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Living Car Free Do you live car free or car light? Do you prefer to use alternative transportation (bicycles, walking, other human-powered or public transportation) for everyday activities whenever possible? Discuss your lifestyle here.

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Old 01-14-14, 06:12 PM   #1
wipekitty
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Living car free...with pets?

This issue came up on another thread: how do you live completely car-free with pets? What challenges have you faced, and what have you done to overcome them?

In my past car-free situations, I lived in bigger cities with grocery stores and vet offices within walking distance and better public transportation. I also had friends with cars, and if necessary, could get a ride to take my pets to the vet.

Things are a bit different where I live now: the grocery store is about three miles away, the nearest vet is about five miles, and while there is public transportation, it's not conveniently located. Being newer to town, we don't have any really good friends to call and ask for rides.

My household has three cats, and we're responsible pet owners Cats, unlike dogs, can't just be put in a basket on the front of a bike...and three indoor cats require a LOT of litter! My plan is to get a child trailer and use that to haul cats and cat supplies. I'm a bit worried about transporting the animals in extremely cold or hot weather, though.

Basically, I'm curious to know what others have done!
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Old 01-14-14, 06:31 PM   #2
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Oops, I just started a new thread and brought up the subject of cats at the same time you were posting this one. Any way, I have seen some pet carriers online that are kind of like back packs. So I was asking if anybody had tried transporting a cat in one of those. I have a feeling it probably wouldn't work too good, because the cat would probably wiggle around too much and cause you to lose your balance. Anyway I'm moving that question over to this thread.

One good thing is they have lighter weight car litter now, so that is easier than the heavier kind to lug around. I am currently using "The World Best Cat Litter brand". I will just buy the small bags and buy them more often. I will probably do the same with their food. Buy it more often. It is usually cheaper to buy the bigger size though.

I was a foster parent for an organization that helps homeless animals and some of my fosters never got adopted, so I now have four cats, sigh.
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Old 01-14-14, 06:52 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Chuchi View Post
Oops, I just started a new thread and brought up the subject of cats at the same time you were posting this one. Any way, I have seen some pet carriers online that are kind of like back packs. So I was asking if anybody had tried transporting a cat in one of those. I have a feeling it probably wouldn't work too good, because the cat would probably wiggle around too much and cause you to lose your balance. Anyway I'm moving that question over to this thread.

One good thing is they have lighter weight car litter now, so that is easier than the heavier kind to lug around. I am currently using "The World Best Cat Litter brand". I will just buy the small bags and buy them more often. I will probably do the same with their food. Buy it more often. It is usually cheaper to buy the bigger size though.

I was a foster parent for an organization that helps homeless animals and some of my fosters never got adopted, so I now have four cats, sigh.
We have a Bergan Comfort Carrier (http://www.chewy.com/cat/bergan-comf...small/dp/40261), and it has a shoulder strap. Unfortunately, the cat that uses it is smart enough to undo the zippers. It might be good for walking, though!

I did know a guy who rode with his cat in a duffel bag. This particular cat was also leash trained, so I think it was just a special cat.

Food has been pretty easy, since I discovered that it's possible to strap a 10 pound bag of food to the outside of a messenger bag. Now that I think about it, I guess I could do the same with cat litter. I've been buying the giant tubs of Tidy Cats because I use the tubs as makeshift chairs and toolboxes once the litter is gone.

But thank you for bringing up the question - and thank you for helping the kitties!
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Old 01-14-14, 09:22 PM   #4
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I have a cat (not by choice, but it's been mine for over a decade) and a couple of very old ducks. I bought a large trailer with a neighbor for transporting larger items, like the 150 pounds of duck food I bought today. The feed store was along a 24-route my wife and I were riding to take care of various errands.

One year we allowed our ducks to hatch some eggs, big mistake. We gave ten of the hatchlings to the feed store to sell and found a home, complete with a huge pond and other ducks, for three of them. We transported them the eight miles to their new home in a dog carrier on the trailer. They arrived safe and sound.

