Our cats don’t often take road trips, usually we bring the family dog and the cat gets the house to her/himself for the long weekend. But sometimes we need to bring kitty along especially if we are moving and driving to a new place or going to be gone for a while and boarding or finding a pet sitter is not an option. The first rule of travelling with your feline is to have ID tags for her/him and a good collar. Many lost cats end up in shelters because they have no ID. You can also microchip kitty if you haven’t already.
Here are a few travel tips to make the car ride a safe one:
- Motion sickness can happen to anyone. Cats can get sick in the car but they also get used to it. Start by taking short trips and gradually extend the time. Kitty will be familiar with the motion of the car stopping and starting again at lights and stop signs. Make sure the air is fresh and well ventilated. This means, no smoking in the car and removing heavily scented air fresheners. It is a good idea to remove food and water a few hours before departing.
- If your cat panics or is hyper, talk to your vet about medication to sedate kitty. It can make the trip safer, less stressful, and easier. Administer the medication hours before the trip so it has time to digest and kick in. Consult your vet about the proper dosage and try a pre-trip to see how kitty reacts to the car and medication. You don’t want to be driving cross country with a cat that is howling and bouncing all over the place.
- No matter what your cat is doing in her carrier or crate, keep your eyes on the road. If your pet is a good traveller and can be let out, she may curl up and sleep on the seat but if she’s not, then it is a bad idea letting her roams the interior of the car. She could hide under the brake or gas pedal, crawl on your lap, or sit on the dashboard. For safety’s sake keep your eyes on the road and your feline away from the driver’s side.
- Pull over and take breaks. Kitty may need to use a litter box or a snack on the trip. Make a few stops and let her stretch her legs. If she’s used to being outdoors, you can purchase a harness and leash to walk her. If she’s an indoor cat, use an aluminium pan as a makeshift litter box. You can throw out the used litter and save the pan for the entire trip. Praise her and pet her to let her know that everything is fine.
- If you go to get some food and leave her in the car, take note of the temperature outside and remember how fast a car and heat up or cool down depending on the season. If it’s in summer, your pet could suffer from heat stroke. If you are going to spend some time dining at a rest stop, it would be best to bring kitty with you in a carrier.
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