Tuesday, June 18, 2024

How To Travel With A Cat In A Car

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Pick A Good Cat Carrier

5 Tips for traveling 3.5 days by car with a cat!

It all starts with having a good cat carrier. This should be a box thats robust enough to hold your cat and strong enough to keep them safe and secure.

Hard or soft carriers are the most common. A cats individual personality will often dictate which type of carrier is best.

For example, you probably wouldnt put an anxious or difficult cat in a soft carrier. This is because claws and teeth can make light work of mesh or fabric and also because smelly accidents are harder to clean out of fabric. Youre better off buying a hard carrier.

Placid cats, however, may find soft-sided carriers more comfortable and as an owner, you may find them easier to carry. They also take up much less space in the home when theyre not being used.

Looking for a stylish carrier? Sleepypod is made from luggage grade material and also doubles as a cat bed.

The carrier should be big enough so that the cat has enough space to stand up and turn around in. Resist the temptation to get a much bigger carrier, however, as cats tend to feel safer in smaller spaces. Something thats big enough for your cat to be comfortable without being too roomy is ideal.

Use A Quality Carrier

Buy a cat carrier thats safe, sturdy and comfortable. Ensure its big enough for your cat to stand up in and with plenty of airflow. To deter escape artists, check the door can be closed quickly. And if the carrier is an open wire style, place a light throw on top to create a sense of sanctuary. While youre driving, ensure you keep the carrier secure so it doesnt slide around.

Is Your Campsite Pet

Make sure to do your homework about where you are traveling to make sure if cats are allowed. Some national parks allow pets on certain trails and in campgrounds, but some will not allow them in the back-country. Pets are allowed in all U.S. national forests, but they must be secure by a leash at most places and are not allowed to be in the swimming areas. Some campground will also charge a flat fee if you are bringing your cat.

You may also want to research your specific campsite to see how prevalent the wild life is in the area. Itâs always good to know what types of animals and critters have been seen in the areas that you are going to be camping at. There are many animals that may want to prey on your cat while out in the wilderness. Animals like mountain lions, bears, bobcats, coyotes, wolves, and many other carnivorous animals. Itâs better to be safe than sorry.

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Watch The Temperature & Food

Make sure it’s not too cold or too hot in the car for your kitty. You also want to be mindful of the sun rays shining through the windows. You may want to put a shade on the windows or a light cover on your cat’s carrier, so she doesn’t overheat.

You might also avoid feeding your cat right before you get on the road but offer water at rest stops . Some cats may have an upset tummy if you feed them before traveling.

Tips On How To Move Or Travel With Your Cat

I taught my Cynder to walk on a leash and ride in my car ...

Is it in the cats best interest to be included in the travel plans?

Many people like to take their animals with them as they travel. While cats are most comfortable in their home environment, some cats can adapt to travel rather well. Certain life situations such as relocation, an extended stay with a relative who is ill, or a serious relationship headed toward marriage or cohabitation, may require your cat to travel with you on an as needed or routine basis. I discourage traveling with cats, because they are incredible athletic and its is extremely easy to lose your pet as you pack, travel, stop at rest areas, and once youve reached your new destination. Most cats get very nervous traveling and may become dehydrated or ill. If you are relocating, your cat is likely to become agitated and may try to run away before or after your move. If its in the best interest of your pet to include them in your travel plans, or if you are relocating, the following tips may help.

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Teach Your Cat To Love Riding In The Car

Many cats are uncomfortable with car travel. Unlike dogs, most cats are never taught to enjoy car trips. Many kittens have limited experience with car rides during their primary socialization period when a kitten does go for a ride in the car, the destination is often the vets office, which can be scary in itself. Finally, a ride in the car involves unfamiliar noises and sights, as well as unusual and potentially unsettling motion. Taken together, its no wonder many cats are unhappy when they are asked to ride in the car.

The best way to make car travel less stressful for your cat is to get her used to the car early in life. But if you have an adult cat with an established fear, there are still steps you can take to reduce travel anxiety.

Introduce Your Cat To Its Carrier

You can often reduce anxiety by introducing the cat to its carrier before starting your trip.

Owners often put boxes away, bringing them out only when theyre needed so its no wonder cats are nervous right off the bat. Try to integrate the carrier into your living space.

Bring it out a few weeks before your trip if you can. Let the cat get used to seeing it. Curiosity may get the better of them eventually and youll probably see them climbing in and having a good sniff. Anything that encourages the cat to explore and to add its scent to the inside is good.

