It’s no secret, cats hate traveling as much as they hate baths. These little fur balls are not as clingy as most pets. If anything, they really value their independence.
Take for instance my kitty Zeddy, she will run about all day only to creep up on me in the middle of the night when I’m dead asleep and incapable of “hanging out” (so ungrateful!). But that’s a story for another day, the big question is, what do you do when you want to travel with your cat?
Simple, don’t! Well, unless it’s the only option you have left. For instance, when you are gone for long and have no one to watch over or at least feed your cat. Perhaps for the sake of something routine and important like a visit to the vet. In this case, travel you must, and trust me, your kitty won’t like it one bit. This is especially the case if it is her first time traveling.
However, there are ways to ease your cat into this process. This way, he won’t like it, but he is more likely to behave and most importantly, travel safely without making a fuss. Want to learn how to travel safely with your cat? Read on pet parent!
What Means of Travel are You Using?
The plan here is to use the means which is most comfortable for your cat. In most cases, road trips usually go better than airplane rides since you have time to slowly introduce your cat to the idea using road tests. In fact, airplane travel with pets is usually not recommended unless it is vital and you have no alternatives.
When traveling by air, make sure you have all the needed documents for your cat such as a letter from your vet approving your cat is cleared for travel. Your best chance of traveling safely with your cat is to make sure that he sits in the cabin with you especially if it’s his first time traveling by air. You will have to check with the airline if it allows pets in the cabin as some airlines do not. The Sherpa Delta Cat Carrier makes a great choice if you’re traveling with an airline that is pet friendly.
Road trips are less stressful compared to air travel since they don’t have too many regulations. You simply have to keep your cat well secured in a good cat carrier and the rest will come naturally.
Get Kitty a Carrier and Teach Him to Stay in It
This is usually top of the list when it comes to your cat’s safety during any kind of travel. A carrier ensures your cat is safely secured as opposed to roaming all over the car or plane which is often hazardous.
You can ease your cat into the process of using a carrier by using toys or food to get him into it. Once he is comfortable with staying in the carrier and identifies it as a familiar environment, the chances of getting a panic attack, suffering from anxiety or getting carsick during travel are minimized.
Pack a Bag
Is your cat under any medication? If yes, then you will definitely need to pack it for the trip. You will also need a lot of other essentials such as food, water, feeding trays and a litter box. Speaking of, when on a plane it is usually hard to find an opportunity to slip your cat out of the carrier to pee. You can, therefore, put a pee pad in the corner of the carrier to make it easier for your cat, especially on long flights.
While at it, don’t forget to pack a litter scoop, waste bags and cleaning wipes to take care of your cat’s waste while in transit. If your cat is used to regular grooming, pack grooming equipment as well.
Lastly, things like your cat’s blanket, a soft carrier lining, and some toys will help relax your cat when on the road. Buying a cat backpack is a great way to transport your cat and make sure you have the important items you need.
Ventilation is a Key Component of Safety
One of the most important components of a good carrier is proper ventilation to ensure your cat’s breathing isn’t restricted. This will keep him calm and comfortable throughout the trip.
If you are in a car, opening a window will help with aeration. If you are traveling by air, you can pay for extra leg room allowing you and your cat enough space and proper aeration in the cage.
Is Your Cat Well Fed Before the Trip?
In most cases, feeding your cat while traveling usually ends up upsetting his stomach due to the constant motion. Always try to feed and water your cat a few hours before the trip. While at it, encourage him to use the litter box before you leave for the trip especially if you are traveling by air. If you plan to stay long on the plane, try feeding kitty with light snacks to avoid upsetting his stomach. However, give him water every hour to avoid dehydration.
Have a Way of Identifying Your Cat
No matter the means of travel you chose, you always have to plan ahead in case your cat slips away from you (God Forbid!). Make sure your cat is wearing his harness with a leash on it allowing you to easily grab him in case he tries to pull a fast one on you.
You should also have a way of tracking and identifying your cat such as through the use of a cat collar with a name and your cell phone number. A modern and more accurate way of tracking down your cat is by using a microchip. This can be installed by a vet before you travel making it easy to keep tabs on your cat by simply scanning the chip.
Make Sure Your Destination Allows Pets
It would be a shame to travel all the way with your cat only to find out that they don’t allow pets. A quick call to your hotel before traveling will clear things up allowing you to get the best accommodation for both of you.
Speaking of the best accommodation, try to make the room you will spend time in is as comfortable as possible for your cat. This will ensure he does not wander off and get lost.
Plan a Vet Visit Before the Day of Travel
Visiting your veterinary doctor before embarking on a long trip with your cat is usually overlooked yet quite important. Whether you are going on a car trip or traveling by air, vet visits help assess whether your cat is healthy enough to travel. Other than that, it gives you a chance to get ahead of any illnesses your cat might be having before the day of travel.
In the case of air travel, there is no avoiding a vet appointment. This is because of the airline restrictions that require you to have a health certificate for your cat before traveling. You will also be required to have a couple other documents which can only be issued by your veterinary doctor such as a rabies vaccine.
Never Leave Your Cat Alone in Your Car
Unfortunately, no matter what you try to do, your cat just may not want anything to do with the carrier. The problem is you are still going to have to get them inside without hurting them and getting scratched up in the process. But how?
Car trips, on the other hand, are entirely in your control. However, most people still manage to mess up despite the flexibility of a car trip. One big mistake when taking car rides is leaving your cat in the car. It often leads to suffocation in hot weather and distress among other complications.
This is usually a matter of using your common sense but you will be shocked at how many people break this rule. Right next to this rule, is the rule of never traveling with your cat in the back of the pickup. Another obvious rule that most people break.
Our Final Thoughts
In all honesty, safe travel with your cat is often a matter of doing what feels right and using your common sense. Look at it in a different light, as if you are traveling with a child. So, whatever you wouldn’t do to that kid en route, let it not be done to your cat.
Depending on the length of your trip, make sure you visit a veterinary doctor at least a week prior to the day of travel. Most importantly, pack all the necessary essentials for your cat’s comfort. Finally, try and choose a mode of transport that is not too hard on your cat.