Travels North with Dog and Cat

Submitted: Thursday, Jan 31, 2008 at 20:28
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Further to my last post (I should have kept a note of the number) we travelled to FNQ with the cat and dog. This was a trial, ready for some big trips.

We were towing with a Coramal Excel 511 pop top with a Land rover Freelander, 3lt Petrol. Although the Land rover did well overall it was stretched, especially climbing, and the fuel consumption almost doubled whilst towing. Hence since the trip I have just traded the Rover in for a Nissan Patrol, Diesel.

We were obviously restricted where we could stay with animals, but with the help of the camps 4 and other publications we found enough caravan parks which were only too happy to accommodate the animals. For this first outing we did not stay in any of the free camping areas.

Our dog is deaf and blind with a few other problems, I keep saying he is on his last legs. However he lay in the back and as time went on became used to the routine. When he wanted to stop, he would bark, this could be for water or a pee, mostly both. The hardest part was lifting the dog in and out of the Rover.

The cat we kept in a large cage in the back with the dog. He is a nervous cat but I was amazed by him. We would stop and let him out in the van were he would have a feed and use his litter if needed, and never tried to get out. In the evening when we had made camp and the sun was setting, he would go out and explore, coming back to the van to check that the door was still open for him. He seemed to enjoy all the different stops.

So overall it was a great trip, we stopped in Eidsvold, Biloela, Clairview (just north of Rocky), Mackay, Bluewater (just out of T'ville) and Cardwell. We took eight days to get there, which was a bit quick, next time will be a couple of months at least. Whilst there the rain started, we gave it a day or two and it looked as though it was settling in. So we hoofed it out of there and just missed all the flooding.

At the moment we are waiting for the cooler weather to take another trip, the animals certainly did not enjoy the heat whilst travelling, even with the air con on it got a bit hot for them in the back.

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Reply By: Member - BIGDOG G (WA) - Thursday, Jan 31, 2008 at 20:35

Thursday, Jan 31, 2008 at 20:35
Bloody cruel...........If yu ask me. poor buggers be better of at home

AnswerID: 284804

Follow Up By: Member - Michael B (QLD) - Thursday, Jan 31, 2008 at 20:42

Thursday, Jan 31, 2008 at 20:42
No it was not cruel. We travelled in the cool of the morning most days and stopped early to avoid the heat on the odd day that it was not overcast. For the whole trip there was only one day that the animals were a bit stressed. I watch my friends very carefully.
FollowupID: 549563

Follow Up By: Jim from Best Off Road - Thursday, Jan 31, 2008 at 20:52

Thursday, Jan 31, 2008 at 20:52


It is cleaer that Michael and his GLW love their animals.

Most would simply put down an old, deaf, blind dog rather than carry such an "hindrance" on a trip. Sounds to me like the old dog is enjoying his retirement years.

FollowupID: 549566

Follow Up By: Willem - Thursday, Jan 31, 2008 at 20:54

Thursday, Jan 31, 2008 at 20:54
Don't worry Michael, Big Dog has a thing about travelling with pets and posts negative things on this forum. He's all bark......!!!!

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Follow Up By: Member No 1- Thursday, Jan 31, 2008 at 21:53

Thursday, Jan 31, 2008 at 21:53
dont let willem near your cat
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Follow Up By: Wizard1 - Friday, Feb 01, 2008 at 12:10

Friday, Feb 01, 2008 at 12:10

What a well thought and narrow minded response. So enlighten us with your experiences of travelling wth pets?

Our dogs wouldn't cope if we left them at home. Try and get out the driveway without the retreaver or border collie trying to jump in the car. I wouldn't exactly call sitting in an aircon car as cruel.

You have no idea what you are talking about. You might not do it or agree. That doesn't mean it doesn't suit others or their pets.

