How would you travel along with a pet cat on a plane? Do you want to take your cat on a road trip? How would you teach your cat to stroll on a leash? Traveling with your cat to your awaited trip can be loads of fun if you make all the right arrangements. Nonetheless, lack of common sense can truly demolish the chances of a good time for you, your family and particularly your little furry companion.
Every time you plan a trip, keep in mind that cats do not travel well; they tend to get stressed. They like the safety of their home; they don’t like change. So, until and unless it’s a situation where you are moving, or you cannot leave your cat alone, don’t make them travel with you.
Whether you decide to bring your pet feline through the road or sky, you need to plan and do your homework on cat travel. If your cat is still a kitten, you’re in luck of training your fur-ball some basics so he will be well-behaved and will make your experience a little less stressful. Don’t worry, an adult cat can also be trained easily even if your little friend is grumpy. Then, plan transportation, accommodations, and daily activities.
1. Train Your Cat to Walk on a Leash
First things first, leash training is important when it comes to traveling with your furry friend. It’s usual for a dog to walk on a leash, but, when it comes to cats, people think of it as a tough task. Leash training your cat is a procedure, however, it’s absolutely achievable, regardless of what breed of cat you have.
2. Where to Travel
Climatic conditions are most important when you’re taking your cat with you. While summers are the most preferred time for traveling, hot weather is something that should be considered before if you wish to travel with your cat. No matter what breed you have, you might consider heading towards cooler destinations. It is also important to keep your cat’s personality in mind.
3. Health and Safety
- Take your cat to the vet for a medical checkup before going on a trip. All his vaccinations and shots should be up to date. (If you have noticed that your cat is losing hair, read this article to find out why)
- Health certificates and medical records are required for airline travel. To retain your cat’s health during the trip, bring along a supply of his regular food. Don’t forget bottled water and any medications he needs.
- Be prepared for an emergency. Find the number of the nearest 24-hour veterinary emergency hospital at your destination and save it in your phone.
Consider having your cat wear a harness with identification on it for the duration of the trip. Collars can come off too easily. Just make sure that the harness is snug so your cat can’t get through and have it stuck, and get your cat used to wearing the harness for several days or weeks before your trip.
4. Best Cat Carriers
A carrier or a crate is an excellent way to keep your cat safe in the car and is always required when you’re traveling on an airplane. It also keeps your pet from getting into trouble in a hotel or at your host’s home. Crates are available in different shapes and sizes from most pet supply stores. Look for these when purchasing:
- Large enough to allow your fur-ball to stand, turn and lie down
- Strong, with handles and grip
- Leak-proof bottom covered with absorbent material
- Ventilation on both sides, with exterior rims or knobs to block external airflow
- “Live Animal” label with the owner’s name, address, and phone number
- Make sure your feline has a sturdy leash and collar. The collar should have id tags with the cat’s name, your name, and your phone number.
- A permanent form of identification, such as microchip is more preferable.
- Always keep a recent picture of your cat along with you, as well as a copy of his health records.
6. Travel by Air
There are two ways for your cat to travel by plane – the cargo holds or in the cabin with you. Of course, the ideal way is to keep your cat with you, but that does add significantly to the cost on most airlines, and some airlines do not allow pets in the cabin. If you decide to have your cat travel in the cabin with you, and there are several steps you need to take first when you make the reservations.
- Show up early to the airport. Most airlines have a limit as to how many pets are allowed in the cabin.
- Be sure to have an airline-approved carrier. It will need to be able to fit under the seat in front of you.
- Have a cloth cover that covers the openings in the carrier so your cat cannot see what is going on around them.
- Keep your cat’s health certificate (required by most airlines) and vaccination information both in person and taped to the carrier.
- If you are checking your cat cargo, be sure that inside of the carrier is well padded and absorbent on the floor of the carrier and consider putting something like 2 or 3 layers of crocheted blanket on top.
7. Travel by Car
The first thing is to make sure that your cat is comfortable, and safe at the same time. If it is a short trip – under 6 hours – then your cat will be just fine staying in the carrier the entire time. For a longer trip, especially when it’s for several days, you may want to let your cat out of the carrier periodically to get a drink of water and use the litter box.
Some things to consider:
- The first rule of letting your cat out of the carrier – make sure you are parked. It is enough for you to cause a car accident if your cat suddenly startled and got in the area of the foot pedals or scratched or bit you while driving.
- Once your cat is out of the carrier and wandering in the car, do not open or shut the car doors unless your cat is wearing a harness (not a collar) and leash.
- Make sure that your cat is wearing ID of some kind with a collar or harness with your name, address, and phone number attached to it somewhere.
- Be sure to bring plenty of water with you, but only give it to your cat when you are parked. It may also help to bring a gallon jug of the water your cat drinks at home – whether it is tap water or filtered water. Cats won’t always drink water that tastes different.
- If you are traveling in the heat of the summer, bring several ice packs of frozen bottles of water with you and keep them in a cooler. For when you are traveling in the dead of winter, be sure to bring extra blankets for your cat.
- If your cat really stresses during car rides, but you have no other choice but to travel by car, you can obtain a sedative or tranquilizer from your veterinarian for your cat.
8. Plan Ahead
Packing for your cat for a trip is just like packing for a baby. Plan rest stops along the way and plan to stop every 3-5 hours to allow your cat to relieve him, drink water and stretch his body. Use this list as a guide while you are packing: Add your personal touch as needed.
- List of rest stops and veterinary hospitals
- Cat seat belt or crate/carrier
- Dryer Sheets
- Water and bowls
- Treats (Check out some easy homemade cat foods)
- One or two toys
- Blanket or cat bed
- Bags to pick up waste
- First Aid kit
- Grooming supplies
- Medications and medical records
9. Hotels and Cats
If you will be staying at a hotel at some point, make sure that they allow pets. Get the name of the person that you are making the reservation with that tells you pets are allowed, or even better, get in writing of some kind.
Once you are in the hotel room, crawl around on your hands and knees and inspects everything to make sure that there are no hazards for your cat, or holes large enough that your cat could get into a wall.
If your cat has a favorite bed from home, bring that with you for your cat to sleep in. Otherwise, bring bedding or something from home that smells like home to make things a little more familiar for your cat.
10. Now That You’re There
Once you have arrived at your destination, if you are moving into a new home, try and minimize your cat’s stress as much as possible. Keep them confined to one room that is out of the way and quiet while you unpack and unload.
11. Use Cat-Friendly Apps
VetFinder – Most trips with pets go off without a hitch, but if your furry feline gets sick or injured, tracking down a vet can be vitally important. With VetFinder you can look for a particular specialty or simply when you don’t have an Internet connection.
Red Cross Pet First Aid – From allergic reactions to drowning and burns, the free Pet First Aid app walks you through appropriate treatments for 25+ common situations with a mix of text, pictures, and video.
Traveling with your cat can be an amazing way to strengthen the bond between you two as you need to trust and depend on each other. There is no better feeling than to take a look at your cat’s face when it encounters something new and exciting; but remember, it’s a vacation. Traveling can be stressful, but a calm owner usually has a calm pet. So, let go of all your worries and make memories with your little companion.
You love your cat, I’m sure. Why not celebrate your love for her with a handmade portrait?