The Special,- Precious, Petite- PrinCESS
|Purred: Mon Dec 15, '14 3:46pm PST |
|You must not be the first person to be in this quandry. I'll just give you the benefit of my similar experience.
I'm a senior citizen with a vacation home in the mountains, about a 5 to 6 hour drive from home; when I visit there, all three house cats go with me. I admit: they hate the trip, but they're good travelers. They've all been doing this for many years (7,12,13), so they know the ropes.
First, make sure your cats are chipped AND wear a harness with every bit of info on it. MIne wear their rabies tags, their insurance tags, their i.d. tags. On the i.d. tags, I have both my home and vacation numbers; you should put your number and your parents' number. And get a small dog harness for each of them, with a leash; do NOT get a figure-8 harness, which seem to be popular, because the cat can be hanged if it catches up on something.
I'd recommend the largest carriers you can fit into your vehicle - one for each cat - big enough to hold a bed and a small litter box. You can buy throw-away boxes cheaply. I find that mine don't generally eat or drink on the trips, but your trip is longer, so it would probably be a good idea to stop somewhere and offer water - saved from a can of tuna would be good, entice them to drink. Be certain to leave teh leashes attached at all times (small leashes are soft - the cat can lie on them without discomfort - and keep hold of the leash when opening the carrier.
When you get to your parentes', put the cats, still in their carriers, into your room; leave a light on if it's dark. Put your own things there, close the door and go greet your family. The cats will hear your voice, and that will reassure them. After a while, go in and open the carrier doors. Put down a *little* food and some water; reassure them - and leave them to explore, making sure to close the bedroom door. By the next morning, you should be able to leave the bedroom door open and let them explore the new surroundings. Mine have made the trip to the mountains so many times now that they're just as much home there as here. If you take the cats now, while they're young, and get them used to their "vacation" home, it will be the same as home to them.
One caveat: they might not like traveling - mine don't - they hide if i change clothes in the morning, for that's a sign that I'm going out and it might mean THE TRIP! Some cats like it; some don't. YOu'll just have to see how yours are.
All that being said, cats do tend to be territorial; I read somewhere, long ago, that dogs are attached to people, but cats are attached to places. I have no idea if this is true, but just put it out there for your consideration. It might be that your cats will be less stressed in their own environment with a catsitter whom they know and you trust. The thing is - we miss them so! I was in hospital for 2 nights last week; even in my drugged state, I missed my Althea. It's your choice, of course, but perhpos making the cats 'world travelers' now will make life easier for them.
Whatever you decide, God bless you for caring so deeply.
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