TRAVELING WITH YOUR CAT BY CAR
If you absolutely must travel with your cat, either because you are moving, or because you just really do not want to leave your cat alone without you, All Feline Hospital has a few travel tips that will make it a little less stressful on everyone, including kitty.
• Make sure that your cat is comfortable, but yet safe at the same time. Put kitty in a large sturdy carrier that he can stand up in, stretch, and turn around easily. Cover the bottom of the carrier with some type of padding, preferably not something that will slide around, but that will stay covering the floor of the carrier.
• Secure the carrier with a seatbelt. If you are in a car accident, you want your cat to be as safe as possible.
• If it’s a short trip, under 6 hours, then your cat will be just fine staying in the carrier the entire time. If it is a longer trip, especially if it is over a several day period, you may want to let your cat out of the carrier periodically to get a drink of water and use the litter box.
• The first rule of letting your cat out of the carrier is: Make sure you are parked. A cat wandering in a moving car is dangerous and could even cause a car accident.
• 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 collar) and leash. If your cat were to suddenly dart out of the car, it is much easier to step on a trailing leash that to try to grab a scared, freaked-out cat.
• Make sure that your cat is wearing an ID of some kind.
• If you are traveling a long distance and think that your cat may need to use the litter box, the easiest way is to purchase some of the disposable litter boxes that come with litter already inside. You can place these on the floor of the car for your cat to use and dispose of them in a trash receptacle—no muss, no fuss.
• 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 – cats won’t always drink water that tastes different.
• Don’t feed your cat the morning of your trip, or while you are driving. Cats will be just fine only eating in the evening for a day or two.
• If you are traveling in the heat of the summer, bring several ice packs or frozen bottles of water with you and keep them in a cooler in case your air conditioning goes out. Cats overheat quickly and cannot sweat effectively to counteract the heat. You can line the inside of your cat’s carrier with the ice packs wrapped in a cloth of some kind to try to help keep your cat cool.
• If you are traveling in the dead of winter, be sure to bring extra blankets for your cat as well as for yourself.
• Be sure to bring paperwork from your vet showing your cat’s current vaccination status. If you are traveling over state lines, by law you also need to have a health certificate from your vet.
• If you will be staying at a hotel, make sure it is a “pet friendly” hotel.
• Once you are in the hotel room, crawl around on your hands and knees and inspect 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 you are staying with a friend, it will be much less stressful for your cat to confine him to one room in the home while you are there, preferably the room you will be sleeping in.
• If your cat gets car sick, you can also obtain very effective anti-nausea medication from your vet for your cat—check with your vet.
• Once you have arrived at your destination, try to minimize your cat’s stress as much as possible by keeping kitty confined to one room that is out of the way and quiet while you unpack and unload.
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