We are deep in the holiday season now and you may be thinking about taking your cat with you for a short or even a long trip. Cats are generally most comfortable in their familiar environment but many can travel well with a few considerations.
Here are our ten top tips:
- Schedule a visit to your vet to ensure your cat is healthy and up-to-date on vaccinations. For cats that are anxious travellers, your vet may be able to prescribe medication.
- Make sure your cat has proper identification, including a collar with an ID tag containing your contact information in addition to being micro-chipped.
- Invest in a well-ventilated and secure cat carrier that has enough space for your cat to stand, turn around, and lie down comfortably. Familiarise them with the carrier before the trip. Secure the carrier with a seat belt to prevent it from moving around. Don’t let your cat roam freely in the car – it can be dangerous for cat and driver.
- Pack your cat’s favourite blanket, pillow, or a piece of clothing that carries your scent. Familiar smells can help comfort your cat and make the new environment less intimidating. Pheromone sprays or wipes work for some cats. If your cat enjoys catnip, consider bringing along a catnip-infused toy or a small pouch of dried catnip.
- Offer your cat small treats during the journey to encourage calm behaviour. Choose known favourites and ones that are easy to handle while on the move.
- If your cat enjoys being groomed, bring a grooming brush. Gently brushing your cat can be a soothing and bonding activity.
- Gradually introduce your cat to the concept of travel by taking short trips around the neighbourhood before embarking on a longer journey.
- Ensure a comfortable temperature for your cat. Place the carrier where there is a good flow of fresh or air-conditioned air. Never leave your cat alone in a parked car.
- Plan regular breaks during your journey to allow your cat to stretch, use the litter box, and stay hydrated. Keep the carrier covered to reduce stimuli that may stress your cat.
- Bring a portable litter box and provide access to it during breaks. Familiarise your cat with the portable litter box before the trip.
Remember, your cat is unique so be especially attentive during travel and adjust your plans accordingly.