5 Tips you should know before traveling with your cat
Every trip is a new adventure. There are so many places to visit, food to try, and people to meet. Traveling can be exciting for you, especially if you enjoy new experiences. For your cat, however, this isn't the case.
Your cat prefers a predictable environment they've marked as their own. Whether you're planning a move, a road trip, or a visit by plane, adventures aren't their forte.
Plan your next trip with your cat with these 5 tips.
Tip #1 Bring your cat's everyday possessions
When you're preparing for a trip you tend to buy new items to take with you. It's different for your cat; new toys don't help.
When cats mark their territory by rubbing their head, they release a pheromone that helps with familiarity. Studies show this helps lower their stress levels as well.
Bring your cat's everyday items along to help them feel comfortable.
A cat parent I spoke to said she also brought along a scratching post. In her car, she created a designated area where her cat could sleep, play, and use the litter box.
Tip #2 Restrain your cat with a harness or a carrier
Restraining your cat is all about safety.
A seatbelt harness will keep your cat safe during an accident.
Most cats don't enjoy carriers, but it's also a great way to keep them safe.
Tip #3 Train your cat to see their carrier as a safe place
Your cat hates their carrier because they associate it with vet visits. You can change this thought process with time and patience.
Start by placing their carrier with the door open where they can see it. Your cat will not be happy about this, but this will help them get used to seeing the carrier as an everyday item.
Place their favorite toy and blanket inside. Your cat will get curious and slowly grow to accept the carrier.
When your cat is finally comfortable and steps inside on its own, close the door and take a few steps around the room.
As time goes by, turn these steps into short trips. Walk around the house, go for a walk, or a car ride.
Try giving your cat a treat every time they step inside the carrier to reinforce this behavior.
Don't forget, always have their favorite treats, toy, and blanket during your trips.
Tips #4 Consult your vet whether your cat needs help relaxing.
As you already know, a vet visit before a trip is essential. It's also the perfect time to determine if your cat will need help relaxing.
No matter how hard you try, some cats will not feel comfortable when traveling. There are options available to help your cat.
Thundershirt helps reduce stress with swaddling.
Feliway pheromone wipes or sprays
A calming collar
Travel anxiety drops
Speak to your vet about your cat travel plans.
Tip #5 Research your route or the airline that will handle your cat.
If your traveling with an airline, the humane society suggests getting clear answers to these questions:
Will the airline allow you to take your cat in the cabin with you?
Does the airline have any special pet health and immunization requirements?
Does the airline require a specific type of carrier? Most airlines will accept either hard-sided carriers or soft-sided carriers (which may be more comfortable for your pet), but only certain brands of soft-sided carriers are acceptable to certain airlines.
If you can't take your pet in the cabin, does the airline have any restrictions on transporting your pet in the cargo hold?
Follow these tips if your pet must fly in the cargo hold:
If possible, avoid airlines altogether. Road trips are much easier on your cat.
During your road trip consider looking into:
When and where you should make rest stops.
What veterinarians are nearby in case of emergencies.
Who can accompany you during the trip to share cat-care duties?
What the weather will be like to accommodate your cat if it's needed.
Although traveling can be unsettling for your cat, you can improve the experience to be less stressful.
Bring their favorite toy, blanket, and bed.
Keep your cat safe with a seatbelt harness.
Turn the carrier into a safe space.
Help your cat relax with the available options.
Avoid airlines, and research your routes.
The best way to help your cat is to step into their paws. Join me as I write to deepen the relationship between cat and cat parents. Learn how to share your life with your cat with cat care, wellness, and lifestyle tips at wildrosehealer.com