Add a much-loved blanket or towel inside to start things off. You could also have a few favourite treats ready to hand out as a reward. You want your cat to have either a positive or neutral association with its carrier.

Youre not always going to have advanced notice of when you need to use the carrier. This is especially true if your cat becomes ill or is injured and needs to visit the veterinarian in a hurry. So wed recommend taking the cat carrier out and putting it in a common area of the house periodically. If you have a kitten, then its important to get it used to the box before any fear or anxiety develops.

The carrier is the cats main point of contact inside the car so allowing a cat to explore inside will encourage feelings of safety, security and familiarity. Getting your cat to feel comfortable in their pet carrier gives you a massive headstart on helping them to cope with car journeys.

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Preparing For Car Travel With Your Cat

Preparing your cat

Ideally, you do not want your cat to be very hyperactive while youre travelling in the car .

One way to avoid the zoomsies while youre on the highway is to play with your cat before you get in the car. This will help tire them out and encourage them to sleep during the drive. Many kitties are tired after an adventure so are likely to sleep on the way home.

In order to avoid motion sickness, we suggest that you do not feed your cat just before departure. If your cat suffers from motion sickness, speak to your vet as they may have suggestions with medication.

If you are nervous about taking your cat in the car, particularly for longer drives, your veterinarian can also help with calming tablets or a pheromone spray like Feliway. Another option is to use a thundershirt.

Preparing your car

To help keep your cat calm in the car, replicate the feeling of home. Set up your cats favourite blankets, pillows and toys. If there is enough space, set up their favourite bed.

If you are going on a long trip, you can even set up a mobile litter box.

In hot weather, window sun shields help keep your kitty cool.

How Do You Travel A Cat Multiple Hours


Car Travel

  • Feed your cat about three to four hours before you leave.
  • Surround your cat inside the carrier with a blanket that smells of home.
  • Secure the carrier in the car where it will not lurch forward or topple in a sudden stop.
  • Feed and provide water for your cat along the way at times it would normally eat.
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    Help Your Cat To Love Car Rides

    Start training early

    As with anything, it is easier to train your cat when they are young, especially as a kitten.

    As soon as your kitten joins your family, start taking them in the cat. You can take them with you on errands or other short trips. Consistent trips will help them get used to them cat

    If your cat is no longer a kitten, dont fret. You can still train them to like the car.

    Teach your cat to love their carrier

    Many cats associate their carrier with negative experiences, like visits to the vet or being dropped off at a cattery.

    However, as the carrier is how your cat travels in the car, it would be ideal for your kitty to have a positive associate with it.

    The aim is to teach your cat to enjoy spending time in their crate, this will encourage them to enter the crate willingly and to see their cat crate as their safe space.

    Start by feeding your cat near the crate. Then drop some treats into the carrier to make them comfortable with it. As they start entering the carrier on their own start giving them treats every time they are in the crate. If you have your cat you can use the same principles here.

    Make the crate homely with blankets, and toys. Once your cat is comfortable with getting in on their own, provide them with a treat or toy and close the door, starting with short periods of time and slowly extending.

    When your cat is used to being in their carrier, start carrying them around in the carrier. This will help them get used to the motion of being moved.

    Litterbox Issues When Youre Traveling By Car With A Cat

    Even when your cat is emotionally ready to spend a day in the car with you, lets face it nature is going to call him. You can fit a small litter pan in a dog crate as well.

    Get your cat used to the arrangement in advance of your trip place the crate with its litter box in the same spot in your home where his traditional litter box always was. Leave the door open. When he has to go, hell eventually enter the crate to take care of business, particularly if you begin with his familiar litter box inside. You can switch to a smaller, travel-convenient tray later.

    If you have to use the bathroom yourself while youre on the road, make sure your cat stays in his crate when you leave the car. Crack the windows about an inch for some ventilation. Be as quick about it as possible. Both hot and cold days can be a danger to your pet in a parked car.


    Many states have laws that prohibit leaving pets in parked vehicles, so do a little research along your planned route before you depart to make sure you know the rules. In fact, California passed a law, effective 2017, which allows passersby to smash vehicle windows to free pets trapped in hot cars. The interior of a closed vehicle can reach 120 degrees in 10 minutes on an 80-degree day, and if the temp hits 90 degrees, it can reach 150 degrees in the same period of time not a healthy environment for your cat.

