Traveling With Your Pet

A forum for questions and information about packing, loading and other helpful tips (not related to researching or selecting moving companies).
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Joined: Mon Jun 21, 2004 11:25 pm

Traveling With Your Pet

Postby Jake » Mon Aug 02, 2004 11:30 pm


We recently moved 3,200 miles with our 2 cats which took us 8 days. There are some important things to consider when getting your furbabies ready to go.

1. The far most important step is to take your pet to their vet about 2 weeks before leaving. It's very important to let your vet know where you're moving to as different areas have different dangers/illnesses that can deeply affect your pet, some even deadly. They will probably need a vaccination and at that time you can have the vet give you a sedative for your pet in case they need it during the trip. Long days in a car can be very stressful on your pet.

2. Get the area in your vehicle ready. Measure it out and get the proper size carrier or cage so your pet will be comfortable and be able to stretch out. We used a heavy wire dog cage with 2 thick sheepskin pads in the bottom and each cat had an igloo to get in and lay down. There was enough room for a food and water dish and just enough room for them to get out and move a little bit. The igloos are wonderful for cats as they not only provide top coverage, but they are great to scoop up and carry your cat into the hotel. We also had our cat carrier, but ended up not using it. The igloos cost about $14.00 at Walmart and come in 2 different sizes.

3. Take a litter box and put it inside an extra large garbage bag to travel. It will be ready to use upon arrival at the hotel. Our cats did not go to the bathroom until we got to the hotel each day eventhough we stopped at rest areas and took their litter box out.

4. We bought leashes and harnesses which we only used one time. Most rest areas are very noisy and many dogs are running around. Our cats did not seem very interested in getting out of the car. Leashes can be purchased at Pet Smart or PetCo for around $16.00 (for a good one).

5. Rest areas: Our cats were not at all interested in eating while in the car so at the rest areas. We gave them a few crunchy snacks which they seemed quite happy with and also a little bit of water on our fingers, just to make sure they did not have dry mouths.

6. Car temperature: MAKE SURE THAT YOUR AIR CONDITIONER IS WORKING! Animals get much hotter than we do and cannot tolerate heat as well as humans (but then you probably already knew this). We set the cage in a place where the ac was blowing towards the cats and had one blower pointed towards the roof for good circulation. If you have a super furry cat (like we do) you can also take a gallon size baggy, fill it with ice, wrap in a towel and set it under the cat.

7. Hotels: Many hotels will take cats but with a deposit (nonrefundable). Pet friendly hotels that we found along the way were: Hampton Inn, Days Inn, Raddisson, Comfort Suites, LaQuinta. We put the litterbox in the bathroom for easier cleanup.

8. Medication: Although the cats had sedatives, we did not use them everyday. In fact we only used them on the long driving days (over 7 hours). If you do give them a pill, be sure and watch them closely when you get to the hotel so they do not try to jump up on things. They may hurt themselves as they will be very relaxed and not have good balance.

consumer advocate
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Re: Traveling With Your Pet

Postby consumer advocate » Tue Aug 03, 2004 7:36 am


Thanks so much for posting the helpful tips! I'm sure all the fellow cat-lovers will appreciate the advice.

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Location: Portland, OR

Re: Traveling With Your Pet

Postby adamschneider » Tue Aug 03, 2004 1:51 pm

We drove from Minneapolis to Portland with our cat last month. I don't think there's any way we could have done it without the drugs (acepromazine). The pills -- which we tested on her before the trip so we knew what the proper dosage would be -- didn't put her completely to sleep, but they kept the whining down to a dull roar, provided we ignored her.

By the time we stopped driving at the end of each 10-hour day, the drugs were mostly worn off, so she was okay in the motel room, despite being pissed off about being in a new, unfamiliar place every day! (Note for cheapskates: Motel 6 and most Super 8 locations are also pet-friendly.)

We provided water in the Pet Taxi, and occasionally at rest stops we tried to give her some water out of her regular dish, but she wanted no part of it. In fact, I don't think she drank ANY water over the entire 3-day trip. She also used her litter box (in the motel room; we kept her locked up in the car) VERY sparingly -- she might have peed a little, once or twice, but no "number two." She did eat every evening though; she was very insistent on this point.

