Before packing to take your cat for vacation this coming spring and summer, look at this list of things that you might be forgetting.
Preparation can be the difference between a stressful and fun journey with your cat! When packing for trips, most cat parents bring basic supplies like food, water, feeding bowls, litter, cat toys, a bed, and treats. But if you really want to be prepared, there are more things that you should consider doing and bringing with you.
Preparation is necessary to make your cat's car ride as comfortable as possible. Acclimate your cat with short car rides in the weeks leading up to the trip, with treats available while in the car. Leave the carrier door open to enable your cat to get used to the cage. Do not force your cat into the carrier; you want the cat to willingly get inside.
Doing this early preparation will create a positive association with car rides. It will make your cat much more comfortable when the long journey comes. During these test runs, if you will, notice whether your cat is prone to motion sickness. Some symptoms of motion sickness in cats are crying, drooling, seemingly too immobile or incredibly restless inside the carrier, vomiting, and/or urinating. If you think your cat has motion sickness, you might consider getting anti-nausea medications suggested by your vet. Ginger is also a natural solution for nausea with no adverse effects; you can give them orally or through chews from pet stores or vet clinics.
A Checklist of Things to Bring
Here is a quick rundown of the things you need to have ready when traveling with your cat:
- Food and water bowls
- Cat carrier
- Small towel or blanket
- Scratching post or pad
- Cat toys
- Cat leash and harness
- Cat collar with identification (also ensure that your cat is microchipped!)
- Enzyme-based cleaner (for when your cat has an accident in the vehicle or hotel)
- Medications (if your cat has any)
- Cat pheromones (Feliway)
Travel Tips You Shouldn't Forget
- Have your cat eat a few hours before traveling, and let them use the litterbox. If there is space available inside the carrier, you can put a portable litterbox. Don't make your cat stay in the carrier for more than 8 hours without food, water, or the opportunity to use the litterbox.
- Put your cat inside a carrier and lug it into the car. You might wish to put a towel or blanket to cover the carrier when putting your cat in the car. The carrier should be in a safe space inside the car; if you can strap it in place with the seat belt, that would be the best. You can try securing the carrier with ropes if you can't use the seatbelt.
- Car rides are stressful for our furry friends, whether they enjoy them. Having a harness and leash on your cat whenever it is out of the carrier (and inside the car) gives you extra security. Place your cat in the carrier with a cat harness on. You can tie the leash on the cat carrier if your cat bolts from an open window or door.
- Let your cat out of the car from time to time. Especially for long drives, allow your cat to stretch their legs occasionally. This is where the harness and leash are also useful. Giving your cat the time to get in their litterbox isn't a bad idea, but your cat might not be too keen.
- Airline carriers will decline pets that have been sedated because it is difficult to know if the pet is experiencing health issues like heat strokes. Instead of sedating your cat, you could use synthetic pheromones if your cat needs to relax before flying.
- This is a bit extra, but you can spray a synthetic cat pheromone (or use a diffuser) before placing your cat in the room where you intend to stay. If you plan to go out but will leave your cat inside the pet carrier, put a 'Do Not Disrupt' sign on your door in case someone might clean inside. If you're out for the day, put the cat in the bathroom with all its stuff and shut the door. Then leave a note on the door telling that your cat is currently inside and to not let it out.
- A cat scratcher is a must-bring. Pet owners usually forget this, but without proper scratching articles, you leave your cat with no choice but to scratch on things like hotel drapes or bed covers.
Traveling with Cat FAQs
In my research on this topic, I came across these frequently asked questions by cat parents. So I thought I'd address these on this blog:
Question: Are pet cats permitted on airplanes?
Answer: Cats are usually allowed on planes, but do your homework and check with your airline for their requirements. Also, ensure that your cat is fit to fly.
Question: How much time can cats hold their pee?
Answer: Cats can hold their pee for at least 12 hours, sometimes even longer. However, this is not true for all cats, as urination can be affected by underlying health issues.
Question: Can I leave a cat alone?
Answer: You can leave a cat alone for short periods—no longer than 3 days—if they have access to food, water, shelter, and a litterbox.
Important Safety Tips
- See to it that your cat always has a collar with ID tags! You will never ever be too confident. Always think about the possibility of your cat somehow weaseling its way out. A microchip with updated information is imperative.
- Don't let your cat out of the carrier while you're driving. If you're traveling with others and your cat likes to look out the home window, you can permit them, but be sure to put the cat on a harness and leash. The littlest things can scare a cat, and the last thing you need is a scared cat hiding under seats where you can not reach it or dashing under your feet to the pedals.
- Never EVER leave your cat alone in the car. It can take less than twenty minutes for your cat to overheat and die when left inside a car.
Taking a trip with a cat can be a delightful experience for both the pet and the owner. For a safe and enjoyable trip, there are some things that you should consider first. I hope this blog helps to prepare you to plan the best vacation ever with your cat.
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