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In a previous post I mentioned that I had recently relocated from the West Coast to the East.  It was time to leave the Court and move into a smaller home.  For the Oak Court Cats, this would mean changes in their lifestyle.

My son asked to take Fatty with him to his place where he settled in after a few weeks of hiding under the bed.  Fatty has always been the most laid-back cat on the Court so the move into a smaller place worked out.  The youngest cat went off with my granddaughter to live a pampered life.  The Big Guy and the elder tortie were coming with me.  The adventure begins.

Relocating Cats

There is a lot of material on the web relating to moving with cats and it was clear from what I read that I was going to regret my decision.  Some cats objected to long rides and demonstrated their displeasure by singing arias from famous operas for hours and miles at a time.     Other writers told of distressed cats subjecting their humans with bouts of diarrhea and/or vomiting.  Others would huddle in the corner of their carrier, waiting for the grim reaper to come and save them from this torture. 

I experienced all of the above.

Day 1 – The Silicon Valley to Wells, Nevada – 531 miles.  A number of writers advised me to procure something that would relax the cats.  There are a number on the market so I grabbed 2 of them.  Well, while they were effective that only lasted about 250 miles.  After that I was subjected to 250 miles of the big cat singing mournful songs of despair.  Exhausted from the marathon performance, he finally fell asleep for the last 75 miles.

Cats in the crates, ready to load up.

The Tortie made the trip in a large cat case (She is 8 pounds and the case was advertised as large enough for 15 pound cats.  The Big Guy traveled in a 24” dog crate with a foam pad on the bottom.  Their traveling accommodations included water and food bowls, toys and flannel blankets for privacy and warmth.

Day 2 – Wells, Nevada, to Laramie, Wyoming – 531 miles.  At sunrise the Big Guy broke out of the hotel room and dashed out across the open fields.  We searched for hours but the tracks in the new snow made it real clear that he was gone and would be dealing with the coyotes now.  I packed up the other cat in the late afternoon and headed down the road.

Eastern edge of Wyoming

Day 3 – Laramie, WY to Wells, NV to Evanston, WY. – 764 miles. I got a call at the hotel during the night.  Seems the Big Guy got hungry and drifted back to the motel long about midnight.  At 2:30 I packed up and headed back to pick him up.  My thanks to the night staff at the Motel 6 in Wells who kept him fed until I got there.  We got back on the road again and made it as far as Evanston, WY.  Rather than take a chance, I used a little valerian in his dinner bowl; he went to sleep for the night. My one claim to fame on this day was that I was able to cross the Continental Divide 3 times in one day.

Eastern side of Nebraska, looks just like Eastern side of Wyoming, and Iowa.

Day 4 – Evanston, WY to North Platte, NE- 565 miles.  Each morning before we hit the road there were a number of tasks to be completed:

  1. Feed the cats – I brought their bowls and favorite foods. 
  2. Shovel and clean the litter box. I read a number of articles that stressed that the cats travel better if they can use their own litter box with kitty litter they recognize.  Yes, you have to use a little yesterday’s litter to add familiar scents to today’s litter.
  3. Load the truck up.  Have to put the cats into their travel cases before opening the door.  Learned that the hard way on Day 2.
  4. Spray the inside of the truck with the calming agent before loading the cats in.

The Day 4 drive was uneventful as the scenery didn’t change much – hours and miles of flatland once I descended onto the plains.  The cats were relatively quiet on Day 4.  The calming agent finally kicked in.

Day 5 – North Platte, NE to Davenport, IL – 593 miles.  Got the cats loaded up early, wanted to get on the road as it was Saturday and there were more cars on the road.  Naturally the cats could tell that I was in a hurry so they did everything they could to slow the process down.  Big Guy decides to play in the litter box, tossing half the contents around the bathroom floor.  The little one was not interested in the regular wet food and managed to flip the bowl over, onto the rug.  I lost a half an hour cleaning before I could get out of there.  The calming agent wasn’t working today, and I had to hear the music from Cats as performed by Cats.

Travelling with cats is made more difficult because there are not a lot of motels that permit pets. I stayed at Motel 6 every night as they permit cats. Didn’t even charge an additional deposit. All along the way they found me rooms on the first floor (I used a hand truck to move the kitties so stairs would have been out of the question. The rooms were always clean and the staff was always friendly.

Day 6 – Davenport, IA – Streetsboro, OH – 526 miles.  Catastrophe!  Ran out of kitty litter and had to drive around hunting for a grocery store.  My passengers did not like the brand I bought and tossed quite a bit of it onto the floor. Running low on calming agent and valerian; needed to get this drive over with soon.  Today they performed Wagner’s “Flight of the Valkyries”.  I don’t think anyone wants to buy the CD.

Nights with cats in strange rooms is an adventure. There many new scents that keep them up all hours investigating. Noises from outside the door (people walking by) would send them scurrying, looking for cover. It was entertaining but tiring.

Day 7 – Streetsboro, OH to Pottstown, PA – 421 miles.  The last 200 miles were the longest.  Coming across the Pennsylvania Turnpike in heavy traffic was bad.  Hitting every pothole between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia was painful.  One cat or the other (they were alternating) would yell out as they were jarred awake.

We arrived at the house late in the day immediately went to neutral corners and napped while I unloaded the car, set up the litter box and distributed dinner.

I was able to hear again a week after arriving home.  The cats settled in quickly and resumed the usual snapping and swiping at each other.  I have no plans to move the cats further.  Once was enough.