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Travelling with Cat in Car

July 10th, 2008, 10:46 AM
My 7 year old male siamese, Harry, howls (screams) constantly while driving in the car. Nearly every weekend for the past 3 summers we have been taking him to our cottage, a trip of about 2 hours. I keep hoping he'll get used to it, but there has been no improvement. We usually put him in a standard plastic pet carrier. He can see out the front and possibly via the slits in the side. I've tried covering the cage with a towel so he can't see anything, in case its the motion that bothers him, but that made him worse. I've tried "Rescue Remedy", a homeopathic solution that's supposed to "comfort and reassure" - a few drops on a paw. I've tried giving him half a children's size gravol - suggested by the vet - but ended up with a panicked cat frothing at the mouth till he got rid of the pill. (It starts to dissolve before I can get it down his throat; maybe there's a coated variety?) Within minutes of arriving at our destination Harry is just fine, and acts as though nothing had happened; so, I don't think the trip makes him sick. As for the humans, we arrive frazzled and far from relaxed. I'm wondering if anyone out there has had a similar problem and found a solution!

Jim Hall
July 10th, 2008, 10:55 AM
lol cant tell ya if you want to tranquilise him to the gills but hey its a meezer hes gonna complain maybe he wants out of the carrier or maybe put the carrier where he can see out ?

July 10th, 2008, 11:16 AM
My previous Siamese was like that - nothing could protect our ears - it was constant howling - which is likely why she lost her meow in her senior years!

Minnow, although talkative, travels well... She prefers to be crateless (I have a kitty seatbelt for her) and likes to be perched on a box/blankets so she can see out! Maybe your cat would prefer that as well?

I doubt anything but heavy medicating (which is not a good idea IMO) would do much! We are talking about the Siamese breed after all:laughing:

July 10th, 2008, 11:49 AM
Yeah, that frothing-at-the-mouth gets us every time :laughing:
Seriously, I've heard that Gravol helps some. There's a gadget I buy at the vet which has a little rubber cavity to clutch the pill on one end and a short plunger at the other. You put the pill end as gently as possible (this may take two people) as far back in his mouth as you can and hit the plunger. Then the pill (hopefully) bypasses the gag reflex. Then you give him a treat and or a blast of Rescue Remedy.
RR is applied to the mouth (or the food or drinking water); it wouldn't do him any good at all on his paw. It also can be bought as a spray, which you apply to the tongue. You give him couple of blasts when he's freaking out and again fifteen minutes later. I have used it myself on a paniced cat, and really did see a difference.
A few days before the trip, start adding RR drops to his water, a dropperful in a small (500 ml) bowl. That will help too.
I wouldn't use both remedies at once. Maybe try one method going up and one coming back?
The covered crate is a good idea, also maybe you could keep a supply of his favourite treats on hand to distract him.

July 10th, 2008, 12:43 PM
Maybe some music too would help. :confused: When I take a few of my bad traveling kitties to the vet I play classical music in the car to keep them calm. Also, maybe a larger crate? I've also seen these things people use to let their cats walk outside. Cat run (

Or maybe something like this? Cat barrier (

Maybe she just wants to walk around.

July 11th, 2008, 01:39 PM
he could just get car sick with the uncontrollable motion, and then putting a towel over the carry-box makes him worse because to him he is in a cage not being able to see what is making the motion. At least when he can see out he knows what is making the motion. Then, you said that when you are near to reaching your destination he calms down, maybe it is because he realises (cos he's a clever kitty) that the journey is coming to and end, the sickness will stop and he will be fine. no solutions though.:sorry:

July 11th, 2008, 03:13 PM
Jaeger :rip: used to sit on my shoulders between my head and the seat back...I still had full head motion and she would sit there calmly until we got where we were going...I know this isn't the safest, but hey when I was younger, I road curled up in the back window LOL! ....besides, in a cage, it was like I was trying to deliver her to Hell!!!

Mooki on the other hand is quite happy in her kitty-carry :)

July 11th, 2008, 06:51 PM
We had a cat that we took to the cottage for 2 weeks every summer.. He hated the car,, he would howl and froth at the mouth, breath so heavy you would think he was going to have a heart attack. Never did find a solution ,,,, but just for the fun of it,, try taking seditives for the people instead of the cat, sounds like he's getting over it far faster than you ,, and it would be nice to arrive stress free....... Really wish I knew a better answer,, We have been without oscar for 3 years now,, and I don't think there is ever a trip to the lake that we don't remember all the,, hummm interesting trips he made for us, :=)

July 11th, 2008, 10:42 PM
Maybe some music too would help. :confused: When I take a few of my bad traveling kitties to the vet I play classical music in the car to keep them calm. Also, maybe a larger crate? I've also seen these things people use to let their cats walk outside. Cat run (

Or maybe something like this? Cat barrier (

Maybe she just wants to walk around.

That fun run looks awesome... but to me the barrier looks like a disaster waiting to happen... a scared and panicky cat could go bolting out when you open the door, you'd have to leash them to something and then worry about them getting tangled while you're driving....:shrug:

I use soft music and I sing too.... and talk to them. Also find that for a real panicky traveller, the darker and smaller the space the better... a carrier just big enough for them to turn around and stretch a bit, covered with a dark blanket or something. Good luck!:goodvibes:

July 12th, 2008, 01:34 PM
Is it a two hour ride one way? I know most cats hate cars. Only a few don't mind it. I would ask your vet for a tranquilizer to give before each trip, but not sure if it would be a good idea to give everytime you go to the cottage? We had the same problem years ago that our cat hated being in the car for an hour one way to go to the cottage. And constantly howled. But after we arrived she just loved it and brought us many "treasures" that she killed.

July 14th, 2008, 07:20 PM
Thanks for all the suggestions. Today I tried sitting in the back seat (obviously not driving), with cat in a harness, on my lap. He tried to move around a lot, and still had a lot to say, but he was a little quieter than usual. I'm going to investigate the kitty seat-belt that some suggested.