Posted in cats, traveling with pets

Going places

I watch with growing concern as the kitty in the carrier scratches the bare carrier floor with his paws, turning around and around inside. The desperate feline backs his rump up to the carrier door. And then all is silent, except for the rumbling of the car over the bumpy road.

Suddenly, in the silence, it’s apparent that Kitty is relieving his bladder. Out the carrier door. And down the car seat. And onto the front passenger side carpet.

Fortunately there’s a plastic grocery bag on the floor below the carrier, and the small amount of liquid pools in it.

I’m on a country road, so I pull over to a safe place, and pull out an old towel from a bag in the back and mop up the mess. While I’m busy with this, poor kitty vomits his long-ago-eaten breakfast on the towel he’s sitting on in the carrier.

Hoping there are no hunters in the area, while I’m carefully cleaning up kitty’s carrier, I’m also being careful that he doesn’t have a chance to make a break for it. I don’t want to lose him out here in the woods.

I heave a big sigh. I should have planned better than this. But we’re on our way to the boarding kennel, where I know he’ll be taken care of while we’re on vacation. He needs to be where someone will put in his eye meds and give him his pill once a day. He’ll be warm, dry and well-fed, which is our main concern. The fact that he doesn’t like the car ride is beside the point.

Back in the car, I try my best to keep from hitting the bumps and rough spots in the road, but there isn’t an alternative. If I slow down to avoid bumps, I’m also prolonging the cat’s being in the car where he’s obviously not very happy.

Kitty’s howl has died down to an occasional questioning “mew?” — the equivalent of a child’s “are we there yet?” I vow that when I return for him in five days, I’ll also grab my husband to come along and take care of the furry traveler. Since no holiday retreat is complete without a little guilt at leaving our pets home without us, I look forward to sharing that aspect with my spouse.

Here are a few things we can do to make the ride and stay at a kennel easier:

• Make a reservation well in advance.

• If you can spare the time, take your pet on a few car rides prior to the event to get him/her used to short trips.

• Keep the boarding kennel’s phone number with you in case you’re delayed in returning from your trip. Leave your number as well as your vet’s and a neighbor’s or relative’s phone number for emergencies.

• Bring enough of your pet’s food along to cover the days you’ll be gone, plus some extra in case of unforeseen delays in picking up your pet.

• Line the pet carrier with a thick newspaper, and keep additional in the car. Always carry a roll of paper towels and some baby wipes along to clean up messes. Remember a few plastic bags to put garbage in.

• Avoid food or drink on the day you take your pet to the boarding facility. Your pet doesn’t need car sickness added to potential homesickness to spoil his day.

• Resist opening the carrier until you’re safely indoors at the kennel. Losing a pet before you’ve left for vacation can cancel any fun you might have been looking forward to.

The return trip? Far easier.

One small “accident” was soaked up by the newspaper-lined carrier.

And the reassuring words of my husband were a great help – at least in keeping the driver (me) sane – if not also appreciated by the kitty!

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Owned by three cats over age 13