November 23, 2009

traveling with kids may actually be less insane

after work tonight, i'm headed up to NJ to my parents' house for the rest of the week. it's pretty perfect: i'll be "working from home" tuesday and wednesday, but still get to hang out with my family during down time. and my sister will be home! she's in for the week from stanford, but has to go back again on friday, so happily this plan will let me see her for a few days since she'll be gone already by the weekend.

when i talked to my parents this weekend about the trip home, they asked if i'd be bringing the cats with me. ahhh. yes. the cats.

my cats, um, "dislike" car travel. oliver especially takes riding in cars as a personal offense, and makes VERY SURE that his aversion is known to everyone with eardrums. i had to buy a special soft-sided cat carrier for him, because when he's closed up in one of those AND in a moving vehicle at the same time, he.. um.. well, he basically has self-imposed cat seizures. in addition to the dramatic yowling, he throws his very large self around in the very small (previously hard-sided) cat carrier, to the extent that he physically injures himself and has thrown the entire contraption off the seat of the car with his carrying on. the vets' only suggestion (tranqs don't appear to work on him!) was to get a softer cat carrier so that he couldn't hurt himself as badly.

so i did! and he quite literally ripped it to pieces. while inside of it. he's... special.

so i was thinking about the sure-to-be-dramatic ride home, should i choose to take the cats with me, and it occurred to me that i thought i'd seen a way to strap dogs into the back seat of cars. i presume it's meant more as a way to protect them from flying through the windshield in the event of an accident, but for my purposes i thought it might serve as a way to allow oliver some freedom during the ride and hopefully placate his righteous fury at being forced to be IN A CAR while it was MOVING, GOD. THE HUMANITY.

so! i headed to petco, explained the predicament to a (very amused) store employee, and came home with this:

i mean yes, technically, it's for a dog, but oliver's kind of on the huge side. and what do you know! it fits him perfectly. so i brought him down to the car and strapped him in.

1122091915

surprisingly, he doesn't appear to mind the harness so much. or even being attached to a seatbelt (despite the sad pawing-at-the-door going on here). however, once the car starts moving? GAH. the yowling. it starts. and NEVER STOPS. NOT EVER. seriously: the last time i brought him home, he cried for literally the entire three hour journey. he didn't get tired; he didn't get bored; he didn't go hoarse. he just cried. REALLY LOUDLY. for three hours. and this time it would be with TWO cats! one of whom is siamese, and "talks" a lot even when she's perfectly happy!

i'll let you know how it goes. if i make it home, that is, without driving off a bridge to MAKE IT STOP OMG MAKE IT STOP. or maybe, since he's apparently big enough for dog harnesses, i should look into dog-sized tranquilizers?

29 comments:

missris said...

Oh wow that sounds delightful! All kidding aside, um, good luck. Bring earplugs or use your ipod?

Liebchen said...

Oof. Good luck. We used to have to give our dog dramamine because he got car sick. That was *not* pretty.

BigSis said...

Yikes. I don't envy you. My cats hate the car because it always means the vet!

Jess said...

That's hilarious. Montana has a seat belt similar to that. It's to prevent her not only from flying through the windshield if there were an accident, but also from flying INTO US at a high velocity, thus killing us. Yes, we're selfish and we buckle our dog in out of pure self-interest. But I would also prefer not to have her be killed, so: WIN-WIN.

I will say, though it probably isn't that big of a deal, that when I was researching doggy seat belts, I found a few websites warning about ones that cover the throat, because that can cause esophageal damage if they're thrown against it hard. I don't know if the same thing is true of cats, since they're smaller, or if it matters. But the seat belt we got for Montana fits over her chest and has kind of a v-neck to avoid her throat.

Good luck on the drive! Fingers crossed for no yowling.

BeckEye said...

You can give dogs Benadryl, which pretty much knocks them out or really calms them down. I don't know if it works on crazy cats though.

Marie said...

I bet you kids are the same. So if you want to have kids one day this would be practice, no?

Hope everything goes well! Have a wonderful time at your parents! And Happy Thanksgiving!

lacochran said...