Anyway, the whole ordeal (3 days on the road, plus 3 days at my great aunt's house, then a new house) caused her to lose a little weight, but she's putting it back on now, and I think there was no harm done. Hopefully she's enjoying having many more window sills to sit in and even the occasional "supervised release" in the back yard. (We moved from an apartment to a house.)

(She's not fond of the harness, but we'd rather not have her run away!)

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Re: Traveling With Your Pet

Postby Diane » Sun Sep 12, 2004 1:10 pm

Here is a recent post on this general topic from the Yahoo Moving_Advice group that I'm in:

From: "swimaura" <[email protected]>
Date: Sat Sep 11, 2004 8:58 pm
Subject: Re: Moving pets cross country

I'm going to be making a cross country move with a cat in the near
future so I've done a lot of research on this topic! I'm going to
post links to the sites that I've found. They have a lot of advice
that would be hard for me to sum up here in a reasonable amount of
time. ... d=homefair ... Pets0.aspx ... p?Area=All

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Location: Chicago in transit to Tampa

Re: Traveling With Your Pet

Postby mspam » Sun Sep 12, 2004 2:42 pm

I'm in the process of moving from Chicago area to Tampa area, traveling with my 10 year old cat. Yeah, right, I'm sitting in a hotel room in Macon GA watching The Weather Channel tring to determine my next move. But back to the subject at hand re traveling with a pet(s).

I have discovered that LaQuinta Inns have a policy of accepting pets in ALL hotels, unlike many other chains where you must check each one to confirm that they accept.

And don't depend on the internet for accurate info either. I researched a Hampton Inn in Effingham IL that was supposed to accept pets, but when I stopped there they said "No, evidently the internet info has not been updated." I ended up in an awful Ramada and swore that would not happen again.

Next stop was a Days Inn (AAA 3 Diamond) which was VERY nice, but charged $10 extra for a pet.

Called Crowne Plaza in Macon and they wanted $80 for a room and a "$50 deposit" for pet. When I asked if the deposit was refundable they said "NO", so I guess it is really a fee not a "deposit".

Then I discovered this La Quinta Inn in Macon (AAA 3 Diamonds). I see that there are many pet owners who are on to this hotel chain also as I "ran into" a lot of people with their pets, including one family who brought a dog AND a cat.

I'm hooked on this pet-friendly chain not to mention that my room and the hotel in general is terrific!

Do for others what you want them to do for you. (Matthew 7:12)

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Re: Traveling With Your Pet

Postby Diane » Thu Jan 13, 2005 7:51 pm

Here's a post about a Los Angeles pet transport company that someone was very pleased with -

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Re: Traveling With Your Pet

Postby gail » Thu Jan 20, 2005 10:42 am

I will be moving next month with 3 large dogs, 4 cats and my 2-year old grandson. This gets pretty expensive with the pet deposits and even some pet-friendly hotels won't accept this many pets. I thought I would share my solution for what it's worth ...

We will be staying at KOA campgrounds. Most of them have 1 or 2 room cabins where pets are allowed with NO additional deposit. Some have Kottages that are 2-room cabins with their own bathrooms. Only some allow pets in Kottages. Reservations can be made in advance and the cost is much less than motel rooms without the deposit, let alone with an additional pet deposit. There are bunk beds and double beds with mattresses, but you must provide your own linens or sleeping bags. They are heated and/or air-conditioned.

We will have a caravan of 2-3 vehicles moving from Colorado to Florida. The Kottage/Kabin option is perfect for us because there are playgrounds for my grandson and lots of good walking-space for the dogs. We will bring a coffeepot to get us started in the mornings.

I hope this is helpful!?


Re: Traveling With Your Pet

Postby Carol601 » Sat Jan 22, 2005 9:44 am

Last weekend, I moved from Santa Rosa, California to Hattiesburg, Mississippi with 4 cats, a parakeet and a goose. Yup, a goose.

