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Becky Jo’s Carfree Life: Cats and Quarantine

Posted by on April 7th, 2020 at 8:23 am

How do you do pet care without a car?

Being carfree with pets has its own set of challenges. (Photo: Becky Jo)

My cat is freaking out.

(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

My boy cats are normally super chill, like the kind of cats you can pick up, dress up, lay on and they don’t care. We even got a new kitten in December and both the three-year-old male cats we had took to her right away as if she’s always been here. But now, now, when the whole world is freaking out, he’s freaking out too. Maybe it’s the collective anxiety of the world, or maybe he’s just really pissed at the racoons this year, I don’t know, but he’s starting to spray. We’ve got an appointment to figure it out, but I’m a bit concerned about getting him and his brother to the vet on a regular basis.

When we got the kitten I carried her to the vet in a traditional cat carrier, but even with her tiny body, that was cumbersome and awkward in the rain. I don’t really want to subject people on the city bus to my cat, so I bought one of those backpack bubble carriers to bike her to and from getting her vaccinations and spay. Worked out great because she’s tiny and didn’t really do much.

My boy cats are massive. They’re 18-plus pounds a piece and can stretch out over three-feet long. We tried them out in the backpack and they try to claw their way through the bottom. Weight aside, the last thing I want to do is stress out a cat on my back…. that’s asking for some sort of bio-hazard-Tasmanian-devil-action.


How do you do pet care without a car?

I’ve talked to a friend who said Lyft and Uber drivers won’t take her with her large dog. I’m not sure rental car companies would be cool with me putting a cat in the car either. I’m always laughing too hard about the “Don’t do drugs in the car” warning at the Enterprise car pick-up to pay attention to the rest, but I’m not cool subjecting others who may have allergies to my cats anyway, so that’s out. It’s even extra strange now with the COVID-19 quarantine. The vet clinic instructions are to take the cat to the parking lot, “stay in my car,” and call when I’m there. The vet office staff will come out to get my cat from me and my car…er, bike, and that was before reports of possible transmission to animals.


You know BP folks, you’ve been with me through this winter since I started out being carfree, and now we get to go through a pandemic together! Just a quick thank you for all of your encouragement. I’m so grateful I can go out on my bike right now. Thank you for making that happen, and thanks to those of you out there pushing to get some more pedestrian and cyclist real estate on the roads, pushing hard against the I-5 expansion, and pushing to get some accountability from state leaders.

As always, thank you so much for hanging out with me here.

— Becky Jo, @BeckyJoPDX
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Steve Scarich
Steve Scarich

Still not a single case of human to pet transmission in the entire world. There is that tiger, but…


I’ve usually just taken a taxi/uber/lyft to take the cats to the vet. Depending on the car service, you can indicate that you have a pet, but they also usually are pretty accommodating to cats in a carrier. I think from the drivers’ perspective, a cat in a carrier is pretty low-risk just because you don’t have to worry about shedding, slobber, damage to your upholstery etc. in the same way that you do if someone brings in their dog on a leash.

Matt S.
Matt S.

I have two corgis, haven’t taken them to the vet via our Burley trailer, but they love it and I could see us using that to transport them to a nearby vet if we had to.

Alan 1.0

I transport ours in hard-sided carriers like the one in that photo of the Ahearne (‘cuz of course any pic with a bike is about the bike…) but on a rear rack. They were, if anything, slightly less agitated than when I transport them by car.

I have not seen those backpack cat carriers before. My cats hunker in to the back of the crate carriers as if it is a place of refuge. My big guy would not like that goldfish bowl backpack and all the exposure it gives, I’m pretty sure.

BTW, there was a long thread (or two) on this blog several years ago about the Humane Society nixing folks taking adopted pets home by bike. No idea if that’s changed. I think it was just their perception of bikes, nothing empirical.

Alan 1.0

Mine is a PetMate, 11″ high x 12″ wide x 19″ long. It has doors on the front and the top; the top makes loading MUCH easier – recommended! My big boy is about 15 pounds and he fits in just fine, seems quite comfortable. It just fits on my rack when it’s sideways, or hangs off a little on both ends when it’s lengthwise. It works either way, the cats haven’t shown a preference. I hold it on with four bungies; two would do it but doubling up for safety.

(haha! autocorrect thinks I hold it on with two bunnies!)

Caitlin D

When we had two cats, I was able to take them both to the vet at the same time on my Edgerunner with Hooptie–the 14-pounder went in the medium crate on the deck, and the 9-pounder in a small crate in one of the bags. The Hooptie was key, because it gave me a frame to lash the larger carrier to. The cats didn’t seem to mind riding on the bike (they just sat quietly and watched the world go by), but they certainly didn’t enjoy the destination!

Let’s see if I can link to a picture from here:

el timito

I took two cats to the vet in a slightly different cargo bike configuration – .
The manx was quite entertained by the trip, the tuxedo in the bottom was less so.
In the case where someone doesn’t own or want to invest in a cargo bike, Spinlister might be of help – or some of the local bike shops rent them as well:


A hard carrier on my Burley flat bed trailer is my preference. The flat bed trailer is pretty versatile that way. Just put different box shaped loads on it. I do like the pet trailers from Burley as well, if a person didn’t have greater ambitions for what they haul. Or if they wanted to have a trailer for every load.