A large number of people select cats as pets because of how low maintenance they are. Think about it: If you’re going out of town, 9 times out of 10 you take your dog, but leave your cat. Sometimes, however, traveling with your cat is necessary. We find that most people aren’t quite as prepared to travel with their fluffy kitties as they would be a dog, so we’ve written some guidelines to help you on your adventure.
Traveling by car:
Do not make an assumption that your cat will be fine in a crate on a long road trip. Cats are actually prone to motion sickness and high anxiety, so you’ll want to do a little dry run before the real thing. A few days before your dry run, get the cat’s carrying crate out, open it up, and place a few favorite toys in there. Over the next several days, you’ll notice your cat exploring the crate, playing with the toys, maybe even curling up and sleeping inside his or her new-found little box with holes. This is a time where your cat is getting used to the crate, growing comfortable with the thought of being inside of it. When it’s time for your dry run, simply put your cat in the crate along with a small toy or two, and place your crate in the car.
Make sure that it’s secure on a flat area where it won’t wobble or fall. If you can, secure a little food in crate with the cat, and have some water nearby (you’ll definitely want to do this on the real trip). Drive around for 30 minutes to an hour, and listen to see how your cat responds. Many cats will start to make a loud wailing sound if they’re getting sick. If this is the case, the cat will likely vomit and then feel better — do not be surprised if this happens. Once you get home, assess: How did that go? Did your cat get sick? Did it meow a lot because it missed your attention? Plan your trip accordingly. If it turns out that your cat has issues with motion sickness, contact your vet, who will more than likely give you a medication or recommend children’s Benadryl to knock your pet out for the ride. Whatever you do, understand that your cat will be uncomfortable, and sometimes when that happens, they bolt. Take extra precautions to be sure they’re crates are securely closed, and do not let them out in an insecure environment.
Traveling by plane:
Traveling by plane with your cat is similar to traveling by car in the crate accommodation. There are some differences to note, and above all communication with the airline is key. Speak with your vet if you believe that sedating your animal for the flight would be best, and to get any sort of vaccination or certification necessary to fly. Though your cat may not typically wear a collar, put one on for the flight, and label the carrier clearly with your contact information and the cats name. Secure a ziplock bag of food to the outside of the crate, so that food is readily accessible. Have a spill free container of food and water on the inside, for the cat. If you can, book a direct flight, and notify flight attendants on board that your cat is flying with you. In the case of any delay or deviation of a from the schedule, they’ll be able to readily address what you need to do with your cat.
First and foremost, understand that felines are more at home in their usual environment, not with their owners; it’s just their nature. Traveling with your cat can be wrought with anxiety and fear for them, so take every precaution necessary to make it as easy an experience for them as possible.