Most cats hate change and for most cats, travel is change. There are a few cats that like to ride in cars. For those cats, travel, at least by car, is not traumatic. However, for more cats than not, travel by car, train, plane, or bus is a traumatic if not terrifying experience. For the cat’s human companion it is a major hassle and a time of constant worry or concern for their feline friend.
Cats are by nature very sensitive creatures. They do hate change. They get stressed easily and stress is so hard on a cat’s body. So anytime your cat is exposed to a situation that causes it a lot of stress, she or he is also exposed to potential health risks.
So How do You Travel Safely With Your Cat Whether by Car Or by Plane?
The most important thing you can do is prepare. Be organized. Make sure you have everything you need to care for your cat on the road just as you would at home. If your cat is going to fly, see your vet and consult on whether you should give him a sedative before the flight. Make sure you have the right carrier for your cat to safely fly. Educate yourself. Be sure you know all the regulations and all the procedures of the airline your cat is flying on. Will he be in cargo or another spot? Can you take him in the cabin with you? If you are organized and educated you will be relaxed and so will your cat. Your flights together or separately can be enjoyable and successful.
More difficult but just as responsive to organization and education is traveling by car with your cat. Again you need a good carrier. You need a carrier that your cat fits in comfortably but without too much movement. You need your cat to be secure so that if there is an accident your cat has the best chance of not getting hurt. If you are traveling a long distance make sure you plan for litter box breaks. Don’t expect a litter box trained cat to use the grass at a rest area along the way for elimination.
Bring Your Cat’s Belongings
Make sure you take your cat’s food, your cat’s toys; your cat’s food bowls and bed. Anything you can to make it comfortable for your cat. Never leave your cat in the car without you. No matter what do not leave your cat alone in the car without you. Get a pre-trip sedative and something to keep your cat from getting nausea while riding. Bring a lot of water and make sure you have planned to stop for her to eat, drink, use the litter box and stretch her legs.
A couple other things that are imperative regardless of how you are traveling with your cat – make sure your cat is microchipped, has all her immunizations, and that you carry with you the paperwork for all of this. Also make sure the carrier she is in, whether in a car or on a plane, is tagged with his name, your name, address and phone.
Do these things and traveling with your cat will be a breeze.
Photo: Courtesy of Monica R. via Flickr (CC by 2.0)