Traveling with cats is not as easy as sticking them inside a pet carrier. Some people choose to leave them at home and monitor their cat remotely, while others like to bring them along. Cats like routines, so long car drives are stressful for them. That being said, doing your homework well can help lessen surprises.
Before you hit the road, here are the things you should do for your feline.
See your veterinarian. Pay a visit to your healthcare provider before traveling. Ensure that all of the cat’s medical records and vaccinations are up to date and intact. Get a certification proving that your cat is fit to travel. You can consider microchipping as well. This painless procedure places a microchip under the cat’s skin.
Gradually introduce your cat to new equipment. Train your cat beforehand in the carrier and leash or harness. Crates should be big enough so they can stand inside and move comfortably. Take a few practice car rides so your cat will acclimate the travel.
Book at pet-friendly hotels. Make sure your hotels will welcome your feline with arms wide open.
Find a vet at the destination. Ask your veterinarian to refer you to a provider in the area. Keep those contact information handy, so you will not scramble on your stuff in case of emergency.
So, the big day has finally arrived and you have done all the things mentioned above. Here are some tips to make your feline’s road trip less stressful:
Make them comfortable. This should be your very first goal. Ensure that your cat feels comfortable but is safe at the same time. You can place some type of non-slip padding on the floor of the carrier. Do not forget to secure the carrier with seat belt too in case of a car accident.
Plan stopovers. Use this time to let your cat drink water or use the litter box. For long travels, a disposable litter box is a good idea.
Do not let your cat roam around while you are driving. This is to prevent accidents from happening. Also, make sure your cat wears a harness and leash if you plan to open or close the door.
Bring lots of water. If possible, bring a gallon of a jug of the water your cat drinks at home. Some cats refuse to drink when water tastes different. Bring ice packs and keep them in a cooler too to prevent dehydration especially on summer days.
Feed your cat at least three to four hours before departing. Give the food some time to settle so it will not regurgitate while on the road.
Maintain silence. Most cats want a quiet car when traveling. Keep your volume down if you want to play some music. Keep distant from excessive traffic noises too to prevent startling.
You can ask your vet for a sedative or tranquilizer if traveling is really stressful for your cat. Anti-nausea medications have also been found to be effective for their motion sickness. Do a few trial runs to ensure that your feline will respond well to the medication. This can also help you in adjusting the timing or dosage.
Consider supplements or pheromones too. Cats tend to respond positively to health supplements or calming pheromones. These pheromones are actually the artificial version of the pheromones released by cats to make them feel safe and secure.
As much as possible, minimize creating stressors to your cats once you reached your destination. Leave them to a quite area first and put things that will remind them of your home. Scatter the toys or anything with your cat’s scent. Also, try to be with them and play around different areas to make them feel comfortable. Reward them at the end of the journey.
Again, make sure your accommodation allows pets, otherwise, you will be wandering around a strange city looking for a place to stay. If possible, get the name of the person that you are making a reservation with.
Once you reach your hotel, the first thing you should do is secure the area. Inspect the room and make sure there are no hazards for your cat. Check for things like holes in the wall or mouse traps under the bed. Then make a bed for your cat. Bringing something from home will be very helpful.
A little preparation for your feline friend will make your travel easier and more convenient for everyone involved.