Traveling with pets

Anyone here done a long-distance move with pets? Moving at the end of June with 2 cats and a dog. It’s a 900+ mile trip, and will require an overnight I’m sure. Cats will be in the biggest crates I can fit in the backseat with the dog, with a small litter box in each. Hoping to have an extra person riding with me so I don’t have to leave them in the car at rest stops, even for a few minutes, but I may well end up solo. Any tips for making the trip as easy as possible, both on the road and in a hotel?

Second person to help with driving and everything !

Please for the safety and sanity of ALL ~

That sounds painful. Yes to the second person if possible, plus line up per friendly stops along the way, even if to just get the dog out to stretch their legs.

Get sedation or a relaxer from the vet in case you need it.

Not sure how to do it where you don’t leave pets alone in a car if you don’t have a second person especially in the summer.

We moved from Texas to DC (1400 miles) and have done a round trip between NYC and Denver (1800 miles) with our dog. Both went largely without major drama (on the dog side anyway).
It’s definitely helpful to know how your animals like to ride in a car (my dog prefers crated to harness and prefers to see her humans when in the crate) as is a second person. We figured out which drive-throughs/drive-ins we liked so we could stay in the car as much as possible (lots of Sonic). We stopped every 4 hours for potty breaks for the animals - at public rest stops avoiding people and where most animals seemed to be doing their business to avoid any diseases. Hotels weren’t too big of a deal but we did have a collapsable crate we normally used for dog shows so our dog had a “safe” bed space - with a second person there is convenience of someone going out to get food and other remaining with the dog, just because there was so much upset already with the drive (our dog is not a happy car passagner, our vet prescribed her cerenia for car sickness).

I’m definitely trying to get someone to ride with me, but so far I’ve struck out; nobody can/will. The dog rides ok; her crate is too big for the car so she will have to ride on her own with a seatbelt harness. I can do very quick rest stops and leave the windows down if I have to and plan to hit drive throughs for food. The cats are cats–they yell when we go to the vet etc. but don’t freak out or anything. I’m hoping to avoid drugging them. Finding a hotel that accepts cats is a challenge–if anyone knows of a decent chain that does, I’m all ears!

Any chance of paying a family member …high schooler … neighbor kid to drive with you and return via flight home ?

Dog breeders have “flight nannies” take puppies to new owners and of course the return flight … possibly a dog breeder would recommend a “ flight nanny” to take your two cats ?

just trying to think of any option here to make this easier on you and cats

Not experienced on traveling with cats, but I routinely travel 1,000+ miles per trip with 5 GSDs, many times I end up going alone, occasionally my DD is with (she does not drive) & it’s so much easier having a second person.
Depending on where we are going, dogs will travel in the dog trailer (which is heated/cooled) or in crates in the vehicle.
I do NOT ever travel with loose animals.
Since my dogs are all accustomed to & good with traveling, they get a break about every 6 hours (about when I need to stop for fuel). They know the drill & are very good at going potty right away & then getting a quick walk to stretch a bit.

Most motels accept pets, with a pet deposit, so I would map out your trip & call ahead to whatever motel you’d like to stay at along the way.

take an extra key , if you make a stop lock the car and leave it running with the ac on.
when i have travelled with cats and had to stop for overnight i have left them in the car with food water and a cat box. They seem to like that much better, staying in the car that smells mostly all right as opposed to shuffling in and out of some strange hotel room.

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I’ve done this a few times now–once with horses, dogs, cats and once with just the dog and the cats, we shipped the horses.

We put the cats in large dog crates in the gooseneck of the horse trailer we hauled both times. It was fabulous–they had more space than if they were in the car, and we didn’t have to listen to them. To get them into the hotel each night, we used a cat crate (like you’d take to the vet) to transfer out of the bigger crate. ALWAYS make sure the cat is well secured BEFORE opening the car door. Never think you can just reach in or it’ll just be a quick thing. Cats get loose so quickly.

We had barn cat + house cats, so the barn cat got the bathroom, and the house cats got to be loose with us in the hotel room. Having a little hand held vacuum was SUPER for cleaning up tracked litter in both places, highly recommend. It was too cold to leave anyone in the car. We didn’t have any issues with finding hotels, have you checked Residence Inn? I know we stayed in at least one of those.

Overall, it wasn’t that big a deal, and everyone came through it fine!

That’s what I’ve done when needed. Only with secured animals, don’t want to risk Fido throwing the car in gear!

A couple years ago SO and I moved back to Ontario from Alberta (2000 miles). It was in the winter so we didn’t have to worry about leaving her in the car for a few minutes while we ran in for food or to use the washroom. We were in separate vehicles, but traveled together.
We spent two nights in pet friendly hotels. We had no issue there, we were checking in around 10-11pm and out by 7am. Since our neighbours were quiet there was no reason for our dog to bark.
Everytime we stopped I would take her out to go to the bathroom, then we would jog down the road or around the parking lot for a couple minutes. I was worried that she would go stir crazy, but she pretty much slept the whole way.

Thanks for the advice. I guess I’m mainly looking for assurance that we can do this without major disaster… More worried about the cats than the dog because, well, cats. I wonder if feliway collars or kitty CBD (not both) would help them feel more comfortable–any experience there?

I don’t have a second key–it was missing when I bought the car and getting a new one made is so expensive I haven’t done it, but I can leave the windows down–no valuables will be in the car and my car isn’t worth stealing… I will be traveling in tandem with a second vehicle, so we can time stops so we’re there together, but one or the other may want to cover more distance.

Kitties are really resilient. I’ve had to move 3 adult housecats 420 miles twice. The first time I ace’d them and the second time I didn’t. The ace did nothing but make them more paranoid and edgy.

I’ve never known a cat to be a good traveler, but I guess there are some out there, but mine certainly were not. The feliway didn’t really help, and I have no experience with feline CBD, so I can’t speak to that either. In short, make them as comfortable as you can, but be prepared for lots and lots of meowing and yeowling. Eventually they will tire themselves out.

They likely will not feel comfortable enough to use a litter box or eat while on the road (at least mine didn’t). Make sure the hotel allows pets, but even so, strongly consider not letting them out of the big crates overnight just bring the crates inside your hotel room. Maybe put food & litterbox in there. Or let them out, but confine to bathroom. The last thing you want is to waste time trying to get a terrified cat out from under a hotel bed, or paying extra for scratched up hotel drapes when kitty makes an attempt at a panic escape.

The good news is that even though it will be a hard 2 days when they are miserable, they are quick to forgive and will forget about the whole ordeal once they settle in at the new place.

For the love of God, don’t do what my dad did many many years ago when we were moving cross-county. He thought that our hardy indoor/outdoor cat was grumpy and ‘needed to stretch his legs’ so he put the cat on a leash and collar at a rest stop. Plenty of other travelers got a good laugh when our family pet bolted from the station wagon (leash dangling behind) and climbed the nearest tree. It took about 1.5 hours to get our cat out of the tree it climbed at that Iowa reststop. :rofl:

You’d be fine, and you can totally do this without major disaster! :grin:

Many hotels in the Hilton family (including their more mid-range offerings like Hampton Inn, Tru, etc) accept both cats and dogs, but it varies by individual hotel so you would still need to check (and there may be fees).

Many hotels that do accept pets also have a 2 pet per room limit and/or a total or per pet weight limit… so you may need the occupants of your other vehicle to take one of the pets at night.