Cats don’t typically travel well. Many get stressed. They like routine and the safety of their home, and they don’t like change. And since most of us don’t take our cats in the car on a regular basis, traveling with cats can be a nightmare for both feline and parent.
In reality though, cats can be great travel companions if you plan ahead and take the time to create a positive experience for them. There are ways to bring them around to the idea of a road trip, whether you’re heading out for a few hours or a days-long adventure.
So, how can you make that trip a little less stressful for your feline friend?
Tips for Traveling with Cats
If you have a road trip planned for this summer, and you’re bringing along your kitty, plan ahead and you can help keep your cat comfortable along the journey. These tips will help make traveling with cats more enjoyable, for all of you!
1. Start Early
Don’t wait until the day of the road trip to get your cat acquainted with the car. A successful road trip with a cat begins long before that. The best time to teach a cat to travel easily is when she is still a kitten. However, if you’ve missed that boat, and your cat is an adult, that’s ok too! You can still work to get them used to it.
2. Carrier = Comfort
The best way to travel with a kitty is with a carrier. A carrier allows for safety in and out of the car. It helps prevent escape whenever you open the doors, and your cat can be comfortable and secure.
If your cat isn’t comfortable in her carrier, work on it. Teach her that her it’s a great everyday place to hang out. Leave it where you spend most of your time, with he door open, so she can go in and out as she pleases. Give her treats in there whenever she goes in. You can also feed her in there so it becomes a positive spot. Practice going in and out of the carrier to make it part of your normal routine.
Once your kitty seems comfortable, start closing the door and giving her time to get comfortable in there. Then, start taking short trips around the houses, then in and outside, to get her comfortable with moving.
3. Start Small
Once she’s comfortable, it’s time to start getting her used to the car. Opt for short trips, building up to longer drives over time.
Go for a coffee (going through the drive-thru), or take a short drive around the neighbourhood.
Just remember – don’t leave your cat in the car! If you’ve got to leave the car for any period of time, leave kitty at home. Temps inside a car can rise quickly, fast getting much hotter than outside.
4. Plan Ahead
Once she’s ready to travel, it’s time to plan your trip.
Traveling with cats is not all that different from dogs. You want to make sure that wherever you’re going, cats are allowed. That could mean the hotel you’re staying in, or even the family or friends you’re staying with. Calling ahead can can help you avoid any unforeseen challenges along the route.
Take along her regular food. Her own familiar food and water dishes will help with the feeling of familiarity. Don’t feed the morning of the trip or in the car – that way you can avoid any tummy upsets.
Also, take along some water from home. Sometimes water in different parts of the country has a different mineral content and may contribute to stomach upset or loose stool.
Take along a small supply of the litter she’s used to. Use a plastic dish pan as your travel litter box. Do not forget a litter scoop and some plastic bags for litter disposal both on the way and during your stay.
5. Safety First
Now that you’re ready to go, make sure you have all the bases covered for your trip.
There are several things to keep your pet safe on the trip:
- Bring along your cat’s medical documents, including vaccination certificates, as well as any medications she takes.
- Make sure she’s wearing identification, and consider making a temporary ID tag with the address and phone number of where you’ll be throughout the trip.
- Have her wear a well-fitting harness that she can’t escape from.
- If you are traveling in the summer, bring several ice packs or frozen bottles of water with you and keep them in a cooler. If your air conditioning goes out, you may be too far from home to turn back, and your cat will overheat very quickly. In this case, line the inside of the carrier with the ice packs wrapped in a cloth of some kind to try to help keep your cat cool.
Ready, set, road trip! This summer, make traveling with cats easy and enjoyable. Have fun!
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