Despite all the suggestions above, I'd strongly advise against giving an animal a drug intended for humans. Oliver is big but no where near the body weight for which those drugs are intended.

I had a cat who yowled continuously in the car no matter what. I never did figure out what that was all about. Instead, I hired a cat sitter. It was worth it. She not only fed and petted the cat and changed the litter, she took in my mail and watered my plants and I could call her and she'd give me a report on how the cat was doing. Next time, consider it.

Wishing you and Oliver a very happy Thanksgiving!

kilax said...

LOL! When we brought Data to IL, it was a 6 hour drive from IA. 1.5 hours in my car, 4.5 for Steven. And he yowled the entire time too. You would think they would shut up, but they never do! Poor things :(

Have a wonderful holiday with your family! Good luck with the drive!

kcinnova said...

When we moved across the country 2-1/2 years ago, our cat came with us (of course). It was fodder for our annual Christmas letter. She can get out of the harness (she's a skinny little thing, only 10 pounds in winter). And while she does okay in the cat carrier/kennel for short trips to the vet, I won't be taking her on vacation. It's better for all to get a cat sitter, at least it is in my world!

Kristabella said...

I drove across the country (Cali to Chicago) in my little Nissan Sentra with my cat who whines just like that, when she's in the car. I didn't even put her in the carrier because we were going to be in the car for a long time.

She finally stopped when she wedged herself under the driver's seat. She didn't eat or drink for three days. I was sure she was going to die.

Now the cats stay at home.

Pickles and Dimes said...

OMG. That harness looks AWESOME.

I wish you the best of luck in your journey. Neither one of my cats are good travelers. Abby will yowl nonstop and hurt herself in her carrier, but if you let her out, she'll wrap herself around your neck. I tried the tranquilizer route one time and it did not go well AT ALL.

Earplugs?

carissajaded said...

Yeah... that's just one of like 40,000 of the reasons I don't own a cat... Doesn't look like fun!

artemisia said...

Oh, my holy hell, I am laughing so hard. I am sorry. But the idea of these cats acting like such idiots has me laughing. Wooo, boy.

I do hope the harness works and Oliver settles down once you are into the drive a bit. I just LOVE that picture of him.

Good luck!

Snoopyfan said...

Does he also have drool running out the sides of his mouth making him look rabid by the end of the trip? Because one of my cats does that along with the yowling within 3 minutes of getting her in the car! It's lovely.

Shelly said...

I had a cat who would do the yowling bit, too, except in addition to that she would make herself throw up. Delightful.

Dysfunction Junction: said...

I actually miss Bella & Oliver...

Something is VERY wrong with that sentence.

justjp said...

HAHAHAHA!!!! Only you...

d e v a n said...

hee! At least it's only 3 hours.

Fiona Picklebottom said...

Turn up the radio. Really really LOUD.

Shelly Overlook said...

Can you get meds from your vet? That way the dosage is correct and you don't have to have the "OMG I gave my cat human drugs" guilt. I used them when I flew my cats across the country when we moved. It didn't knock them out, just made them sort of stoned. It was perfect.

Other than that, may I suggest a large bottle of tequila waiting for you on the other end?

Safe travels and Happy Thanksgiving, my friend.

alexa - cleveland's a plum said...

OMG it's a cat harness! HA!

have a nice time at home : )

Sid said...

Your cat's huge enough for a dog harness??? Geez. Love how you refer to your cat's noise as "talking".

Bathwater said...

The nice thing about cats-- they can be left at home, I say.

Hillary said...

I hope it went well. We tried one of those harnesses on Stella and she chewed through it (and partly through the seatbelt of my car.)
Have a nice holiday :)

bernthis said...

there has been no update so I will assume you are in the loony bin right now

parkingathome said...

oh but so cute, little kitty

SoMi's Nilsa said...

I hope your trip home went well. If not dog-sized tranquilizers, you should look into dog-sized bark collars. They give a nice little shock every time a dog barks (or cat meows???). =)

Toe said...

Luckily my cat yells but eventually stays quiet. I've found if you dope them up with some Calms Forte it works pretty good.

LiLu said...

We have dual yowlers, and I've only ever suffered through that for, say, a half an hour.

I am not jealous of you.