Most cats prefer the comforts of their own home, but on occasion they are required to travel, such as during a move to a new home or when a lengthy vacation is planned. This adventure does not have to be painful or torturous for you or kitty. All you have to do is prepare in advance and your travel should be smooth sailing.
Before your trip, consider the following tips:
- The cat carrier – Purchase a cat carrier a few weeks before your trip and allow your cat time to become acquainted and comfortable with it before you leave the house. If you are traveling by plane, check with the airline for the allowable carrier size. This is a crucial first step. If you have trouble getting kitty into the carrier at home, it could be disastrous if you attempt to do this at the airport security or during a rest stop on the road. Put some catnip toys inside, so he will be encouraged to climb in and investigate.
- Take short trips – If your cat’s only association with car rides is going to the vet or kennel, he may have a negative association with travel. Before your trip, take kitty on a few short car rides to get him comfortable with the feeling of traveling in the carrier and being outside his comfort zone.
- Help kitty relax – Twenty minutes before travel, spray the inside of your cat’s carrier with a calming spray such as Nature’s Miracle No-Stress Cat Calming Spray. The pheromones in the spray create a feeling of safety that will help your cat relax without sedatives.
- Keep harness on kitty – Be sure to put a cat harness on your cat before placing him in the carrier. Keep the harness on for the duration of the car/plane ride. This will make it much easier to clip on a leash should you have to take him out of the carrier for a water or litter box break, carry him through security at the airport, or just allowing him the opportunity to stretch his legs.
- Bring calming spray, favorite cat toys and blanket with you – When you arrive at your destination, spray the room with the calming spray, lay out your cat’s favorite blanket and toys and hopefully he will feel relaxed and at home with some familiar objects around him.
- Do not disturb – If you are staying in a hotel/motel, make sure you put out the “do not disturb” sign each time you leave the room so the cleaning staff does not go in – unaware of your cat’s presence – and either let him out or stress him out.