It does not matter whether you will visit your family a hundred miles away or are determined to introduce your kitty to its predecessors – exotic cats – during safari abroad; traveling with cats is always a challenge. Unlike dogs, which have a tender attachment to the owner, cats are not that enthusiastic about this kind of entertainment, as they are mainly attached to the house.
Thus, the longer your trip is going to be, the more thoroughly you should organize it. It will surely take a lot of effort and patience to prepare your cat for travel, but the right approach will allow you to avoid stress on both sides. Below, you will find all the essential tips to keep your pet safe and sound during your wanderings together.
Choose the Right Transportation Option
You might have decided on, for example, taking over a car lease and enjoying the possibility to drive on your own, but if you do not have a vehicle, you will have to use other means of transportation, such as trains, planes, or steamboats. Ensure that you choose the safest and the most suitable way to take your cat on a trip with you, but remember that the possibility of carrying a pet on a plane or train depends on the policy of the carrier company.
If you plan air travel with a cat, make sure to choose an airline considering its rules regarding animals’ transportation. Some airlines may allow your pet to travel in the cabin as your carry-on baggage, while other airlines require you to send it to the cargo hold. The latter option is undeniably more dangerous, so here are some tips to make sure your pet will be flying safely in the cargo hold:
- Choose a large, comfortable, well-ventilated, and airline-approved cat carrier.
- Place a label that contains your contact information and information about your travel destination – your name, address, and phone number.
- Feed your pet no later than 4 hours before the flight.
- Keep your cat calm before flying by talking reassuringly to it and maintaining non-verbal communication.
Get Your Cat To Get Used To a Car
If your primary vehicle for the trip is a car, make sure to give your pet enough time to get used to it. You can (and should) start this process a few weeks before setting off. The main purpose is to put your cat in the carrier in a car for a while – cats feel calmer where they feel their smell. It will ease your time on the road later.
Ensure that you carry out the process consistently by following those steps:
- 1-2 times a day, choose the time before eating and take your kitty and the carrier to the car.
- Ensure that you talk to your pet quietly and calmly.
- When you get in the car, close all the doors and wait for a little – the cat should calm down.
- Let your cat out of the carrier to explore the space in peace.
- After that, take your pet back to the house, and feed it.
As soon as it gets comfortable in the car, take it for a ride – even a very short distance will be enough for the first time. Each time, gradually increase the duration – from 5 to 10, 20, 30 minutes. This will allow your kitty to perceive the interior of the car as its own territory soon enough.
For safety reasons, it is recommended to keep the pet in the carrier while driving the car. Thus, your cat will not interfere with you or the driver, excluding the possibility of an accident.
Traveling Preparations Advice
A key to a comfortable and safe journey is thoughtful preparation. Here is a list of necessary things to travel with pets alongside some other things that may come in handy:
- Identifier sewed to your cat’s collar, with your contact information in case it gets lost,
- Harness (not a collar) to safely remove your kitty from the carrier,
- Leash to safely let your cat out on stops,
- Cat food and your cat’s favorite treats,
- Extra blankets in case it gets cold,
- Your pet’s favorite toys,
- Cat toilet.
Choose the Right Cat Carrier
The suitable pet carrier or a crate should be spacious enough to allow the cat to fit at full height, lie down, get up, and turn over comfortably. Also, it is crucial to make sure that the carrier or crate is installed securely on the seat and does not move when the car is driven.
Modern carriers have special openings for attaching the seat belt or have their own straps to hold steady. Usually, there is a soft, small mattress inside, and the bottom of the box is covered with a non-slip fabric.
Get a Temporary Litter Box
During long-distance trips, disposable cat toilets are the most convenient option. They are small boxes with an absorbent, disposable litter that you can purchase additionally. You can install this toilet on the floor inside of the car – as it is filled, it is easy to replace the disposable part with a new one.
Regardless of whether a health certificate is required or not, it will not be superfluous to take your cat to the veterinarian a few days before setting off and check whether the vaccinations are up to date. The set of needed documents will vary depending on your destination country, but each pet, like a person, must travel with its own passport.
It all depends on the pet, but if you know in advance that your kitty reacts nervously to a change in the environment, consider consulting with your cat’s veterinarian about what kind of remedy to take. Do not ever give your pet tranquilizers or other sedatives without a vet’s prescription.
Traveling with pets requires many preparations in advance, mainly because it is crucial for them to get used to changing environments to keep calm during the trip. Make sure to allocate enough time for your cat to get comfortable in its new carrier as well as the car if you travel by it. If you want to bring along your cat on a flight, try to find an airline that allows animals in the cabin.
Remember to have patience and always communicate gently with your cat – it will allow you to facilitate the adaptation process and reassure your pet that there is nothing to stress about.