I figured I had 3 choices to get us all here:

1. Drive the big truck and have all the critters in my car which would be trailered behind the truck. I wasn't sure if it was even safe to do that, if everyone would co-exist okay, didn't really want to coop everyone up in cages for 7 hours a day for 5 days, didn't really want to risk the cats escaping (if I didn't cage them) as soon as I opened the door at night, and really didn't want to have to deal with litter boxes.

2. Drive my car cross-country. Same issues with this choice but now I'd have to listen to any complaints the cats might have.

3. Put all of us on an airplane.

I chose Door #3. When I did the research, I found that some airlines would take pets but unfortunately the least expensive airline (Southwest) wouldn't. I had some frequent flyer miles on Northwest (for my flight) and I liked what I read on their web site about their Priority Pet Program ( ... ppet.shtml), so I chose them.

The cats were easy. I got 4 of the Model 100 Vari-Kennels from JB Wholesale Pet Supplies ( ... tesPlastic). They're an excellent company to buy from and their prices are less than Petco.

The first time I called Northwest, I was told that the parakeet couldn't be in the cabin with me so I'd have to airfreight him with the goose (but they'd both be on the same flight as the cats and me). The second time I called, I spoke with their animal specialist, Greg Pittelcow (612-727-6516), who told me that the ban on birds in the cabin was for international flights. Since I was flying in the U.S., the parakeet could go in the cabin with me. And since Memphis (where we had to change planes and the animals would be between planes for 45 minutes) was going to be on the nippy side, he said that was a good thing because he didn't think the keet would survive cold temps.

So, the keet was now easy, too. I got him a little wire carrier at Petco ( ... 6+Carriers) and put that inside a soft-sided kitty carryon bag (where I could also stash a bottle of wine and assorted things).

At first, the goose shipping container was a challenge. Northwest Cargo (800-692-2746) faxed me the IATA regs for the cage, which were pretty intense. My friend, who would have built the cage for me, said it would take one and a half sheets of plywood and would probably weigh a ton. I called Greg Pittelcow and asked him if there was any way that I could instead put the goose in a large dog container. He gave me a waiver on the container requirements to allow me to use the dog container (as long as the goose could stand normally and could turn around, which was the same requirement for the cat cages), with the condition that I put a rubber bath mat on the bottom of the cage (so Goosey Goose wouldn't slide around) and mesh over the wire door so he couldn't peck anyone. I looked at the holes in the wire door and decided that the goose wouldn't be able to peck anyone, so I didn't do the mesh. My friend Jan installed the rubber mat (with a suction cup bottom). Since she's small, she was able to get halfway into the dog cage to mash down on the suction cups. We joked that we could just ship her... put a few feathers on her head and tell the Cargo folks, "Pay no attention to that goose in the container. It may look like a woman, but it's really a goose. See the feathers?" Okay, we were beyond silly at that point.

A week before the plane ride, I took everyone to the vet to get examined for the health certificate. It was time for the cats' annual shots, so we did that at the same time. I put 2 cats in each container and when I got there, realized that one of the cats had peed. I figured it might be my youngest, who had only been to the vet once before, a year ago, so the next day, I put him in the cage and ran errands with him. He wasn't crazy about the cage the second time, either, but I figured it might help him acclimate. I should have done that every day -- with all 4 of them -- for a month before the trip.

Plane Ride Day: My friend Stacia and I loaded up her Cherokee with all the cages and drove 60 miles south to the San Francisco airport. About 30 minutes into the drive, we both smelled an odiferous odor and realized that someone's bowels had let loose. As it turned out, it was 2 of the cats and, of course, the goose. If I had thought that would happen, I would have carried extra padding for the cat cages so they'd have a clean ride. I had put soft blankets and towels in the cages that already had their scent on them.

First stop was Northwest Cargo, where we filled out paperwork, gave them the health certificate, and the goose and cage were weighed. Cost was a little over $300 (they figure dimensional weight). When we were heading back to the car, I lost it. I told Stacia that I thought it was the enormous responsibility I felt and the fear that something bad would happen to Goosey. He's 14.5 years old (life span is 20) and I've had him since I bought the Santa Rosa property when he was 3 years old.

