When you’re traveling, you may consider bringing your feline friend with you. Having an animal companion during your journey can make it all the more memorable, but cats are different than dogs.
Your pooch may stick his head out the window and enjoy the road trip, but Fluffy has other plans.
Let’s talk about it.
Cats Like Their Territory
If you have a cat, especially one that stays in the house, taking them out of their territory and on the road can stress them out.
Expect your cat to cry while they’re in the car. If you’re a cat owner, you may know this if you ever had to take them to the vet.
Of course, some cats are more open to travel, but they are the exception. Therefore, if you’re just taking a vacation, your cat can stay behind.
Cats are great at taking care of themselves, and a neighbor, friend, or pet sitter can check up on them, feed them, and clean their litter box.
But what if you have to travel with your cat? Here are some ways you can survive the trip.
Get a Good Carrier
A small carrier may work for a 10 minute drive to the vet, but if you’re traveling for the long haul, they need a big carrier.
One they can stand and walk around in.
When you find that carrier, make sure it’s nice and padded, and secure it with the seat belt.
Pack the Essentials
Bring some cat toys to keep your kitty entertained, and bring their health records. Your cat may be in purrfect health, but in case of a medical emergency, having their vet records handy can make the process much faster.
If you’re going to be staying the night somewhere, pack a litter box, litter, food, water bowl, and all the essentials.
With litter boxes, you may want to go with the disposable types. Have proper identification, such as a collar with their name tag.
Also, consider buying products that can keep your cat calm.
From calming collars, calming treats, and calming sprays, they may help your cat be a little less stressed during the trip.
Of course, don’t rely on them too much, but if your cat is extra stressed, they may be worth it.
When to Let Fluffy Out?
Depending on the length of the trip, you may or may not need to let your cat out of the carrier.
For example, if the trip is longer than six hours, they need a break, but if it’s shorter, they can probably stay in the carrier for the whole duration of the trip.
Just like people, cats need to walk around and stretch their legs, and letting them out of the carrier for a bit is essential.
Just make sure you’re parked. Also, letting them out of the car is a bad idea unless they have a harness.
Make sure you feed and give your cat water when you’re parked. You don’t want it spilling.
You may think that loading your cat up on food before the trip is a smart move, but the problem is that they may vomit the food out.
Make sure you don’t do that. Feed your cat only in the evening.
Keep Cool or Warm
Your air conditioner should be running all throughout the trip during the summer.
Bringing an extra ice pack may be needed if you’re having AC problems, or in case the AC breaks down.
An extra blanket is also suggested if it’s cold outside.
Pet Friendliness and Hotels
As always, stay in hotels or motels that allow pets. Don’t just do a quick Google search, either.
Call the hotel and make sure. Their policies may change.
Some people may sneak in a pet that doesn’t allow pets, or may do so in a pet-friendly hotel to avoid fees. Don’t do that. If they find any evidence of a pet, you’re going to have to pay for it!
Once you’re in the hotel, check the room for anything that could be dangerous for your cat. Chances are, they won’t, but you never know.
Your cat may have trouble adjusting to the room at first, but give them their favorite blanket and bed and they should be right at home.
Anything that smells like your home is fair game. If the hotel has an extra room, consider putting them in there.
If your cat is extra meowy because of a new area, perhaps bring some noise-canceling headphones with you.
Play some white noise or ambient sounds so that Fluffy doesn’t keep you up all night. You’ve traveled a lot and need that rest.
So what if you need to do it by plane? Most planes will have a cargo hold for your cat and their carrier, but that may worry you a little bit, especially during a long flight.
Some airlines do allow you to keep your kitty on the cabin, but beware of fees. The cost of flying is already high, and the last thing you want is to be unprepared for the cost.
Arrive early, as some airlines don’t allow you to reserve your pet and have a limit. As you bring your cat in, cover their carrier. This way, they feel a little less stressed about the whole ordeal.
Have identification on your carrier as well in case if it gets lost.
Experience Traveling With a Cat
While most cats hate to travel, you sometimes have to traveling with a cat, and by preparing yourself and packing all the essentials, the trip can be a little less stressful for all.
While you deal with the stresses of travel, also consider online therapy.
Online therapy resources such as BetterHelp let you speak to a therapist while you’re on the road or flying high.
While they can’t calm your cat down, a therapist can help to calm you down and allow you to have a much less stressful trip.