Traveling with a cat sounds like a nightmare situation to most people. But for dedicated owners of felines, anything is possible, including a road trip with a cat. And In all actuality, traveling with a cat isn't that hard. It can be a little challenging at first, but planning ahead will solve many problems before they occur.
Traveling with a cat offers special challenges, but with the right planning, a road trip with a cat can actually be an enjoyable experience.
Before you leave:
Just like in our blog for dogs, double check your cat’s vaccines with his vet for any needed updates. Also, create a vacation tag for your cat. It should have your name, cell phone number, and the hotel’s address and number you are staying at. But for cats, it is smart to put them in a figure-eight harness. Cats are more capable of slipping out of their collars than dogs and you do not want them to succeed in that while on vacation.
Remember: A Good Cat Carrier is Essential!
It used to be that the old hard plastic pet carrier was the standby, but today there is a wide choice for discerning cat owners. Soft-sided cases are becoming more popular. It may be wise to choose a carrier approved by the International Air Transport Association if there is a possibility that air travel is in the kitty's future.
And just like we recommended for pups, do a couple trial runs to see how the cat reacts to the carrier and motion sickness. It is also a great idea to have the cat use to the carrier before you even put it in the car. Leave the carrier in the room he is most comfortable in with the door open. The cat, in his own time, will make his way into the carrier to check it out. Don’t force the cat into the carrier
! Leave an old shirt or sweater in the carrier so that it smells familiar, pick something from the person the cat prefers over everyone else.
While on the road:
It's recommended that cats remain inside a carrier while traveling in a car, as they can become projectiles in the event of an accident. However, the reality is that cats are not usually happy to remain in a carrier for hours, and they have ways of making their displeasure known. Cats will find their own places in a car. This may be a favorite person's lap, or under a car seat. Once the kitty finds a place to settle down, everyone will be much happier. Just be sure not to let the car in the front of the car. This is for safety reasons just as it is for dogs.
If the cat is allowed out of the carrier while traveling, it's a good idea to try to put him back in it before getting out at rest stops. Losing kitty along the road is not a travel adventure anyone wants to have.
Bring the basics:
Kitties often won't eat while traveling, but food and water should be offered at rest stops. Most of the time, a cat will eat while at the motel, usually while the owner is sleeping.
Provide a litter pan, too. Be sure kitty knows where it's located, and has access to it. Many cats will empty their bowels within the first few miles when starting a road trip. This is normal, but it does mean that the first stop will be very soon, so the pan can be scooped.
Cats are known for be rather self-reliant, but they are still family. We rearrange our lives to make them comfortable. It’s the same with dogs and with kids. With proper planning road trips with felines can be simply enjoyable!
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