Traveling with cat?
November 3, 2005 5:08 PM   Subscribe

Traveling with cat: this winter, I need to go from NYC to Boston for the weekend every few weeks. I just got a cat and while someone can watch him, I would rather take him with me so he won't be alone. But neither Amtrak nor Greyhound accept pets. I don't know how to drive. What should I do?

Jet blue takes cats, but for $50 extra, and the carrier size requirements are quite small (8" high!). I'd rather not do this.
posted by chelseagirl to Pets & Animals (17 answers total)
Response by poster: Also, does anyone have anything to say about Craigslist ridesharing?
posted by chelseagirl at 5:10 PM on November 3, 2005

He may be better off at home alone than stressed out and traveling to a new environment every few weeks. We found out that hard way that most cats hate change and love stability...especially in their environment.
posted by jeanmari at 5:18 PM on November 3, 2005

Cats are generally fine staying home alone for a few days, even up to a week, if they have fresh food and water. You can get automatic feeders/waterers.
posted by cahlers at 5:21 PM on November 3, 2005

This will not end well! In my experience very few cats are comfortable with travelling. In fact if I were to list some scenarios which I would hope never to experience, taking a long distance journey with a cat on a bus would probably be in the top 2.

As cahlers says, cats are very happy alone, they don't need company and stimulation the way dogs do. If you can have someone feed him regularly during that time then great. Automatic feeders sound great in theory but I wouldn't trust a gadget to look after a living (and very enterprising) creature. If you can't find someone to feed him then a cattery is the other alternative.
posted by fire&wings at 5:32 PM on November 3, 2005

See if the $10 chinatown bus will take him.
posted by CunningLinguist at 5:42 PM on November 3, 2005

Response by poster: No for the chinatown bus, at least according to the fung wah website. He's a little guy who loves attention, which is why I'm afraid of leaving him alone so soon after bringing him into my home. I've had several friends who took their cats on trains (metro-north and amtrak) but this was before 9/11 when transportation authorities started paying way more attention to your bags. I don't intend to take him with me every time, but I'd at least like to introduce him to my mother, who will be bedridden this winter following a rather severe surgery.
posted by chelseagirl at 5:48 PM on November 3, 2005

FWIW, A good friend of mine found a ride from Vancouver to Seattle with two Irish girls and had a nice, chatty ride.
posted by ori at 5:54 PM on November 3, 2005

He'll be fine alone for a weekend. Leave him plenty of fresh water and food. As others have said, traveling can really stress a cat out. Taking him with you would be worse for him.
posted by bondcliff at 6:27 PM on November 3, 2005

$15 dollar chinatown bus.
posted by StickyCarpet at 6:40 PM on November 3, 2005

Leave him home. I've left my cats alone for as long as five days with fresh food and water, and they've been fine. They're a little hyper and playful when you get back, and the litter box is foul, but otherwise everything is OK.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 6:45 PM on November 3, 2005

Another vote for leaving him at home. Cats really, really hate changes in their routine. And while he'll hate that you've left him, he'll hate travelling much more. (Of course, some cats like travelling but s/he are the exception to the rule.)

Leaving the cat home:
- Add a second litter box for the days you'll be gone (make sure both boxes are clean and full of sand)
- Large bowl of food (this is more to make you feel better than the cat actually needing that much food, I usually use a fairly large Tupperware container and it's in addition to their two regular bowls)
- Several large bowls of water (I usually leave one in each of the sinks and one on the kitchen floor in addition to their regular bowl)
- Since it's winter Leave your heat set at 60 or 65, whichever you feel more comfortable with (I leave it at 60)

I've left cats for five days with this set-up and all has been well.
posted by deborah at 9:23 PM on November 3, 2005

Cats are housepets and make poor traveling companions,
I learned this after my cat silently slipped out my car window....somewhere on hiwy50 one night.
posted by hortense at 11:20 PM on November 3, 2005

My cats generally pee in their cat carriers and yowl for long periods of time. They also lose fur from the stress. It's really not a good idea. If you want the cat to meet your mom, how about bringing it down and leaving it with her as a companion after the surgery?
posted by miss tea at 5:23 AM on November 4, 2005

It doesn't help with introducing him to your mother, but to alleviate your fears about leaving him alone, could you have a friend stay at your place while you're gone?
posted by occhiblu at 7:32 AM on November 4, 2005

Any chance of getting another cat? In my experience cats are much happier in a househould with other animals. They may not be pack animals but I think the constant company makes a big difference.
posted by phearlez at 8:18 AM on November 4, 2005

What everyone else has said -- by far the nicest thing for your cat is to leave him home. I just wanted to emphasize: don't mistake your cat for a dog. I understand that dogs do not handle a weekend alone well.
(Part of why I don't have one!)
posted by Aknaton at 8:48 AM on November 4, 2005

If you're willing to spend money on having your cat travel with you, spend it instead on paying someone to drop by the house and play with the cat a bit. Cats do get bored. (Or do a barter agreement with someone, where you cook or clean or whatever.)

And as everyone else said: virtually all cats HATE traveling. And they aren't the kind of social animal that a dog is. Plus they sleep 16+ hours a day. You're NOT doing your cat a favor by taking him with you on your weekend trips.
posted by WestCoaster at 5:39 PM on November 5, 2005

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