Cats are adorable pets that everyone who owns one would like to walk around with. But they also have restrictions that bar you from just carrying them anywhere you go. As much as they are beautiful to have around, they come with a great responsibility that you should understand. When you have to travel with your cat, you need to take several precautions to ensure he animal is safe and its presence does not cause discomfort to others on your way. Therefore, if you are looking for advice on the best ways to handle your cat while traveling with one, here are tips to help you figure how to travel with your cat.
Choose the perfect carrier
When you travel with your cat on board, you must consider getting a carrier. This is one of the things that can make or break your trip, so you need to pay attention to several suggestions that will help you pick the right carrier to suit your cat. The first thing you need to understand is that when going for long trips, the cat might get too tired and this on a health perspective might be overbearing on the pet. Therefore, consider choosing the most comfortable carrier that will keep your cat safe all along the journey. Additionally, if the trip is long, you might want to consider sedation so your cat rests for the better part of the journey. Also check the ventilation properties of the carrier and ensure it allows easy movement of the cat because there are designs that are too congested for comfort. It may be dangerous to allow your cat to roam in the car freely, so consider restricting it in a carrier.
Train your pet
To have easy time traveling with the cat, make sure it is trained in time to get it to learn what it feels to travel in a car. If you anticipate a long trip, do some short runs with the cat in your car. Even while going to buy groceries, get the cat in your car so it can start familiarizing with the whole exercise. It will help you prevent anxiety and fright that most cats face when they get into a car for the first time. Cats are sensitive and will notice any change of environment, and the reaction might be different depending on how aggressive your cat is. Training might help to eliminate any chances of the cat behaving in a manner that might be risky to both of you.
Do carrier training
You not only need to train your cat about traveling in the car, but you also need to train it so it can feel comfortable while in the carrier. Remember this is a restricted environment and the cat is used to the normal home environment where it is able to roam freely, so for the first few moments, it will find it strange. It is ideal to conduct carrier training in the few days to the official trip and you will not have any challenges as you travel with the cat on board.
Don’t put the carrier in direct sunlight
This is a simple suggestion but one that is most often forgotten. One might think that before taking off when you place the carrier on one end of the rear windows you will have solved the problem. But what happens when the car turns to a different direction? Because the assumption here is that you will not always drive through a straight course. Such a turn would direct the sunlight to the cat, which in effect will smother the innocent animal without you knowing about. That coupled with the fact inside the car is an alien environment to the cat might lead to serious health issues for the cat, which is something you don’t want to experience when you are traveling to a new destination. So, consider placing the cat at a position that is guaranteed to have optimal temperatures, and also check the temperatures in the car as you cruise to ensure you occasionally turn on the air conditioner to provide fresh air and cooling in the cabin.
Do your preparations early
Preparation is what will determine if your journey with your cat will be awesome. You need to consider assembling all the items you need in time. The cat needs to be prepared for trips, so give it some training in your car so it can continually familiarize with the environment. It will be easier to accommodate the cat in your car for long trips if you have been training it in the past. Remember cats are nervous sometimes especially when in a moving car, so make sure you kick that fright out by first getting the cat to get used to traveling in a car few weeks before the day you will be moving. If there are special foods your cat takes look for supplies in time and stock enough to last the duration you will be away. It would be disappointing to starve your cat or feed it on foods that are not idea just because you could not find what is recommended after you have moved away from home.
Take frequent breaks
Just like humans, when you take your cat with you on long trips it will get exhausted. To ensure you don’t torture the cat, take short breaks and in this time release the cat from the carrier so it can move about and relax, but you need to be vigilant while doing this as you might lose the pet of it jumps out of the car into bushes or other people’s properties. This is the best solution to ensure you arrive at your destination with the cat still in perfect mood to interact with you and others. Remember extreme tiredness might also lead to a series of problems for the cat, one of them being that it might not have the energy to take food. One of the most recommended ways to keep the cat in perfect shape all along the journey is sedation, which gets it to sleep all through the trip.
Consult your veterinarian
A veterinarian is in the best position to give you a report about your cat to determine whether it is a wise idea to travel with it. You need to consult about the best way to handle the cat along the way. See if there are things you can take to make the journey with your cat more pleasant. Some medication might be recommended to help relieve the much stress that could lead to anxiety and sickness. Additionally, you need some standby medication that could be used in the event your cat gets some health problems. Traveling without carrying medication for the cat is risking as you may not know what might happen along the way. Ensure you get all medical solutions that could help take care of your cat should it fall ill along the way.
Carry bedding and toys
You also need to make your cat feel at home when you travel. Look for some bedding that the cat loves and carry its toys as well. This is one of the ways to keep the pet busy as traveling with the cat without giving it something to keep it engaged might lead to boredom, which results in exhaustion. The trick is to choose its favorite as this assures you the cat will most likely spend a lot of its time playing with the toys. It is a way to make it feel at home and kick out the anxiety that comes with moving in a car. Also research for some music that cats love and play it along to keep it engaged.
Carry water and food bowls
Your cat needs to eat and the food you give it must be balanced and nutritious. That’s why you should continue to feed the cat the food it is used to and the water it takes. Don’t introduce some strange flavors. If the cat usually takes tap water at home, get a bottle of that and carry it with you. Otherwise, you will have a stressful day trying to feed the cat and before you are back the animal will look emaciated. On this, you need to also consult with your veterinarian to get an opinion on the most suitable way to provide the right food for the cat while traveling.