On those rare occasions where we have needed vet care, we usually take care of it over the phone (the advantage of having taught at a university that has a vet school is that we have lots of vet friends). If the animal needs to be seen, then we either put it in the carrier on the trailer or find a local a vet who makes house calls.
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Old 01-14-14, 10:21 PM   #5
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I've found cats to be pretty easy to transport. Years ago we had an indoor/outdoor car which would sometimes get lost in the neighborhood. I'd look for her by riding around and then drop her in my handlebar bag for the ride back home. And the soft-sided cat carriers make it easy to transport one or two cats on a bike's rear rack. I've also found the rear rack to be sufficient for up to two of the large (16-18 lb) bags of cat food or one of the big buckets of litter. But a trailer works better if carrying more than that.
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Old 01-15-14, 02:43 AM   #6
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Thanks for asking this question.

During the years I was car-free, I had 3 cats ... and one of them was diabetic, requiring regular vet visits.

I discovered that there was a service in town for people just like me ... for about $15, she would pick up me and however many cats I was talking with me, take us to the vet, help me into the vet with them all, and wait for us.

That wasn't all she did ... the bulk of her work was taking elderly people to the vet, to the Dr, grocery shopping etc.


Sadly, after a number of years, she stopped doing that ... and so I used a taxi most times, and if I recall correctly, I used the bus once.

[HR][/HR]

I have, however, seen someone carrying a cat in a carrier on a bicycle. It was our first night in Amsterdam, and I was watching the people in the street when someone cycled past holding the cat carrier in one hand and an umbrella in the other hand!!


[HR][/HR]

Regarding litter and kitty supplies ...

I was fortunate to live 1 km from a grocery store. I walked up there several times a week for groceries and could only bring home what I could carry. So ... when I needed kitty litter and kitty food, etc., I brought home less food for me. I was skinny as a rail in those days!!

But about every 4-5 months, I would take a bus to a larger grocery store and do a big shop, then I'd take a taxi home. Or, I'd rent a car for the weekend, use it to go to a cycling event or to ride in a distant location, and then I'd bring home a boot full of groceries. Or I'd use a grocery delivery service.

One of the best things I did was to buy a small freezer so I could stock up on my food on those occasions.

Last edited by Machka; 01-15-14 at 02:52 AM.
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Old 01-15-14, 03:43 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by wipekitty View Post
I've been buying the giant tubs of Tidy Cats because I use the tubs as makeshift chairs and toolboxes once the litter is gone.
You can make nice panniers out of the kitty litter tubs. Each pannier would hold a cat. Put the lid on over the cat and tape it down if needed. Oh, you might want to drill some air holes.

http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/?doc_id=1841

you could also use kitty litter panniers to hold new tubs of kitty litter, most likely.
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Old 01-15-14, 11:36 AM   #8
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We have a Bergan Comfort Carrier (http://www.chewy.com/cat/bergan-comf...small/dp/40261), and it has a shoulder strap. Unfortunately, the cat that uses it is smart enough to undo the zippers. It might be good for walking, though!

I did know a guy who rode with his cat in a duffel bag. This particular cat was also leash trained, so I think it was just a special cat.

Food has been pretty easy, since I discovered that it's possible to strap a 10 pound bag of food to the outside of a messenger bag. Now that I think about it, I guess I could do the same with cat litter. I've been buying the giant tubs of Tidy Cats because I use the tubs as makeshift chairs and toolboxes once the litter is gone.

But thank you for bringing up the question - and thank you for helping the kitties!
That is cool that he leash trained his cat. Mine might be too old to learn how to do that. One of my cats traumatizes me when I take him to the vet. He screams at the top of his lungs the whole way there. He is a big boy, probably around twenty pounds and he destroyed a soft sided carrier on the way to the vet, he totally ripped it apart (he had bad experiences at the vet as a kitten). I have a hard sided carrier now. But I just have the one, and I need carriers for the others in case of emergency and I need to transport them all at once.
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Old 01-15-14, 01:00 PM   #9
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like this

Now this is a subject that I can ride with

I have been car light for a while and after my car died last I started to take my dog as need with his Springer. He, Wally, can easily complete anything within the 5-7 mile distance, and living in Portland that is about all I really need regularly. This is a picture of Wally and me on a ride New Years day. This ride started eight miles from our home, and went in the wrong direction so I had a friend support the effort. Now I am working on using a trailer as a sag vehicle "Bull Pen", while running Wally along side of it. The trick is to not have the trailer spook Wally, which is not that hard. Wally and I have been training so that we can wonder farther a filed this summer

The Ride


From yesterdays joyride



This is how I am working on a solution that works for us
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Old 01-15-14, 01:12 PM   #10
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4 parrots, 1 cat, 1 dog, 1 hedgehog, and a Bearded Dragon... they can all be transported by bicycle.

