Cats in Motion: Top Tips for Road Trips With Your Fussy and Furry Feline

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Traveling with a cat is a totally different experience than with a dog or some other pet. Here are several tips to keep your sanity and make the trip with your feline friend.

Get Your Vet’s Approval

Before you head out on a long trip, talk to your vet. Make sure that kitty doesn’t need any shots or that he or she is OK to travel. A basic checkup will put your mind at ease and possibly make the cat’s live easier too.

If your cat is older, you’ll want to start sensitizing him or her to the trip by making sure that he’s comfortable being in and around vehicles.

Cats don’t always like cars.

Start them as young as you can, and you shouldn’t have too many problems. For a brief time, a kitten is pretty open to experiencing new things. But, that period is pretty limited. After about 7 weeks, cats start to become set in their ways.

One thing you can do to protect your seats is to get a cover from It will catch any hair that your cat starts to shed out of anxiety or stress. It will also give kitty something to claw that’s not your seats.

Plan Pit Stops and Make A Checklist

Your cat is going to have to use the restroom, which for a cat is the wide open spaces of wherever you happen to be going. So, plan that into your trip. Also, plan out what you need to take – a checklist of sorts.

You’ll probably want a cat carrier. A loose cat in a car is a recipe for disaster. A real bad one. Kitty can end up stressed out and under your seat, or under your feet.

If you have to brake suddenly, you might find yourself on the business end of a severe death grip by cat.

Carriers prevent this by containing feline rage. It also makes the experience a little less stressful for the cat, since she can lay down and feel like there is protection from all sides. make sure the carrier isn’t in direct sunlight for long stretches of time too.

Make sure you’ve got food and water for the cat. Bring along his favorite bowls. If your cat is accustomed to drinking or eating something special, bring that along too.

Don’t Forget Toys and Bedding.

Cats love toys. They keep them occupied and engaged. When cats are bored, they can get destructive. Bring along some of the comforts from home. Make sure you choose their favorites or something familiar that they already use.

Pack Extra Supplies

You might need extra food, extra poop bags, or medicine, or water. Maybe you need extra toys, or bedding, and something to help kitty sleep. Most vets don’t like using sleep aids for pets unless it’s absolutely necessary. But, many pet owners feel that their pet won’t make the trip without being drugged.

There is a fine line between helping your pet and subjecting them to unnecessary medication. If you can help it, do not drug your cat. It’s better for their health if you don’t. Sometimes, a trip does stress out a cat. Even if it bothers you, it’s probably more stressful for you than it is for the cat. And, your cat will react to your own stress. So, control yourself, and your cat will probably be fine.

However, if kitty displays outwardly stressful signs, or completely freaks out before or during the trip, then you may want to use a sleep aid. Have your cat checked out by a vet afterwards.

Confirm Hotels

Confirm any hotels that you stay in – make sure cats are welcome. Many are OK with pets. Some aren’t. It’s best to ask than to just show up and expect room and board.

Also, if you’re leaving your cat at a pet hotel, make sure he or she has all his shots and records. Most places will ask for that stuff.

Prepare For Stressful Situations

It’s almost impossible to make a long road trip without something happening. If you do make it, consider yourself lucky. If your cat was sensitized to the car, this will be easy. If not, it’s probably going to be a long trip. Roll with the punches and, remember, your cat will probably be fine a few days after it’s all over.

William Finch is a stay at home Dad trying to raise 3 healthy, happy kids along with a multitude of pets! Once the kids are in bed he enjoys writing, most recently having taken to writing about family life. His articles have been published on parenting and lifestyle blogs.

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