We've travelled all over the country with ours and would do it again.
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Reply By: DIO - Thursday, Jan 31, 2008 at 20:41

Thursday, Jan 31, 2008 at 20:41
It certainly sounds like you had a wonderful time. Your dog obviously has his own unique form of communication despite his afflictions. I have a19 yr old cat that also has diminished hearing so I can more or less relate to some of your experiences. I am a bit worried about your statement that you let the cat out at night to wonder around and find it's own way back to the van. Remember that in many parts of rural Australia the very effective and swift acting 1080 Poison is used to control feral animals. It is absolutely lethal to domestic pets. Furthermore there is the worry that your cat may be interferring with wildlife, perhaps even killing some. This really is a no-no and something you should think about for the future. I don't really know what would be an alternative arrangement for you and still alow you to travel.
Pleased to hear that you had a great trip and by upgrading your tow vehicle hopefully it will make any future travels easier on both your vehicle and budget.
AnswerID: 284810

Follow Up By: Member - Michael B (QLD) - Thursday, Jan 31, 2008 at 20:49

Thursday, Jan 31, 2008 at 20:49
For some reason our cat does not chase birds or other animals. It never strays far from the van and wanders in the close vicinity of the van. But I do see your point.

Also, I did not realise that there could be 1080 poison in the vicinity, however as we we were in van parks this I assume was not a problem on this trip.
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Reply By: Member - Ian W (NSW) - Thursday, Jan 31, 2008 at 20:59

Thursday, Jan 31, 2008 at 20:59
Seems to me that you had less hassles travelling with your pets than we had with our kids.

Wanna swap?

AnswerID: 284814

Reply By: Member - Royce- Thursday, Jan 31, 2008 at 21:09

Thursday, Jan 31, 2008 at 21:09
You obviously love your animals and feel like you need them with you. I understand.

I'm very worried about letting a cat out to freely hunt though. I guess a few lizards and beetles killed won't change the world, but if everyone did this.... not nice.

I have my pets looked after by family and friends when tripping away.

Anyway.... enjoy your travels.
AnswerID: 284819

Follow Up By: Member - Michael B (QLD) - Thursday, Jan 31, 2008 at 21:37

Thursday, Jan 31, 2008 at 21:37
Its not that we feel we need them with us, there is no alternative really. We have recently moved house from Brisbane to the Bush and have no friends near as such. Our Daughter lives fairly close, but it would be a hassle to look after the animals.

I guess lizards and beatles etc could well be on the cats play list. I suppose all we can do is find a way of confining the cat with some sort of run within the bounds of the van.

Any valid suggestions from other would be most welcome.
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Reply By: Member - Dunworkin (WA) - Thursday, Jan 31, 2008 at 21:38

Thursday, Jan 31, 2008 at 21:38
When I was young (many years ago) my family use to travel the Nullabor to visit grandparent etc back in SA, we use to take our dog and cat with us, one night we couldn't find the cat, (it was a late stop) we spent ages looking for him then thought that he would come back in the morning, but no, morning came and no cat, we called and called but still no cat so as kids we reluctantly got back into the vehicle to head off and leave our beloved cat behind (evan Mum was in tears), Dad started the car and there was a screech from under the bonet, Dad quickly switched off the car and opened the bonnet and low and behold there was the cat, had spent the cold sleeping on the engine of the car, the only injury was a lump of fur taken from off his side where apparently the fan must have scraped. Ahhhh the memories.

Just a thought, is there anyway that you could find a long lead, I mean a loooooooooooong lead so that he could just wonder around under the van and not head out looking for the above mentioned wild life or pick up any baits? It would surely be enough to let him have the excercise he needs.

Good luck with your travels.



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Follow Up By: Member - Michael B (QLD) - Thursday, Jan 31, 2008 at 21:59

Thursday, Jan 31, 2008 at 21:59
Yes, from the concerns of some I will look at restraint in some way. I was thinking more of a barrier of mesh of some sort around the van that would restrict the cat. I will look into it.
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Follow Up By: Member - Pedro the One (QLD) - Friday, Feb 01, 2008 at 00:48

Friday, Feb 01, 2008 at 00:48
Hi Michael ................

did the same as you many years ago [in the early sixties, I think] with two cats! As you found, they rarely wandered far from the camps anyway ..... usually came skittering back inside at the first sign of danger.

I now have a Beagle and when in public areas or campgrounds I simple run a 'looooong' runner of light cord ..... fasten one end to the ground with a tentpeg [hammered ALL the way in] ..... and the other end fastened to say, the tent/van/truck/tree/anywhere. Each lead can be as long as circumstances dictate and for cats, as light as possible. [Cats normally don't chew through cordage .... unlike Beagles !! ]

This is a very simple, cheap and EFFECTIVE solution .... should you choose to accept the mission !! And it can be used ANYWHERE.

