Cats don’t often take road trips, usually we bring the family dog and the cat gets the house to her/himself for the long weekend. But if we are moving and driving to the new place or going to be gone for a while and boarding or finding a pet sitter is not an option, the family cat may have to ride in the car.
The first rule of traveling with a cat: have ID tags for your cat and a good collar
Many lost cats end up in shelters because of no ID. You can also microchip your cat if you haven’t already.
Here are a few travel tips to make the car ride a safe one:
- Motion sickness can happen to anyone – Cats can get sick in the car but they can also get used to it. Start by taking short trips and gradually extend the time. The motion of the car stopping and starting again at lights and stop signs will become familiar to your cat.
- Make sure the air is fresh and well ventilated – This means, no smoking in the car with your cat and removing heavily scented air fresheners. Your cat’s sense of smell is stronger than yours and can affect her. Before setting off on a trip, it is also a good idea to remove food and water a few hours before leaving.
- If your cat panics or is hyper, you can talk to your vet Your vet may recommend a sedative. It can make the trip safer, less stressful, and easier. Administer the proper dosage and try a pre-trip to see how she reacts to riding in the car. You don’t want to be driving cross country with a cat who is howling and bouncing all over the place.
- Keep your eyes on the road – If your cat is a good traveler and can be let out, she may curl up and sleep on a seat but if she’s not, then letting her roam the interior of the car is a bad idea. She could hide under the brake or gas pedal, crawl on your lap, or sit on the dashboard. For safety’s sake keep your eyes on the road and your cat away from the driver’s side.
- Pull over and take breaks – Your cat may need to use a litter box or need a snack on the trip. Make a few stops and let her stretch her legs. If she’s used to being outside, you can buy a harness and leash to walk her around at a rest stop. If she’s indoor only, use a makeshift litter box from a disposable aluminum pan. You can throw out the used litter and save the pan for the whole trip. Praise her and pet her to let her know that everything is ok.
- Don’t leave your cat in the car alone – Take no chances with leaving your cat in the car if you stop to get food or take a break from driving. It’s better to bring your cat with you in a carrier to the diner, rest stop, or wherever you are then take worry about the temperature changing and how it could hurt your cat.
What other tips do you have for us fellow travelers who take our cats with us?
Image from Big Pics