2008, 05:25 PM
He's not leashed trained really. I can put it on him, but he tries to yank it off.

We are driving, but we have air in the car so it wouldn't be too hot for him. There's central air at the house were are at too.

Still might just leave him behind. I have a bunch of other cats, and he is best friends with Socks and she might be able to calm him down.

I saw this:
http://www.drsfostersmith.com/pic/article.cfm?aid=730

And was wondering if anyone would suggest any of the things on that page other then the Rescue Remedy.

I think I'll order whatever is recommended and give it a try on him before I leave to see if it works. And if one of the things does work to calm him down, then I'll feel much more comfortable leaving him behind. If he still spazzes out after trying one of the relaxer things like Rescue Remedy... then just will have to take him.

CyberKitten
June 30th, 2008, 05:51 PM
My only other suggestion - and I use both it and Rescue Remedy - is cocculine. It is an herb or Bach flower and usually puts cats to sleep during travel. My Seal Point Siamese has been taking it for some time now. It can be purcahsed at any SuperStore (Loblaws- the cheapest) or Health food store.

http://www.nationalnutrition.ca/detail.aspx?ID=1418