Hope this helps .......................
FollowupID: 549630

Reply By: Hairy (NT) - Thursday, Jan 31, 2008 at 23:56

Thursday, Jan 31, 2008 at 23:56
Just a sugestion?....Feed your cat to the dog.
But seriously ,...what an accomplishment!
I dont know how you did it!

In a Land Rover!!!


AnswerID: 284861

Reply By: Member - Ruth D (QLD) - Friday, Feb 01, 2008 at 10:17

Friday, Feb 01, 2008 at 10:17
Michael, good on you for giving it a go. We have two chocolate Labs nearly 10 years old and an 18 month old Birman cat (replacement for another Birman who should have been 11 now). As we live mainly in Birdsville the animals had to travel with us all the time - which can be a pain in the neck. When we got the new Birman I decreed that he would have to learn early about camping/leads etc. So as we were near the east coast we all took off for a camp at Gordon Country (near Cunningham's Gap) - everything was fine and Ian took the dogs for a walk and Buster had to go too, so he did. That evening, after Buster the cat had been around camp all day, he couldn't be found. There were about six camps of us and a couple of other dogs as well. So, said I - turns the lights out, don't worry about it - no more cats or dogs, that's it (this to Ian who loves his kitty more than me). As soon as the lights were out and everyone in their swags or campers I said goodnight to everyone (and Bster) and then I heard this little miaow. Ever since then we know to look up behind the long drawers in the camper because it's a great hidey hole and very cool. Now we have the new Toyota Ute Ian has built a big cage which sits across the back for the dogs, but Buster has decided he prefers to be in the cage with his dog brothers and that's where he goes! Causes some very odd looks when pulling up in a town for supplies or fuel. He doesn't go very far from the camper - we are normally bush camping anyway - but I do put him either in the zipped up bedroom or back into the cage at the early evening. Funnily enough, in a busy area Buster will automatically sit on top of the cage or get into the cage (especially if other dogs around). At either home he isn't allowed to be out an night anyway (and his breeder thinks he is an inside cat at all times and would be horrified if she knew what he gets up too) but he is happy provided he has the dogs or us with him. Our dogs are always tied up to the ute when camping and both dogs are never off together because they are untrained Labs (Ian doesn't seem to believe in training dogs or kids! which causes some dramas believe me) and Labs will go for miles and get into as many fights as they can, regardless of their lovely nature. He spends most camp places trying to catch flies and bugs rather than lizards or birds. At this house I have a bird feeder for the lorikeets and King parrots and finches - he tries hard but they sit above him and drop bird poo on him mostly, and the magpies taunt him terribly.
During our time in the caravan park for ten years, we were amazed at the number of people travelling with their pets and always welcomed them - birds, dogs, cats, rats, mice (didn't allow the camels tho) and even a ferret (first one I'd ever seen) - oh yes, and rabbits and lizards.
In ten years I didn't ever see a pet owner who was not responsible - I did meet plenty of pet owners of little dogs in caravans who assured me that their little 'Buffy' was like a person and never yapped at all (except when the owner walked away to go to the pub), and I can say from 10 years experience that pets were less trouble in a crowded caravan park than kids (yes, we do have four kids and three pets), and yes we do love kids and grandies (2). If something happens to all our pets I'll probably have to have Ian put down out of pity for his grief! And, to all those nasty people - Willem has never even given our cat Buster so much as a nasty look and Buster usually tries to lie on his foot! LOL.
AnswerID: 284902

Follow Up By: ExplorOz Team - Michelle - Friday, Feb 01, 2008 at 11:56

Friday, Feb 01, 2008 at 11:56
Hiya Ruth!
Wow that house looks great, but it most certainly isn't nestled in Birdsville - where are you building?
Michelle Martin
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Follow Up By: Member - Ruth D (QLD) - Friday, Feb 01, 2008 at 13:46

Friday, Feb 01, 2008 at 13:46
Hi Michelle, lovely to talk to you. No this house is in Rathdowney - hence the green you can see. Ian is building it, piece by piece (mistake by mistake) - he is framing the windows in spare rooms as I type. We bought one of the old houses in Birdsville and Ian built the world's largest garden shed there (second last house to the Simpson Desert) and we are headed there just before Easter for 6 months. It will be our winter camp - easy to get to other places from there! So we can be nomadic. Hope the girls are well, is it school time yet? Ruth
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Follow Up By: ExplorOz Team - Michelle - Friday, Feb 01, 2008 at 14:10

Friday, Feb 01, 2008 at 14:10
Rathdowney looks delightful. Good luck with the project! Yes WA kids go back to school next week and I can hardly believe it but Chardae is starting Kindy this year and Leah is going into Year 2. For risk of hijacking this post I will continue on MM when I get a moment but David is just about to walk out the door with Leah on a Dads and Daughters camping trip with some mates so I must fly... chat later :-)
Michelle Martin
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Follow Up By: Willem - Friday, Feb 01, 2008 at 14:13

Friday, Feb 01, 2008 at 14:13

How come I get a feature in your thread....LOL

The house is coming on nicely.


