Guide For A Safe And Fun Road Trip With Cats
More people are traveling with their pets as hotels, restaurants, and tourist destinations all over the world have become pet-friendly. Not only are pet owners flying to beautiful locations with their fur babies in tow, but they’re also taking them on exciting holidays on the road. According to a survey conducted by the American Pet Products Association, 37% of pet owners take their cats on road trips. Only 12.8 percent said that they take their cats out once or twice a month and 54.6 percent said they do it more than six times per month. Long-distance travel with cats can be daunting at first, but this thorough guide contains all you need to know.
Bring The Essentials
The basics of car travel gear include a carrier, some food, water, your cat’s vitamins, and a litter box. Pack travel food bowls to make feeding your cat easier while you’re on the go. As for the litter box, look for a portable one that folds flat so you can keep it in a bag. It’s also recommended to have a litter box with a waterproof lining to prevent accidents inside your car. When it comes to your pet’s food, bring only the food that your cat likes. More importantly, whatever you feed your pet shouldn’t give them an upset stomach. Never attempt to experiment with new food on road trips as you’ll never know how your kitty’s stomach will react to the new fare.
Keep your cat comfy
Spending hours on the road can be tough on your feline friend, so make sure to keep your cat comfortable during your trip. Bring your pet’s favorite blanket, and make sure that they aren’t too cold or too hot inside the vehicle. If your pet tends to get carsick during trips, visit your vet a week before your road trip and talk to them about giving your cat some anti-nausea medicine.
Meanwhile, if your kitty gets anxious or stressed during car trips, consider giving your pet some catnip at least 15 to 20 minutes before leaving for your trip. She’ll likely run around and play aggressively for a few minutes, then after that, she’ll get tired and extremely calm. If you don’t like to use catnip, you can use other herbs and flower essences to calm your pet. Valerian has the same effect as catnip, but apart from being very calm after the initial frenzy, your cat will also be more likely to have a deep sleep during your trip. Meanwhile, chamomile can also relieve your cat’s anxiety and promote relaxation. Ask your vet for pet tinctures that contain these herbs, and never attempt to make homemade tinctures or teas for your cat as these can be harmful to their health.
The Carrier Should Be Your Cat’s Best Friend
If they want to ride in the car with you, they’ll need to be properly “buckled up” to protect not only themselves but also everyone else in the vehicle and on the road. This is especially important if you decide to switch gears and drive faster on an open road. Unrestrained cats can be a distraction, obstructing your ability to steer or brake, and possibly becoming a dangerous projectile in the event of a collision or sudden halt. Spend some time training them to get used to their carrier before the big travel day arrives to make restraint stress-free for your cat and yourself.
If you don’t have a cat carrier or are thinking about getting a new one for your trip, make sure to get one that’s expressly designed for cars. Pick a model that has been crash-tested for safety in vehicles, and ensure that it has mesh panels for ventilation. Choose a carrier that’s lightweight and secures into the car seatbelt for added convenience, and check to see if the carrier can handle your cat’s weight. Some carriers are only good for cats weighing 12 pounds and below, so if your fur baby is a larger breed, get one that’s suitable for her size and weight. Getting a too small carrier may be uncomfortable for your cat since there’s not enough room for her to move around.
Bring Fun Toys
When traveling, it’s an excellent idea to bring some new and exciting toys for your cat to play with. This will keep them occupied and delighted. You can make your own toys and swap them out so they have something new to play with all the time. Your cat may even begin to associate car trips with new, exciting toys.
Your Cat Should Like Your Car
Firmly tuck in your cat in his carrier. Secure him with a seatbelt and take a seat next to him. Try turning on the engine before giving your cat goodies once he has learned that sitting in the carrier in the car is okay. Make this a daily routine, praising calm behavior with treats and halting when tense behavior is observed.
Plan Pit Stops
Pit stops to give your cat a chance to use the litter box, eat food, and drink water every one to three hours or so. Your cat can even stretch their legs outside if they have their own kitty collar and leash. If you’ve never used a cat collar or leash before, make sure you test it out at home to ensure that you cat can’t escape.
Traveling with cats doesn’t have to be difficult, and there are some things you can arrange ahead of time to ensure a smooth journey. While cats like familiar surroundings and may struggle to adjust to change, there are plans and tasks you can do before your road trip to ensure they are comfortable and that you both have a good time out on the road. Even though cats don’t appear to be afraid of car rides, keeping her in the carrier is essential for her protection. Longer travels, such as vacations or relocation, will necessitate more planning than a brief trip to your veterinarian’s office, so plan ahead for journeys that last more than an hour or two.