Next stop was the terminal, where the skycap was on his own so he couldn't help us take everyone inside to the counter, so we rented 2 carts and took everyone inside ourselves. There was an issue at the counter about whether I'd prepaid for the cats and parakeet (which I had). Unfortunately, I didn't have any receipts with me (they had inadvertently been put on the moving truck), but I insisted that I'd paid (in fact, Northwest had charged my credit card for 2 more cats and the parakeet twice, but they reversed that after I called to complain). At any rate, that got figured out and we did the paperwork exchange, put labels on the cages, and then went down to the X-ray place. One by one, I held the cats so they could X-ray the cages. Fortunately, none of the cats tried to make a break for it.

The cats were $139 each and the parakeet was $80.

When it was time to go through security to get on the plane, I had my purse, a canvas bag that I usually put my purse inside but hadn't before I got to the security gate, my violin (which the big truck driver said shouldn't go on the truck because of the changes in temperature and humidity), and the parakeet. Four items. The rule is two carryon items. Sure enough, I got to the security entrance and the guard looked at me and all my stuff and said, "How many are traveling?" When I said "one," she said I had too much stuff. I told her I'd consolidate, so I stepped back and put my purse in the canvas bag. When I stepped up again, she gave me a look and I held up the parakeet bag and said, "I just paid $80 for this parakeet to go on board with me." and she just waived me on. Thank God.

Both flights were uneventful. Every once in awhile, the parakeet would chirp and I'd pull the carryon out from under the seat and peer at him. He seemed just fine.

When I changed planes in Memphis, a woman in front of me was looking out the window and said, "Look! Someone's got dogs or something. All these little cages." I took a look and, sure enough, the critters were being transported from a van into the plane. On both planes, a flight attendant gave me one part of a multi-part form and told me that all the animals had been loaded. On the Memphis-to-Jackson flight, the flight attendant and two of the passengers and I talked about our animals. I could tell I was in the South... the people are SO friendly (which is one of the reasons I moved here).

At the Jackson Airport, they brought all 4 cat cages out but I had to ask them to bring the goose to the passenger terminal. He had been delivered to the cargo terminal but since they closed less than 30 minutes after I landed, I wanted to make sure I got him that night. Two people brought him through the door and said, "He's awfully quiet." Before I looked in the cage, I said "Goosey Goose!" and he started honking. That brought almost a dozen airline personnel over, who peered in his cage, looked at all the cats and the parakeet, talked about their animals, wondered if I would miss one of the cats (I told her that my cats were used to a certain level of being spoiled, so if she took one, she'd have to maintain that). We got a lot of attention and, like I said, I could tell I was in the South.

We've been in our new home in Hattiesburg for just about a week now. I'm keeping the cats indoors for another week or two until I build a cat fence since I don't want them wandering the neighborhood (too many dogs). They're slowly acclimating, although I think they spend wayyyy too much time at the top of the walk-in built-in closets. They have recently been gazing out the windows so I bet they're almost ready to go outside.

Mr. Goosey Goose is as happy as a clam. He has a temporary kids wading pool to take a bath in (I had to chase him out of there at 9pm last night... he loves it) and I keep him in the shed at night, again because of the dogs. We're putting up a temporary fence for him today so he'll be able to stay outside all the time.

And the parakeet doesn't even seem to know he's in a different place. His new cage is even larger than the last one, so he practically needs a map to find his food. He sings when I turn out the light, just like he did in California, so I know he'll be fine. I'm getting him a friend soon (his last buddy died a couple of weeks ago) and will probably get the goose a duckling that can imprint on him. Another goose might be a little much for this subdivision, even if we're all on half acre lots. The other day, the neighbor kid (who looks about 8 yrs old) looked over into my backyard, pointed and said, "Oh my God, it's a GOOSE!" My friend Jill, who lives on the next street, said she heard him honk the other day. Sound carries, I guess. When I was writing the offer for this house, I told the realtor that I had a goose and it could be a deal-breaker if I couldn't bring him. She called the listing agent and told her and, after she got over the initial shock, she looked up the CC&Rs for this subdivision and said she didn't see anything there about farm animals.

I hope this rather long story helps people who want to move their households across the country. By the way, the "big truck" I refer to is Broadway Express ( The driver was John Hudson. Excellent, excellent service. I highly recommend them.

