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Animals In Print
The On-Line Newsletter

From 31 March 2003 Issue

Ear Cropping & Cat Car Travel

Dear Jillouise:

I know this woman who has a rescued pit bull. The dog was very badly abused and had one ear torn off by dogs forced to fight. The thing is, it's a pit bull and people crop pit bulls' ears all the time. So, why not just crop the other ear and have a matching set?

-Friend of Woman With One-Eared Pit Bull

Hi Friend,

Hey, what's wrong with a one-eared dog? Uniqueness is not a crime. No, do not cut off her other ear! "Cropping" dogs' ears is an unnecessary mutilation/surgical procedure that needs to stop. Thanks for bringing up the topic.

Jillouise Breslauer

Companion Animal Behavior Consultant


Dear Jillouise:

Our family is moving next month and we are worried about transporting our three family cats. Two of them, Navy, 16 pounds and Rum, 17 pounds, are big cats. Flower is a petite 10 pounds. All are neutered, vaccinated and relatively well behaved.

Navy and Flower are good friends, but neither are terribly close with Rum, who is older.

We are looking forward to showing all of them their new home, which is equipped with kitty doors in every door (so they can move freely from room to room, even if the doors are closed)! We think they will love it, and want to make the ride there as enjoyable as possible.

We'll be driving from Rhode Island to Delaware, possibly stopping overnight at a motel along the way (Moving can be so exhausting). Should we let the cats loose in the S.U.V. with us? We don't want to put them in the moving van, for obvious reasons. What if we have to stop for an overnight break? What about litterpans? Food? What is best for our cats? It's a long drive and we don't want them to be uncomfortable, but we've never done this before. Thanks for your advice,

Dan & Family

Dear Dan and Family:

Congratulations on your new home! I love the idea about the cat doors, that's wonderful!

To help make your cats' long car ride and possible overnight motel stay more comfortable and safe, I recommend they travel IN CARRIERS ONLY. Companion animals that are loose in the vehicle become projectiles, should the vehicle have to stop short. This creates an extremely dangerous situation in which the animals can be fatally injured. Buckle up and always transport companion animals in sturdy, roomy carriers or special dog "seat belt" harnesses (for dogs only). For such a long trip I suggest an individual, oversize carrier for each cat. Personally, I use a "medium" size crate for each of my kitties...sure it takes up a lot of space, but I squeeze them into the car. Their medium sized Deluxe Vari Kennel is 21-1/2" W x 27" L x 20" H and the intermediate size is 22-1/2" W x 32" L x 23" H (but that's HUGE for can hold two, maybe even three small, good buddies). The size of the crate is usually engraved in the small ledge above the pet carrier's door.

Place in each carrier; a soft towel for kitty to lie on; a small litterpan with their usual litter in it; fresh water; a dish of dry food; a familiar toy or other soft object. The carrier should be roomy enough for kitty to get up, turn around, use the litterbox and retreat to the safety of his/her own towel or other soft bedding. Place the water and food away from the litterbox. Place the carriers side by side in a row and secure them into the vehicle with either seat belts through the handles or some fastening device, like nylon rope or web belt. Secure them well to a car seat or something, so they do not shift or slide around, should the vehicle be forced to stop suddenly.

Keep the carriers in a climate-controlled environment that is comfortable for them. If the cats get upset in the car, you can place a towel over the carrier to make them feel more comfortable. It's a good idea to take them for short, pleasurable rides in their carriers in the car before the big moving day, to get them used to riding in the car.

A final note of caution: A day or two before the moving van arrives, keep a very close eye on your kitties. The stress and tension of a big move can upset and confuse companion animals. They can easily burrow into a piece of furniture headed for the moving van, slip out a door or disappear out a cracked window. It might be a good idea to secure all the cats in one room prior to the Big Move Day, with all their prepared carriers nearby. Make sure they each have identification on their collars, complete with their new address and phone number, as well as a number where you can be reached along the way (cell phone or other). If you do stop over at a motel, take your cats into the room with you--- never leave them unattended in your vehicle. You can let them out of their carriers for a walk around the room for a short while or for the night, but be very careful they do not slip out the motel door!!

If your cats do not travel well, you can consult your vet about giving them medication to sedate them for the ride.

With a little preparation your cats can have a comfortable trip. I hope that you ALL have a very nice trip and enjoy your new home!

Love and paw pats,
Jillouise Breslauer
Companion Animal Behavior Consultant
What Jill Knows, Copyright 2002
e-mail: [email protected]  


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