04 Feb 3 Purr-fect Tips for Traveling With Your Cat
While you might be the perfect cat lady candidate, you probably aren’t too keen on taking a long road trip with your feline friend. Cats don’t love to travel—and they’re not afraid to let you know it. Since most cats are homebodies, any trip outside of their front yard probably means their biggest nightmare—the vet. However, if a long car or plane trip is in your feline’s future, there are a couple of key tips and tricks on how to travel with your cat. Here are some preparations you can make to ensure your cat’s comfort and ease.
1. Make Sure They’re Comfortable with Carrier
If you have only taken your cat outside for vet trips, the pet carrier is probably associated with feelings of fear and pain. A few months before the trip, start to change your cat’s relationship with the carrier. Begin by making the carrier a part of their environment. Set in down in an area your cat frequents; but not near their food bowl or litter box. A sudden arrival of an unfriendly object could cause your cat to stop using their litter box. Instead, set it in an unassuming location and help them form positive associations with it. Spray with a calming pheromone or fill it with their favorite toys.
2. Go on a Test Run
Once they’re comfortable with their carrier, it’s time for them to get comfortable in the car. A few weeks before the trip, set your cat (in their cat carrier) in the backseat. Sit with them for a while, partially opening the carrier’s door to pet, feed and play with them. Once they are comfortable, buckle in the carrier and slowly start up the car; checking in often to see how the kitty is reacting to the engine’s rumble. Once acclimated, start taking short trips. These can be done over the series of a few days. First journey down the street, then around the block, slowly lengthening the drives. Depending on the proximity of the trip, this should be done daily until the cat is completely comfortable in the car.
3. Make Some Investments for Their Comfort
Before heading off into the sunset with your feline BFF, you might want to pack a few necessities.
- Litter Box. Depending on the duration of your road trip, there’s a chance your kitty will need to get down to “business.” To ease their bathroom qualms, grab a good travel litter box. This should be large enough for your cat to use comfortably, but small enough to fit in their cat carrier. For your ease of mind, make sure the litter box is waterproof, easy to clean and collapsible.
- Leash and Harness. If your cat is comfortable using the bathroom outside, then make sure you grab a leash and harness. If your cat is not already leash-trained and you’re planning on having him do potty breaks outside, take a few months to slowly get your kitty accustomed to the leash.
- Destressors. There are several calming products made especially for cats in stressful situations. These include calming treats, pheromone travel spray or even an anti-anxiety jacket. All these products release calming pressure or pheromones
- Food. While your cat may be too nervous to eat much, take some precautions to make sure he’s getting the needed nutrition. Plan some pit stops during the trip where your cat can eat and digest in peace. For a special treat, you can indulge them in some human foods you can feed cats like salmon or spinach.
- Their favorite things. While they probably won’t feel like playing in the car, grab a couple of their favorite toys or blanket.
Even with all the preparations and test runs, traveling long distance with your cat could still be a stressful experience. Make sure you are prepared for anything that could go wrong. Grab some paper towels to mop up messes and bring some extra calming spray or an additional calming collar. The first long trip will be a learning process for both you and your cat. But with patience and attention, your cat will become a road trip pro.