Traviling Tips & Tricks

edited 29 March, 2015 in Cats & Travel
I am making this post to answer a lot of questions I see being asked over and over. Traveling with cats can be both stressful and rewarding. We travel with our three cats when we go on 'vacations' These tips and tricks will hopefully answer any questions you may have. *Make sure you boox cat friendly hotels ahead of time, as well as look up emergency vet locations along your route for any sort of emergency. -Enjoy! Preparing your kitty to travel: Some preparation is necessary to ensure your cat is ready. -The carrier Your cat must associate the carrier with something good. So keep the carrier out in your home (left open) for at least a week before you leave. Try placing a bed in there, so it's more welcoming. -The harness It is very important to use a harness and leash when traveling. This will keep kitty safe. She needs to become use to wearing it, so try putting kitty in her harness and let her go about her day about a week before leaving. Slowly tighten it over time. Make it loose at first, so it's not super tight and uncomfortable. (we have all seen a cat's reaction to wearing clothes) -Microchip It's important that your cat is microchipped before going anywhere. This is just in case she gets away, the person that finds her can give her back to her owners. -Car time Take kitty out to the car, and sit in there with her. Let her explore, and sniff around. Do not go anywhere, just sit and offer treats. This will help her understand the car is a good place. Repeat this until the day of travel. -crate training Just leaving the crate out in your home isn't good enough. Once kitty gets use to car time, try bringing her and her crate in there. Set it on the back seat and let her explore. Once she is comfortable going in and out of it in the car, try shutting the door for a few minutes. Offer treats and positive reinforcement. -Getting use to car sounds Once kitty is a pro at car time and getting in the crate in the car, it's time to introduce the scary car motor. Bring kitty and her carrier out into the car, this time start the car. Leave it on for a few minutes and shut it off. Do this several times each car visit. Once use to the motor, place her in the carrier, shut the door and proceed to start the car. After a minute or two, turn it back off and let her out. Giving lots of praise and treats. -Continue these steps until the traveling day. While traveling: Should I use a pet carrier? Yes! It is very important to have a carrier, even for that short drive to the vet. A lot of tragedies can happen if you simply go just holding your cat. - Injury Kitty can become scared, leap from your arms right out an open window, or into a closed one. I've heard horror stories of cats jumping into windshields and dying on impact, or dying slowly from brain injuries. If you slam on the breaks, she won't be in a seat belt, and can easily be tossed around and seriously injured. -Escaping The cat can escape out the door. When stopping for a pit stop, kitty can easily jump right out while you're not looking. -Accidents If kitty is roaming around the car, she can easily get under the driver's feet, have something smashed under the pedals, or stop you from using the pedals at all. -Distraction anything that can distract you from driving is a big risk. If you're constantly looking for where kitty might be, this takes your attention from the road, and can lead to an accident. What to do I with the litter box? This would have to be the biggest question. If you're going more than 3 hours, a litter box is needed. - Keep it in the carrier a small kitten litter box in a large pet carrier or dog crate will do fine. Just make sure if it is in there, kitty can still stretch, lay down and move around. -Pit Stop Every few hours, you should stop and let kitty out of her carrier to go potty. Have the litterbox handy, place it on the back seat, and let her out. If she doesn't use it, put her back in the carrier and try the next pit stop. It would be best to stop every 3 hours, shorten that time for kittens, or lengthen that time if you know how long kitty can hold it. be sure to place puppy pads down in case she has an accident. Should I put the cats in the moving truck? No, this should be a definite no. It's already stressful enough to be in a cage in an unfamiliar place, but the risk of boxes falling can cause an injury. Keep your cat(s) safe with you in your car. Should I feed her? Depending on how long your trip is, depends on if you should feed. If your trip will take a day (or more) feed kitty once you arrive to your hotel or destination, or in the car if you keep driving. Use the bowls that are made for carriers to avoid a mess. Depending on if your cat gets carsick or not, you can feed them a few hours before leaving. If you're unsure, go ahead and feed them before leaving, if she gets sick, only feed once (at the end of the day) Keep in mind, it is a stressful time for kitty, so she may not want to eat. Always provide water, you can use a bowl that attaches to the carrier. Make sure you don't fill it all the way, it should be as deep as your fingertip. Always use a cat harness and leash It is important to have your cat on a leash to avoid escape. Before opening the car doors and put them in their harness and attach the leash. The vocal kitty Let's be honest, cats hate car rides, and most of the time those car rides lead to an unpleasant experience, the vet. Kitty will associate the car with something bad, and she will meow frantically. Though, some cats do not meow, the vast majority do. here are some ways to calm and quiet down your cat: -place a blanket over the carrier this makes it so they cannot see anything scary and helps them feel more secure - talk to them in a calming voice hearing your voice in a calm tone will help soothe them. Almost like a mother cat's purr. -pet them if kitty is in reach, stroke her, and tell her it's okay. do not open up the carrier or put her on your lap. - do not play loud music this could easily startle her, so keep the volume low. Should I put my cat under while traveling? Anesthesia will always have risks. Your vet may offer putting a cat under while traveling to keep them quiet and 'stress free.' But in reality, when your cat wakes up in an unfamiliar environment, it will be even more stressful. She will be confused and very upset. It is best to let them be awake during the trip. Preparing for Flying: It is sometimes necessary to fly than drive when moving or traveling. It is important to ensure the crate is USDA approved for flying, well ventilated and very secure. Follow the steps in the preparation section (including the car steps) to get your cat accustom to the crate and driving to the airport. -Feeding use the crate dishes to avoid spills during the flight. Water should only be as deep as your fingertip. Refill before your next flight (if you have one). Do not refill the food for the next fight, stick to feeding at breakfast and at dinner. If your flight isn't early in the morning, feed before you leave for the airport. -Litter box It would be best to keep a litter box in the crate while flying. Even if the flight is less than 3 hours, delays and other things can happen. Make sure the crate is big enough for kitty to stretch, turn, stand up and lay down with the litter box in there. -Anesthesia Anesthesia will always have risks. Your vet may offer putting a cat under while traveling to keep them quiet and 'stress free.' But in reality, when your cat wakes up in an unfamiliar environment, it will be even more stressful. She will be confused and very upset. It is best to let them be awake during the trip. This is all the main things I will cover in this post, if you have any questions that I did not answer, feel free to reply to this post, and I will surely get back to you!
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