Anyone want to come help me unpack boxes? :D

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Re: Traveling With Your Pet

Postby Diane » Wed Aug 16, 2006 6:17 pm

This is another thread that people might want to look at - It includes a very favorable report on Continental Airlines' PetSafe program.

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Re: Traveling With Your Pet

Postby GreenMotion » Wed Aug 16, 2006 10:02 pm

One of those posts is mine. I love continental. One thing I forgot to tell that really impressed me is this:

After I flew back from Amsterdam to Houston with my cat 'Beertje' (dutch for little bear) -- which by the way went as smooth as flying from Houston to amsterdam -- I was told I could pick up my cat at Continentals Cargo facility right down the street.

After having arrived there and showing them my ID and paperwork, they quickly got Beertje for me. They had given him some fresh food and water (which I had to tape on the cage before departure), but they also gave me a little complimentary bag with some cat shampoo, cat tootpaste, some coupons, and I think it contained a toy as well. COOL.

But this is what really impressed me. Appearantly, since I landed on a Sunday evening, I was supposed to have incured an extra charge to cover the 'weekend/off-hours expense of the special customs agent they needed to have onsite to give Beertje clearance to be released. (Don't forget, this was an international flight). I believe the total amounted to around 250 dollars. I was soo happy to see Beertje again, that I was more than willing to pay for this extra charge -- but before I even had time to respond to the representative, she said "Please accept our apologies for not mentioning this to you before your departure in Amsterdam. We (Continental) took care of this extra customs charge for you. Have a nice day!"

WOW. I was really shocked. I am just not used to being treated so fairly by a company :)

Needless to say, I am a loyal Continental Customer now!

Flying with a pet is always very stressful. Not just for us, but also for the animals. But my experience with Contintental is that they do absolutely everything they possibly can to make it a as comfortable and as worry-free as possible for both the animal, as well as the owner.

I did learn a lot from this whole experience. From health-requirements, to paper requirements, etc. etc. If anyone needs any help, feel free to PM me.



Re: Traveling With Your Pet

Postby Guest » Mon Feb 05, 2007 10:18 pm

Just a note that we recently drove from Cincinnati to Seattle with a very large dog (an English Mastiff) and we stayed at La Quinta and they were great! Much nicer hotels than I expected, very clean, and they were awesome about our dog.

We may be repeating this trip in two weeks with our cats...argh!

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Re: Traveling With Your Pet

Postby MusicMom » Mon Feb 05, 2007 10:23 pm

I bet that dog required his own bed! Yikes!

Good luck with the cats.

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Re: Traveling With Your Pet

Postby MusicMom » Wed Jun 06, 2007 11:00 am

Here are some more articles on travelling/moving with your pet (thanks for the links, TT)

Articles for moving with your Dog

Articles for moving with your Cat


I found each of these at so if you have a pet other than these, you can probably find something by searching "Moving, [type of animal]", like "moving, hamster".

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Re: Traveling With Your Pet

Postby haveacupcake » Mon Jul 09, 2007 10:54 am

We have to fly from LAX to JFK later this month with our two cats. Our oldest - flex from CLT to LAX 4 years ago - no sedation - no problems on US Airways, so I'm not worried about him. Our younger cat - is afraid of his own shadow. When we have visitors - he hides for days. The least little sounds sends him scurrying under the bed. I wanted to take them both on the plane with me - but was too afraid about the bit where you have to take them out of the crate to go through the security checkpoint. Either I would be ripped to shreds - or he would run away. So they're going as cargo, which I hate. But my question is - should I sedate the younger cat. I'm worried that he will be SO terrified that he will have heart failure or injure himself. The only other option I've though of - is putting a blanket in with him - because he loves to hide under the covers on our bed - BUT - I'm worried that the airline peeps will open the gate to make sure it's really a cat or something - and he will escape. Any advice? Don't say drive - it's not an option. :wink:

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Re: Traveling With Your Pet

Postby farrah7031 » Mon Jul 09, 2007 11:36 am

Hopefully you have a non-stop flight? If not, you should definitely change your flight. How long is it - 5 hours or so? Sedation lasting that long shouldn't be too much of a problem, but definitely call your vet.

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