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Discussion Starter #1
My husband began his career as a long haul trucker about a year ago. Around the same time, my mother found a stray kitten and began trying to find a home for it. We decided that a cat would be a perfect companion for my husband on the road, so we adopted him. We had him neutered and vaccinated in preparation for his transfer to the truck. Then we found out that my husband would be on a waiting list for approval to have a live animal in the truck with him. After that he was told he was on a waiting list to get a new truck within the year. This means paying a $500 fumigation fee twice, so we have to wait on his new truck to avoid that.
So that means that my mother has been keeping Red cat for us until his truck is ready. That has become upwards of a year. Red is a super sweet kitty, but he has now grown up an outdoor cat in the rural southeast. He's quite the hunter and enjoys prowling around in nature. He loves dogs and is very affectionate, but also likes to run around and play.
Long story short, I'm afraid he won't adjust well to life in the cab of a big rig. We love him dearly, and want him in our lives, but I don't know how we can bring him home if he can't live in the truck. My housemates hate cats and even when we move out we will have at least one dog that can't be trusted with him.
Does anyone have any insight or suggestions for dealing with this predicament?
 

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Not all cats, whether they were raised in the truck or not, will be good trucking cats. Is your mother willing to keep him if it doesn't work out? I'd give it a try at least, but, really, it takes a very specific personality for a cat to enjoy that and not many cats will have that specific personality.
 

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Not all cats, whether they were raised in the truck or not, will be good trucking cats. Is your mother willing to keep him if it doesn't work out? I'd give it a try at least, but, really, it takes a very specific personality for a cat to enjoy that and not many cats will have that specific personality.
We are definitely going to give it a go. We are super attached to him. My mother would watch him forever as long as I bought his food, but I'm worried about family tension with her boyfriend if it became a long term thing. Our "no cats" dog is a senior so it may be possible to incorporate Red into the household eventually. It would be optimal if he could learn to be happy in the truck, but I haven't really found a way to train a cat to get used to anything. Thanks for your time.
 

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It does take a certain feline personality - out of the many cats we've had, only two stand out as good 'car' cats and cats who didn't mind new places, new people. Both were exposed to car rides, socializing at a young age. I would start with just having the cat with you and your husband in the truck, truck not moving. Let him explore. Feed him something he really likes. Get him used to collar and harness, too. Get him a cat carrier to retreat to, if he wants some quiet time - maybe throw some catnip in there so he associates the crate with good things. Start the truck up, but don't go anywhere, just sit until he gets used to the noise. Take him for a short car ride (both of you, in case one needs to corral an unhappy cat). You do realize the cat will need a litter box in the truck? If he's been an outside cat, he may not recognize the litter, so you might have to throw some dirt on top at the beginning to give him the idea. There are special litters that absorb liquid and odors pretty well and don't track all over like regular litter, you might want to experiment with them to find the right fit.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
It does take a certain feline personality - out of the many cats we've had, only two stand out as good 'car' cats and cats who didn't mind new places, new people. Both were exposed to car rides, socializing at a young age. I would start with just having the cat with you and your husband in the truck, truck not moving. Let him explore. Feed him something he really likes. Get him used to collar and harness, too. Get him a cat carrier to retreat to, if he wants some quiet time - maybe throw some catnip in there so he associates the crate with good things. Start the truck up, but don't go anywhere, just sit until he gets used to the noise. Take him for a short car ride (both of you, in case one needs to corral an unhappy cat). You do realize the cat will need a litter box in the truck? If he's been an outside cat, he may not recognize the litter, so you might have to throw some dirt on top at the beginning to give him the idea. There are special litters that absorb liquid and odors pretty well and don't track all over like regular litter, you might want to experiment with them to find the right fit.
I really like all of this advice and I'm relieved we have already worked on a lot of this. He's indoor/outdoor so he uses a litterbox pretty well. So far the litter we like the best is the lightweight product. I can't recall the brand. It seemed to be the best at masking odor when I used it at the shelter. If you have other brand suggestions I'd like to hear about them. We have also been crate training. He does really well in it despite my lack of ability in training in general. He uses a collar and leash already, but we pretty much gave up on the harness. Do you think a collar would be enough, or should we keep at harness training? He's a good car riding cat, but being in a big truck will probably be a whole different experience. You're advice on acclimating him will come in handy.
 

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That's good he's already used to car rides, hopefully the truck won't be a big adjustment. As far as the harness and collar, the question is, can he back out of the collar if something scares him? Would he be able to back out of the harness? If the harness is more secure, I would keep working to get him used to wearing it. Is there a treat or food he really, really likes? Use that to reward him for wearing the harness.
Our one car-riding cat, Bailey, hated being shut in her crate and would complain loudly until the door was opened, but had no problem retreating to her crate as a 'safe' place. (We always made sure she was crated when we stopped to refuel or at a rest area, and would let her back out once we were on the road again.) Cats do like 'safe' places - something to keep in mind for your truck-riding kitty. Is your cat chipped? Might want to consider it, if he's not.
 

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Is your cat chipped? Might want to consider it, if he's not.
We had him chipped when he was fixed.
Thanks again for harness tips. So far he has not taken to it. He lays completely still, as if paralyzed, until it is removed. Hopefully with some work he will get used to it.
 

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We had him chipped when he was fixed.
Thanks again for harness tips. So far he has not taken to it. He lays completely still, as if paralyzed, until it is removed. Hopefully with some work he will get used to it.
Yeah, we had a couple of cats who would just fall over (and one who turned somersaults all over the room), but they eventually got used to the idea.
 
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