If you’re moving or going on a trip and you’re planning to take your cat with you, there are some things you should know first. Of course, if you’re going on a short trip and you’re going to come back, it would be wiser to leave your cat at home with someone who will look after it, because cats get attached to their home and aren’t too excited about leaving it. However, if you’re planning a one-way trip, then it’s logical that you’ll bring your cat along with you.
Cats tend to get stressed when they travel. They like things to be stable, they enjoy their routines and the safety they feel at home. If you take your cat out of its comfort zone, don’t expect everything to go smoothly. However, there are some tips you could use if you are travelling with your cat – tips that will help you make the whole situation a little less stressful for you and your cat.
1. Safety and comfort
If you’re travelling by car, it is important to make sure your cat is not uncomfortable or unsafe. It would be a good idea to place your cat into a large carrier, one where your cat could move, stretch, lie and turn over comfortably. Also, place some blanket or a piece of clothing on the floor of the carrier so that your cat has something comfortable to lie on. If your cat usually sleeps on some blanket or cloth, you could bring that, and as the cat will know its smell and touch it will feel a little more comfortable and calm.
Moreover, in order for your cat to be safe on the back seat, you should secure the carrier with a seatbelt. This may sound funny to you, but in case of an accident or quick turns and stops, you want your cat to remain safe in your car.
If your trip will last for 6 hours or less, you don’t have to worry about leaving the cat in the carrier for the entire time. However, if you’re it’s going to take a longer time, you should occasionally let your cat get out of the carrier and stretch its legs a little, go to the toilet, etc.
2. Letting your cat out of the carrier
If you’re letting your cat out of the carrier, and letting it move around the car, make sure that the car is not moving, because it can distract you while you’re driving and not paying attention on the road could cause an accident. Also, your cat could get hurt if you make sharp turns. Moreover, all the doors and windows should be closed- you don’t want your cat to get out of the car and wander off.
If you’re going to let your cat get out of the car, then you should use a harness and a leash, so it wouldn’t run away.
3. Going to the toilet
If you’re going on a long trip, you should know that your cat will have to go to the toilet eventually. One way to make sure that your cat doesn’t do the business on the car furniture is to take your litter box on the road, or buy a disposable one that already has some litter inside. The litter box could be on the floor of the car, and once it does what it needs to, get rid of what the cat leaves in the litter box by putting it in a bag and throwing it into a trash can on your way.
It is important to bring enough water and keep yourself and your cat hydrated. However, your cat shouldn’t drink water while you’re moving, as it will make a mess in your car and your cat will probably get wet and nervous. Therefore, make short stops and then give your cat water. The cat would be more comfortable if you brought the bowl from which it usually drinks water – they like constancy and familiarity. It would also help your cat’s comfort if you brought a bottle of the same water it drinks at home, because it probably won’t want to drink water that tastes differently than the water it’s used to.
5. The paperwork
If you’re traveling out of the state, you need to bring your cat’s paperwork from the veterinarian. These papers need to show when your cat was vaccinated and that it is healthy. In order to be able to bring it into another state, your cat may also need to have a passport. Look into the laws and rules before you plan your trip if you don’t want to have to return before you’ve crossed the border, or even worse – leave your cat somewhere because you can’t take it across.
If you are going to stay at a hotel or some other kind of accommodation, and you’re bringing your cat along, you need to make sure that they allow pets. Many accommodations don’t and it is important to do your research and find one where your cat will be welcome. You can’t just sneak the cat in, as you may be kicked out if what you’re doing is discovered.
7. When you arrive
When you get to your destination, it is important to help your cat deal with stress as much as possible, by giving them one room that is quiet and where it will have a litter box, food and water while you unpack and the cat becomes comfortable. However, make sure you check in on your cat frequently, because if you leave it alone in one room it may feel abandoned and sad.