Traveling with Cats
Traveling with cats is not usually a lot of fun and can be a huge hassle. If you are moving, traveling with your cats is unavoidable. You may also have the rare cat that enjoys, or at least tolerates, road trips or you don’t have a cat sitter, so you must take your furry creature with you on vacation. If you are traveling by car with your cat, read on for some tips to make the trip more bearable.
Before you even start packing, you need to plan your trip. Many hotels and motels do not permit pets, and some that do allow cats will charge you extra. When you are traveling alone or with human companions, you can skip reservations and just stop wherever you feel like stopping. When traveling with cats, it is important to go over your traveling plan and decide in advance when and where to stop each day. Call ahead to the motel where you want to stay to make sure they allow cats and ask about extra fees. If you don’t mind budget travel, nearly every Motel 6 in the U.S. allows pets and most do not charge any extra fees for this service.
Your cat should travel in its carrier when in the car. You may think it cruel to keep your cat cooped up in a carrier all day, but you are really being kind. Cats get frightened easily in the car and like to hide under your gas and brake pedals. Allowing your cat to get under your feet when driving can cause a car accident or force you to injure your cat if you must brake suddenly. Avoid tragedy- keep your cat in the carrier.
There is no need to take your cat out of the carrier or out of the car for bathroom breaks. Your cat, unless it is extremely frightened or ill, will wait until you get to the motel to use the litter box. If you think your cat needs to go while on the road, have a litter box in the car. Make sure all car doors and windows are closed before opening the cat carrier. Once the cat is out of the carrier, show him where the litter box is located. If he doesn’t use it within a few minutes, just put him back in the carrier and go on your way. Do not take the cat out of the car, even if you have a harness and leash. There is no harness or collar that a cat cannot get out of if seriously frightened. I promise you, if a car backfires and your cat gets scared, they will wriggle out of the harness before you can say “Oh, no!”.
Avoid giving your cat sedatives or tranquilizers while traveling. Unless your cat is in danger of self-injury due to stress from travel, it is better to just put up with the meowing. The cat will eventually get acclimated to this new, unpleasant adventure. Of course, he will remind you every time you stop and start of his displeasure, but this is normal. Using sedatives can cause your cat to become ill. Only use them if your vet has recommended it.
Taking a road trip with your cat may not be a super fun way to travel, but if it is necessary, use the things you just learned to make your trip go smoothly.