Traveling with Cats Like a Boss – 5 Tips for an Awesome Road Trip
How many times have you seen dogs sitting comfortably in cars, their heads lolling out the window as they feel the cool breeze that passes by? Now, how many times have you seen cats doing the same thing? Probably none, right?
Traveling with cats in a car may seem like a crazy idea for many since they are not as easygoing as dogs. They can’t just take a bathroom break anywhere and can become anxious in moving cars as they are in “unfamiliar territory.” However, going on road trips with cats isn’t an impossible task, if you just know how to do it right.
Dos and Don’ts of Traveling with Cats in a Car
How exactly do you ensure that your car trip will be smooth and pleasant? Here are five simple but effective tips you ought to follow:
Get Your Cat Familiar with and Comfortable in Cars
As we have discussed in our previous post, cats tend to be scared of cars because the only times they are allowed in them is when they are to be hauled to the veterinary clinic for horrible things (read: checkups).
To reduce your cat’s fear and make her relaxed throughout the drive, you have to train her to feel safe around and in cars. Do the following to get her acclimated:
• Conduct play times around and eventually inside the car
• If your cat likes catnip, sprinkle some of it on the car floor and seat to lure her inside
• Offer the most irresistible (by your cat’s standard) treats to her to get her in the car and continue feeding her while in it
Once she has acknowledged the car as part of her “home,” you can continue your preparation for traveling with cats by bringing kitty and her carrier inside the car. Leave her there for a couple of minutes, and then bring her inside the house. Repeat this step over several days to get her accustomed.
Next, put her and the carrier in the car and go for a quick drive around the block. Once she gets comfortable with that, too, you can start driving around the city. This long but simple process will get her used to cars and drives.
Pack Your Pet’s Travel Necessities
You have your bag full of clothes and perhaps another filled with food and drinks to keep you energized throughout the drive. What does your cat have? When you’re traveling with cats in a car, you must be equipped with the following:
• Your cat’s favorite blanket and toys
• Sufficient cat food, treats, and water, along with her own bowls
• Litter box, extra bag of litter, cat litter mat to keep the sand contained, and scooper
• Grooming tools (if required)
Time Her Meal and Bathroom Break
The bumpy movements of the car may make your cat uncomfortable and nauseous, prompting her to puke, pee, and poop. You want to avoid these things as much as possible. The best way to do that is by feeding her several hours (the ideal is 4-5 hours) before the start of your journey. This way, she would be able to do her bathroom business before traveling and will feel less queasy during the ride.
Keep Your Cat Secure and Cozy
To minimize the effect of the bumps and keep your cat comfortable, secure her carrier with the seat belt. However, make sure that the carrier is well ventilated. If you will be driving for over eight hours, you might want to exchange the regular plastic cat carrier with a steel crate. Line it with her towels and include a small toy she likes. Talking to her in a soft voice can also help her relax.
Plan Pit Stops
Although you have trained your cat to feel safe around cars, that doesn’t mean she is already okay staying put for long stretches without pause. For her sake, stop the car every three hours or so, so she can get some rest and maybe some fresh air.
Keep the car somewhere shaded. If you’re letting her out of the carrier for some treats and drink, make sure to keep her in an enclosed space, at least in the beginning, as she might feel threatened by the new smells and sights and bolt out to who knows where. We’re sure you don’t want to lose your buddy like that.
Traveling with cats in a car can be a comfortable and most memorable experience, if you are thoroughly prepared. Follow our tips to make sure your road trip will be an enjoyable one.
Have you tried traveling with cats before? How did it go? Do you have other tips to offer to fellow travelers with pets? Share them with us in the comment section below!