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    Prepare For Any Emergencies

    You also need to prepare for potential emergencies. “I recommend having your veterinarian’s information along with the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center number , and an emergency veterinarian’s phone number pre-programmed into your cell phone,” says Dr. Lee. “In addition, I always advise that pet parents have health insurance for their fur-babies and that they check with their animal’s insurance company before traveling to understand whether any coverage restrictions may apply.”

    What if you have a free-spirited Kitty? Training your cat on a leash ahead of time can prepare her for all sorts of new situations. You can also give your cat some exercise time along the way by taking her on a walk on some of your driving breaks if your cat feels safe and comfortable with it. Above all, make sure to have up-to-date information on your cat with a microchip and collar. If your cat runs off or escapes, people will have your information to contact you and reunite you with your pet.

    Make A Plan For Each Cat

    How to Travel With a Cat in a Car

    Each cat has individual needs, so consider them separately when planning for your move. If youve experienced behaviors with stress or motion sickness with one of your pets before, talk with your vet because they have medications that could help. Along with making specific plans for each animal, its good to keep multiple cats separated in different carriers during the trip to reduce stress and prevent them from fighting.

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    What Type Of Camping Trip Will You Be Doing

    If you are just going to go for a small hike with your cat thatâs perfectly fine as well. Donât expect to venture out and be the next survivor man with your feline friend by your side. If you have never taken your cat on a hiking trail it isnât too late to try it out. Hiking is a great activity that you can both do while out camping.

    What Do You Need For A Long Distance Trip With A Cat

    The first essential item you will need when traveling a long distance is a cat carrier. If you are unfamiliar with cat carriers then you can check out my article about the best cat carrier for long distance travel . The next thing you should probably bring is some sort of cat harness and leash.

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    Travel Safely With Your Pet By Car Airplane Ship Or Train

    When making travel decisions, choose what is safest and most comfortable for your pet. For instance, unless you’ll be able to spend a lot of time with your dog, they’ll probably be happier at home than tagging along on your trip. As a rule, cats are almost always better off in their own home.

    But if you have decided it’s best to bring your pet along, follow our tips for a safe and low-stress trip.

    Can You Take Your Cat On A Long Trip Without A Carrier

    How To Travel With Your Cat! Tips For Travelling With Cats! How To Set Up a Car For Cat Travel

    This will help keep your cat safe during your long trip. Its best to start with small trips to see how your cat will react without a carrier before taking them on longer trips. Once your cat is comfortable enough with his carrier you can place him inside the car.

    If youre traveling with your four-legged friend, you want to know how long they can go without using the bathroom. How Long Can A Cat Stay In A Carrier? The short answer is that a healthy adult cat will be fine in a carrier on a trip that is under 6 hours.

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    Car Comfort And Safety

    The safest way for your cat to travel is using a crash-tested, secured carrier. To avoid undo distress, make sure your cat is acclimated before you leave. Also, choosing the right pet carrier will allow it to double your cats bed while youre traveling.

    Our cats, Fish and Chips have been traveling with us since kittenhood, so theyre both relaxed in the car. However, Chips does get motion sickness on winding roads. Weve found that raising his bed to the height of the windows so he can look out helps.

    When were planning to sleep in the car, we take the extra precaution of covering our stuff with a blanket thats easy to wipe off. That way, if Chips gets car sick or they get something yucky on their paws, its easily cleaned.

    What To Do With Your Cat When You Travel

    While some cats are lively travel companions who enjoy an adventure, others may be better off in their usual surroundings where they feel safe and comfortable. Here are some options if you decide it’s best to leave your cat home:

    • Hire a cat sitter You can find someone to watch your cat using an app like Rover, which can help match you to the right cat helper for hire. All cat sitters are approved by the Rover team. You can also use the app to pay your sitter and see photos of your cat doing their thing while you’re away.
    • Have a friend or relative drop in You may be lucky enough to have a friend or family member who doesn’t mind dropping by a couple of times a day to check on your cat.
    • Pay a neighborhood kid Ask around to see if you can find a responsible kid who’d like to make a few dollars. They may be able to stop in to visit your cat before and after school.

    If you’re into pet tech gadgets, you may want to purchase a two-way video device so you can check in on your cat at any time. Some even let you toss out treats or play laser games with your cat from an app on your phone.

    You should also know that there are boarding options for cats if you ever need one. Some cater to cats only while others keep cats separated from their dog guests.

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