A basic truth that I learned long ago is this; dogs belong to a person, cats belong to a place.
With a dog, you can pack your house, have strangers come and load your stuff up and move it, and, at the very last moment, open the passenger-side door to your car and say, “Lets go!”
But a cat, well a cat has to be warned and prepared for a move in advance. When threatened or scared, cats are much like drunken people, they are not completely responsible for their actions and do things they never would when unafraid.
I have done emergency sessions to find cats that become lost during a move and clients who only had limited time to find them and vacate the premises. In one case meanwhile the cat was nowhere to be found initially. In time however she was found hiding in a corner of a closet it had never been in before. Moving had totally panicked her.
When I brought my first Tucson cat to the veterinarian to be neutered (code words; first ride in car) it was dicey. Speedy pulled out three of his claws while meowing like a screaming Banshee and holding onto the metal wiring of the crate. There was a buzz of conversation in the vet’s office was that a woman had brought in a cat in inside a pillowcase, only to have her finger bitten all the way through to the bone. Cats are best in hard-sided carriers or, at the very least, a solid container of some kind.
Some cats will ride in cars calmly; I have never owned one of them. My cat Peewee was calm, but he would climb all around the vehicle and as I described previously, disappeared once inside the dashboard of my Dodge diesel pickup truck for several hours.
Elvis, who has to explore everything, popped up in the car one day right after I had left the driveway. Thinking I had just a few errands to run and he could come along, I continued on my way. Elvis came up to the front seat then straddled me a cried plaintively, so intensely that when I stopped the car and parked it, he managed to rush out ahead, meowing up at me from the pavement. I scooped up Elvis, and decided to curtail my trip before anything worse happened.
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