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Follow Up By: Member - Ruth D (QLD) - Saturday, Feb 02, 2008 at 08:17

Saturday, Feb 02, 2008 at 08:17
Willem, I stuck up for you in my reply because you are my friend and Member No. 1 made a disparaging remark about you, see above, that's why you got mentioned!
FollowupID: 549857

Follow Up By: Willem - Saturday, Feb 02, 2008 at 08:38

Saturday, Feb 02, 2008 at 08:38
Thanks Ruth

I think I should go down to the Adelaide Hills and stomp on Member No 1's toes. He is a very naughty young

FollowupID: 549860

Follow Up By: Member - Michael B (QLD) - Saturday, Feb 02, 2008 at 11:21

Saturday, Feb 02, 2008 at 11:21
Thanks Ruth, what a great story. Our cat at home is also locked up at night in the house. As per in the van, once in he stays until first light. He then has a short time to do his business and as soon as noises occur he is back in the van and sleeps most of the day.
FollowupID: 549883

Reply By: Smudger - Friday, Feb 01, 2008 at 11:46

Friday, Feb 01, 2008 at 11:46
A few years ago heading to Adelaide, we stopped at a rest bay about 120ks east of Willcania, in the middle of nowhere, 48 degrees and rising. While we were breaking out the cold drinks, a beautiful, friendly cat came over to say g'day. Obviously a lost pet. We ended up leaving him at the animal rescue centre in Broken Hill.

It bothered me how this poor thing ended up in such a terrible situation. I had visions of a family travelling with their moggy, who decided to shoot off and do some exploring and just didn't return to the car time.

Consider how much sleep you'd lose over wondering how your lost pet would survive in the bush. Best safe at home, where they'll be waiting for you after you've had your fun.
Safer for the wildlife too. If a lost cat does manage to surive, it does so by becomming a terrible scourge on the local bush population.
AnswerID: 284921

Follow Up By: Member - Michael B (QLD) - Saturday, Feb 02, 2008 at 11:23

Saturday, Feb 02, 2008 at 11:23
I would not leave without the cat. I am retired now so it would be no hassle to wait. However, the cat does not stray. He stays in very close proximity to the van.
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Reply By: Isuzumu - Friday, Feb 01, 2008 at 16:02

Friday, Feb 01, 2008 at 16:02
Hi Michael, We travel every where we go with our Dalmatian who is now 13 years old. She now has arthritis but is as bright as a button. We have made her bedding very comfortable even for some off roading and she would not be anywhere else but with us.
So in the end its is all horses for courses isn't. I would have to think that all people on this forum are of the mature type and cherish our pets. And its nice to see people can take their pets with them and its not all gloom and doom.

Cheers Bruce
AnswerID: 284937

Follow Up By: Member - Michael B (QLD) - Saturday, Feb 02, 2008 at 11:25

Saturday, Feb 02, 2008 at 11:25
I have just bought a ramp so the dog can walk in and out of the van, instead of me lifting him. I just have to guide him as he could fall off. Many thanks for your post.
FollowupID: 549887

Reply By: balko - Friday, Feb 01, 2008 at 22:50

Friday, Feb 01, 2008 at 22:50
Good one Michael pets are like kids you just dont drop them when they dont suit. Im no cat person but if you like em who gives a toss what other people think enjoy there company while you can. you dont seem like a person who would leave camp without your cat anyway it could be a long wait but im sure you would wait. Cheers Balko
AnswerID: 285030

Follow Up By: Member - Michael B (QLD) - Saturday, Feb 02, 2008 at 11:28

Saturday, Feb 02, 2008 at 11:28
Thanks Balko, yes indeed I would wait. But as he stays in close proximity to the van I dont think he would stray. However, I do see the concerns of some of the members and hopefully I can rectify the problem. Its either that or stay home, and that now is not an option.
FollowupID: 549889

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