As the world is reopening, it is time for road trips and exploration. The pandemic has transformed our travel habits and taught us to pack light. Another trend that has gained popularity is ditching airports for road trips. While air travel is heavy on the pockets, it is also troublesome to bring your four-legged ones along with you. However, our fur babies are sensitive. That is why it is essential to know everything before heading out on your journey.
The fur baby in question today is Cats. Our pet cats are overly sensitive to the surroundings they live in. So, taking them out of their comfort zones may require a little more precaution.
There is one thing that cat parents often undermine: comfort. For your cat, comfort means familiarity with their own space, its health and other safety concerns.
While dogs are more adaptable and excited to drive to new destinations with you, cats may not be that enthralled. Dr Matthew McCarthy of Juniper Valley Animal Hospital in Queens, New York, says, before travelling with your cat, you should keep in mind that the journey may not be enjoyable for your whisker buddy. “Cats are very territorial and take a lot of time setting up their comfort zone. “
Cats are also creatures of routine. If you notice your cats’ behaviour and pattern, then you will be able to predict your cat’s daily shenanigans. Those scratches on your pillow may not be your cat just acting out, it can be your cat’s favourite sitting spot. Taking them out of their well-honed home can be distressing.
Before you hit the road, it is important to get your cat to like the car. Riding in the car can be unpleasant for many cats. For some cats, it might be the end of the world (at least according to them).
Things to keep in mind before traveling with a cat
Here are quick tips for you and your whisker buddy’s smooth trip.
- Before starting your road trip, spend some time getting your cat familiar with the car. First, spend some time getting your cat to get used to the car.
- Once your cat is comfortable in the vehicle, the next step is to reduce the stress level of the routine vet visits. You need to establish a positive car environment for your cat. This may take some time but is important.
Note: It is easier for kittens to adjust to new experiences and surroundings than an adult or senior cat. Start your cat’s travel-training process as early as possible. If you have a senior cat or your cat is past kitten hood, don’t worry. Adult and senior cats can also learn to tolerate car rides.
- Watch out for motion sickness. If your cat is not feeling good while travelling in the car, ask your vet if it’s because of motion sickness. Symptoms of motion sickness in animals are quite similar to humans. It includes nausea, drooling, vomiting, and diarrhea.
- You don’t need to be sad if your cat has motion sickness. Contact your vet for medications. Your vet may recommend Dramamine for nausea. Never give any medication to your cat without consulting your vet first.
- Practice getting in the car with your car. Bring your cat, secure your cat safely in its carry bag and bring it to the car. Next, strap the bag with a seatbelt and sit next to your cat. If your cat is settled, give them their favourite treat.
- You need to repeat this quite a few times. Gradually, increase the waiting time in the car. Make your cat wait in the car to get its treat. If your cat is acting unsettled, don’t give them a treat and reduce the waiting time in the car.
- After your cat is familiar with sitting in the car, try turning your car on before treating your cat. Practice this frequently. Award the calm time your cat spends in the car with a treat. Only stop when your cat looks distressed.
- Once your cat is settled, try driving around. If your cat doesn’t throw a tantrum, reward them with treats. If your cat is doing good on these short trips, gradually increase the distance of the short drives. Don’t forget to reward your cat for staying calm.
Note: Going on a solo trip with your furry friend sounds exciting. However, if you are travelling with your cat for the first time, bring someone along. Having someone to give your cat treats and keep them occupied while you drive can help.
- After your cat has mastered driving around the neighborhood, try driving around the corners at different speeds. You need to increase the distance of your rides, try driving one exit on a highway. Once you have covered a good distance, pull over and give your cat a treat for doing well.
Things to keep in mind before a road trip with a cat
Once you have created a travel pattern that your cat feels comfortable in, time to move on to the next part, a road trip.
- Before you hit the road, talk to your veterinarian. Check-in with your vet if your cat is healthy to travel. Also, learn to take care of your cat in case of car sickness.
- Make sure that your cat is wearing an identifiable tag. Put an easy-to-read tag on your fur baby’s collar. Also, make sure that your cat’s microchip information is updated.
- Plan pit stops along your travel route. Make a pit stop every few hours. Give water and treats to your cat. Make sure your cat has easy access to the litter box.
- Pack extra supplies for your cat. Make sure you have enough of your cat’s snacks and medicines. Pack the essentials to avoid any rush.
Note: As a cat parent, you must be aware of your cat’s likes and dislikes. Make sure to pack enough of your cat’s favourite treat and medication.
- Before you hit the road, plan your stay. Confirm hotels to stay. Book a hotel where you can stay comfortably with your pet whiskers.
- Cats tend to get stressed easily. Be prepared for your furry friend’s upset mood. If your cat gets stressed easily, talk to your vet about possible medical and behavioural help.
Note: If your cat is feeling insecure, its mood will be sour. A stressed cat can fall sick during travelling easily. Make sure to bring along your cat’s comfort item, no matter what it is.
- Before you hit the road, get your cat some exercise. Play with your cat before leaving. Also, give them some food and water.
- Keep your cat in their carry bag. Restraining your cat in their bag will keep them safe and also avoid car accidents. Keep your cat’s favourite toy nearby.
Don’t leave your cat in the car. Cars heat up quickly and the swift increase in temperature can put your cat’s life in danger. Now that you are all set, set out on your dream vacation.