It’s time to hit the road on vacation and for more people, that means taking their pet or pets on vacation with them. Most of the time, that means hitting the road with your dog or dogs, but some families do travel with the family cat. If you’re thinking of traveling with your cat, it pays to be prepared before you go. Here are some tips for a purr-fect trip if you’re traveling with your cat.
Clear your pet for travel – Do a check up with your vet prior to your trip to make sure kitty is good to travel. Your vet can also help you come up with the best game plan for traveling with your cat based on what she knows about your pet. This may include holistic or other methods to keep your kitty calm for the trip.
Prepare your cat for the road – Most cats are stressed by car rides and only hit the road on their way to the vet. If you think your cat could acclimate to a longer trip, work her way up with lots of smaller trips around the neighborhood before traveling with your cat. Natural treatments like Rescue Remedy can relieve some of the stress as will a Thunder Shirt for cats.
Find an appropriate carrier – You will want your cat to be secure no matter how you travel. If you're traveling with your cat by car, you may want a larger carrier or crate so he can move around more. If you’re flying with your cat, invest in a good duffle carrier that fits under the seat. Make sure you verify how your pet can travel via plane and what carrier is acceptable.
Harness train your cat – Your cat may never truly be comfortable with a harness and leash, but he will be safer if you keep a harness on him when traveling and attach a leash when he’s out of the carrier and roaming free past your room. Practice with both at home to get your cat more accustomed before traveling with your cat. (Look for a step-in harness that won’t choke your cat if he pulls on the leash.)
Check your travel plans – There are more dog-friendly hotels, but make sure those hotels are cat-friendly if you're traveling with your cat. Find out about extra deposits, fees and what you need to do to stay with a cat in your room. Make sure your cat is secure when you are out of the room so housekeeping won’t accidently let him or her out of the room.
Pack the essentials – Pack a box or duffle with your cat’s favorite food, treats, bedding, toys, scratchers and other items you'll need when traveling with your cat. TheQuaker Pet Group makes Supercat Catnip Spray that is great for traveling and giving your kitty that extra whiff of catnip that you can spritz in the carrier or on some toys. Make sure you pack bowls - there are collapsible travel options and some bowls that offer no spill options for the car. Imperial cat makes a wide range of Scratchers that pack and travel well.
An app for that – Check out apps for your phone that connect you with pet-friendly options, local vets and other key information. The ASPCA has a great app for poison and toxin information.
Identification – While at your vet, make sure your pet has a microchip. Make sure the chip is readable and registered with your information. If your cat will wear a collar, get an ID tag as well.
Litter box and litter – Invest in a smaller, portable litter box (there are some disposable boxes on the market) for traveling with your cat. Don’t forget the litter. Many litters come in tubs, bins or boxes that make them great options for travel. A great option is the new ökocat wood litter that is light-weight and comes in a compact box. It's also flushable. SwheatScoop also is a great option with a smaller size for travel. Consider taking doggy poop bags to dispose of your kitty poo on the road. Also, don’t just switch out litter before your trip, use some in advance to make sure your pet will use it before traveling with your cat.
If your cat is very stressed by being out of her element, he or she may be best left at home for a simple vacation. However, if you think your cat is up for the trip (or you’re moving), take the steps to make the trip more cat-friendly for your pet. Traveling with your cat can be done. Tomorrow, I'll review some products that make traveling with your cat a little easier.
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