Choose pet-friendly hotels
If you have to stay at a hotel, one of the things you must look at while choosing is pet-friendliness. You should only reserve a room at a hotel that you are sure will provide your cat an ample environment to relax. Fatigue is your biggest enemy when you travel with your cat, so after a long day you want to put the cat to relax without distractions. There are various options for hotels in this case that are ideal to serve your needs. Sheratons have for the longest time upheld a reputation for allowing pets and their amenities are designed well to help you take care of your cat. Giving the cat some sweet place to relax after the tiring journey is the best way to reward it for accepting to join you on your trip. After some relaxing moments, the cat will rise the following day with enough energy to continue with the journey.
Keep the car comfortable
Loud music and strong fresheners are not an option when traveling with your cat on board. Cats are naturally wired with a strong hearing sense and can smell even the slightest change in air condition, which means introducing some smells that the cat is not used to will only serve to make it uncomfortable all along the journey. If you have to play music, make sure the volume is not blasting, and you also have to consider your choices as some genres are not friendly to cats. Make sure the songs you play are smooth and flow seamlessly and you will not have problems with the cat. Ensure the car is clean and while cruising optimize temperatures to ensure your pet does not get uncomfortable.
Get the cat checked up
Many people forget that medical checkups are a necessary step to ensuring your cats don’t fall sick along the way. It is advisable to get the cat checked up for signs of any sickness before you start your trip. There are some hidden conditions that might prevent the cat from enjoying the beauty of the trip, so get all information clear. Most importantly, ensure your cat is vaccinated for any potential diseases it might collect along the way. You are not sure the places you are visiting are perfectly safe for the cat, so the only way to prevent the pet from getting into health complications is ensuring you give it some vaccination against some of the most common diseases that you might encounter.
Clip those claws
You don’t expect your cat to agree to your proposal to stay in the car all through the journey, so at first if it’s not used to the environment it will scratch the surfaces or even you. To avoid any damages or injuries, you need to clip its claws. But you have to be cautioned that this can best be performed by a vet. Don’t undertake it before you are given the right procedure to follow. It is a delicate process that might lead to injuries on the cat and in most cases it will resist hence making it riskier and more complicated. If the cat resists, the only person able to handle it effectively is a trained vet. However, if you decide to do it, make sure not to touch the pink part of the nail as this includes flesh that can bleed, and it hurts when injured.
Kitty emergencies are unforeseen circumstances that might place your cat in danger and if no proper safety mechanisms are embraced, you might end up exposing the pet to hazards. Therefore, you are advised to plan and prepare for kitty emergencies. For plane rides, you need extra towels that can help line the carrier in the event the cat vomits. Make sure to carry a few plastic bags as well so when the towels get soiled you can dispose them well without causing other passengers inconvenience. Most importantly, consider carrying cat safe cleaning towels that can be used after an accidental mess. In the absence of these items, the journey would be stressful for both you and the cat, so make sure you consider including all the items that will guarantee comfort on your part and the cat.
For air travel bring cat in cabin
Don’t let your cat to be placed in any other place within the plane when you can have it in the cabin with you. There are many airlines that allow pets on board, so confirm if a cat is among pets that are allowed. If you are allowed to have your cat in the cabin, make sure you place it near you and this should help you monitor its condition. In case it gets into difficulties, you can respond immediately before it turns to a serious problem. You might be advised to keep the cat in a different compartment but this is not a good idea when you are traveling for the first time with the cat. Insist to have it in the cabin.
Remember to secure the slider on your carrier as an unsecured one may slide and overturn or in some cases go flying due to the movements of the car. You can easily secure the carrier with the car seatbelt and you will not have any challenges all through the trip. An unsecured carrier moves about freely and this motion is disturbing to the cat and might lead to injuries. Also in case of an accident, the carrier will be secured well not to be thrown about, which might leave your cat with serious injuries or even have it killed by the impact. Safety measures are some of the things you cannot afford to trade off when you are traveling with a cat. Cats are sensitive animals and the more comfort you offer to the pet the better for your trip.
Update identity information
Identity information is ideal when you are traveling with your cat. The current micro-chipping technology helps you locate your cat in case you lose it while traveling. If not micro-chipped yet, visit your vet before the trip and have it done and this will be useful when along the way your cat wanders away from where you intend it to stay. The other identity information that should be updated is the tag on the collar of the cat. Get an easy-to-read tag that will help you to identify the cat in the event it gets lost in other pets. It could also be a perfect way to call for the help of others when you lose the cat in a place with many people.
Litter and accessories
It’s unlikely you might want to carry along the same litter box your cat is used to but due to constraints you might want to consider something else. Well, in this case the advice you should stick to is to ensure the litter you pick is similar to the one you usually have at home as familiarity will keep the cat calm. You can also consider getting a litter tray that is not disposable that should be used and disposed with the scooper bags. Hygiene is a key component of keeping your cat healthy that you cannot overlook if you want to achieve any peace of mind while traveling.
Don’t forget to put focus on the road
It’s very easy to be consumed by the excitement to keep looking at the cat in your car while driving. This is a dangerous idea that you should not attempt as accidents happen in a snap. Put all your focus on the road to prevent accidents from happening. As long as you have prepared your cat adequately before you start the journey, you should have nothing to worry about and through the rest of the journey you should focus on driving safely. It is amazing to travel with your pet, but when you put more focus on it than the road ahead you invite trouble.
Dispose all food after trip is over
After the trip is over, don’t keep the food you had stocked earlier for the cat. Get some fresh supplies as the ones in your car might have stayed too long and started having strange flavors. Your cat will appreciate the way you treat it, so while you will derive joy in traveling with it make sure to give it the perfect treatment.