We now have a car but if we didn't, we'd need to use a cab for colder weather that could harm the more sensitive birds and reptile.

The cat has gone to most of her vet appointments via bicycle as has our dog.
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Old 01-15-14, 04:21 PM   #11
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There's a guy named Yukon here who has two dogs. He rides all over town with two trailers behind his bike. One trailer is for Yukon's boom box, on which he plays tasteful jazz and blues. One dog always rides in the other trailer, looking like Cleopatra in her barge. The other dog hates the trailer, so she always runs alongside.
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Old 01-15-14, 04:53 PM   #12
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My dog "Merckx" hates the bike trailer. However, she loves to ride in the golf cart, and we can get everywhere we need to go in the cart if it's too far or there is not enough time to walk. I'm able to get about 20-25 mile round trips on the cart that can include the mall, and lots of other possible stops. The golf cart also easily hauls any supplies I need from the Publix or Petco.

One big effect on the lifestyle is that I walk the dog at least 5 miles most days, and I find myself riding less as a result.
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Old 01-24-14, 12:22 AM   #13
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Years ago, I saw a fellow on his recumbent taking his cat somewhere (presumably to the vet) it was in a animal carrier strapped to the rack and not at all happy about it, judging by the yowling emanating from it.
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Old 01-24-14, 01:27 AM   #14
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Now this is a subject that I can ride with

I have been car light for a while and after my car died last I started to take my dog as need with his Springer. He, Wally, can easily complete anything within the 5-7 mile distance, and living in Portland that is about all I really need regularly. This is a picture of Wally and me on a ride New Years day. This ride started eight miles from our home, and went in the wrong direction so I had a friend support the effort. Now I am working on using a trailer as a sag vehicle "Bull Pen", while running Wally along side of it. The trick is to not have the trailer spook Wally, which is not that hard. Wally and I have been training so that we can wonder farther a filed this summer

The Ride


From yesterdays joyride



This is how I am working on a solution that works for us
Very cool! I think you should get the trailer. If the bike broke down, Wally could pull both you and the bike home in the trailer!


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Old 01-24-14, 02:15 AM   #15
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I have a big soft backpack. Once when the JRT was having foot problems I loaded him in it and put it on backwards. He was just tall enough to stand with his paws on the top edge. He loved getting the "Big Dog" view while I walked down the road.

However his joy turned to sadness when he realized we had gone to the vet.
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Old 01-24-14, 09:52 AM   #16
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Oh, Wally had a trailer within 4 weeks of walking in to our home, he is two now. Wally has ridden in his trailer, the Bullpen, for a 20 mile ride across town and back. It is a flat bed, nothing fancy. I am working on converting the trailer to a "horse trailer" so that we can use it year round. The first year I worked with Wally on the trailer, he understands the commands of load/unload for getting in. The second year was spent with the springer attachment, which required Wally to learn, left, right, and slowing. Now that Wally is getting into his third year, I am working on him being able to transition from the trailer, to the springer attachment, and back to the trailer in hope of doing longer rides, with independence from support.

While I am not sure how much a canine can really do, I have worked Wally up to a distance of eight miles, and his vet has approved up to ten. So I am really excited about doing some of the shorter recreation rides in the area this summer, with the ability to have Wally alternate with running along side, and riding be hind me. Wally started on two blocks, with me walking the bike, and teaching the commands were modified from his current vocabulary. For instance, Lee enjoy's agility with her time, so now when there is an item in Wally's way I can say jump, and he just went over the obstacle. Two wheels, and four paws make a great fun team.
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