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‘Tis the season for road trips. Often, our dogs join us in our travels as parts of the family. Cats, however, are usually left home with a pet sitter or boarded in a safe cat kennel at your vet office or other facility. Not all cats enjoy travel—or even take it in stride—unless they’ve always been exposed to it. Sometimes, though, kitties are just fine traveling with their families provided that you consider their unique needs and their unique personalities! Here are our quick tips for those who are traveling with cats!
The first tip is simple. You likely already know if your cat panics in the car from your trips to the vet. A long road trip isn’t going to go over any better, and a high level of stress just isn’t a good idea if it’s not necessary. Likewise, the destination may be stressful. Fearful felines probably shouldn’t be joining the holiday festivities. Some cats are pretty laid back, though, so use your best and most compassionate judgment here.
If you don’t already have a travel kennel, get one. Leave the kennel out in your home where your cat has access to it with the door open and some treats inside. It’s good to be sure your cat is used to its kennel as opposed to only seeing it right before being put in it. You don’t want your cat to have negative associations with the kennel, or you’ll be starting off on the wrong paw right from the beginning.
Using a kennel while traveling is much safer for the cat and for you than letting kitty roam around your car. This eliminates the risk of your cat escaping when you stop for food or gas, and it prevents the cat from obstructing your driving.
Traveling with cats benefits from a few things you should do to make the kennel a good environment for your cat. One top tip is to try a product called Feliway, which is a synthetic version of the chemical that cats produce from their glands that create a feeling of calm and contentment. Some cats benefit from having this sprayed in their kennel before being put in it (follow the directions for timing). There are other products on the market that are cat approved and might help, too!
Use a blanket or towel from home (for that homey smell!) inside the kennel as a familiar comfort.
Disposable litter boxes are a great idea for putting inside the kennel. Nature’s Miracle makes good, sturdy ones. There are several brands you can try!
Be sure to supply clean water and food. Water sloshing in a bowl might deter a cat from drinking, and some cats might not like drinking from a water bottle. If you’re worried about their intake of fluids, canned food is good to at least get some moisture in your furry friend as opposed to kibble.
If your cat has a medical condition, ask your vet if they would recommend traveling with them at all. In some cases, it might be fine, but in others, it would really be best to stay home. In either case, plan ahead with veterinarian contact information and medications.
Questions? Let’s talk!