How to Travel with a Cat: Useful Tips and Recommendations to Keep in Mind
The thought of taking cats along on a road trip is never a welcome idea for most people. Understandably, cats tend to express sheer terror whenever they are taken out of their familiar surrounding – only a few cats don’t get all fussy about travelling. But travelling with felines effortlessly is possible. The most crucial part of the whole process is to prepare in advance by getting your cat used to travelling, as well as gathering the materials needed for the trip before the departure date. If you would like to move away on a long distance with your cats, endeavour to consider the following tips.
Step 1: Prepare in Advance
- Get your cat accustomed to travelling
For some cats, they haven’t left their surroundings for quite some time. If your cat belongs to this category, endeavour to take it out on a short trip (30 minutes or less) a few times before the main trip. During the short ride, ensure that the cat stays in the same travel cage that you plan using for the upcoming long journey. In this way, the cat will become acclimatized to the movement and noise of the car, as well as the smell of the cage. During the short rides, it is advisable to give treats to your cat and makes him feel better. Consider the rides as trial runs to remove any kinks before the main trip.
. Get prescribed medication for motion sickness: Some cats are susceptible to motion sickness. If you realize that your cat tends to fall sick during your trial runs, then you should consult your vet doctor. Medications for anti-nausea, such as chlorpromazine, can be prescribed to control motion illness. Some of the notable signs of motion sickness in cats include vocalizing or crying for a long period without quitting after entering the vehicle, urinating, immobility, or being scared of moving, vomiting, drooling, excessive pacing, or defecating. Ginger has been used successfully to manage nausea in humans, as well as cats. You can get ginger in the form of liquid or chews in a local store, ecommerce store, or veterinary clinic.
. Provide Back Flower Essence: This “Rescue Remedy” is useful for handling stress and fear during the journey or while visiting new places. You should add a few drops to the cat’s drinks daily. Also, before you leave for your trial runs, get a drop of remedy into his mouth if he appears to be in a state of distress. To check the effectiveness, you can give an oral drop, then engage a short trip after 30 minutes. Bach Flower Essence is more advisable compared to sedatives. Giving sedatives only reduces the performance of the cat while “Rescue Remedy” helps keep the cat calm and confident.
. Have a prescribed tranquilizer at hand: Consider this option as your last resort after trial drives and non-medication alternatives. Consult your veterinarian to pick the most suitable medication for your cat. Some of the available options include antihistamines (Benadryl) and prescribed medications such as Xanax, which is suitable for relieving anxiety. Endeavour to know the dosages before use and ensure that you adhere to the instruction for effective results.
. Give the sedatives a trial some days before the main trip: You should try the sedatives on the cat while at home, then monitor his behaviour. If you ever notice any adverse effect, it is salient that you notify your vet so as to change the doses or the medications. Similar to humans, cats show different reactions to different drugs. If your cat should display irritability or negative behaviour, the vet will understand the situation and correct it as appropriate.
Sedatives should never knock out a cat completely. Instead, it should only slow him down. If you realize that the sedative effect is extreme or uninfluential, endeavour to inform the vet. Despite being sedated, the cat should be conscious of its surroundings. Also, during the medication trial, put the cat inside the cage, then ride out. By so doing, you will be able to determine the kind of behaviour you will see during the journey while the cat is on medication. Ensure that you get enough medication for the whole journey (to and from). Also, you can get an extra pill to use before you start the trip.
- Use a towel or blanket
Endeavour to place a blanket in the cat’s bed some days before the journey. In this way, you will get your home’s smell and the cat’s smell onto the blanket. More so, the cat would have become accustomed to the blanket and find comfort in it before the trip.
. Prepare the Cage :During the early morning of your trip, you should get the cage ready – you can also prepare it on the night before the trip. Importantly, don’t forget to place the blanket which the cats have been using for a few weeks at the base of the cage.
Additionally, you should put an extra towel beneath the cage should, in case the floor needs to be padded. More so, you can put the cat’s favourite toy in the cage to keep his company.
. Use Feliway to Spray the carrier :Once it remains 20 minutes prior to the trip, use Feliway to spray the carrier and the car. This spray gives the pheromones that cats emit when they feel comfortable and settled in a space. It will help soothe your cat during the trip. However, before spraying, ensure that you have checked your cat’s reactions to Feliway before the journey. The reason is that a few groups of cats consider the pheromones as another cat’s markings, and consequently, react negatively to it.
Step 2: Travelling with your Cat
.Ensure that your cat eats some hours before the journey. Also, free the cat to reach out to its litter box. Although this is not necessary, you can put a small litter box in the cage if there is space. Also, you can put food and water if you have the space to do so.
.Do not keep your cat in the carrier for more than 8 hours without offering food and water. Also, ensure that you give him a chance to use the litter box. For a while, open the cage and allow the cat to roam around and get used to the cage. By so doing, the cat will become more comfortable around the carrier. Abstain from coercing your cat into the cage if it doesn’t feel like entering.
.You should get the cat into the carrier first before taking the carrier into the car. If necessary, you can cover the carrier with a blanket while moving it to the vehicle to block his view. Once the carrier is inside the car, you should remove the blanket. Ensure that you position the carrier in a secure space within the car – preferably, you should secure the carriage with a seat belt is possible. Also, you can use a small rope or bungee to tie down the carrier to prevent movement in the advent of an accident or sudden pullover.
.Ensure that the harness is on when you place the cat into the carrier. Regardless of whether the cat likes a journey or not, a car ride is always stressful for them. So, when you put the leash on the cat, it will be easier for you to control immediately you open the carrier.
.Give the cat a chance to stretch his legs. Here, the harness will even be more important. Simply grab the leash and allow your cat to move around for 20 or more minutes. You can also provide a litter box to the cat.
.Get your Feliway or Feliway diffuser to spray your new room before taking in the cat. Whenever you are going out, ensure that you put the cat in the carrier and put the “Do Not Disturb” sign by the door to prevent people from entering, such as the maid. If you are leaving for the whole day, get the cat into the bathroom with its toys and other materials, then bolt the door if possible. Afterward, you should drop a note that your cat is inside and should not be allowed to leave.
Although traveling with your cats can be strenuous, if you can comply with the tips and recommendations given herein, you won’t have any significant problem moving around with your feline companion. Safe trip with your pet!
Also Read: How To Enjoy a Sustainable Travel Adventure