Traveling is one of the best things you can experience in life; visiting new places, meeting new people, trying new food, and just challenging your limits. It all becomes even better when you’re sharing it with someone you love. It doesn’t have to be a friend or family member, however, many people find the experience of traveling even more enjoyable with their favorite furry friend – their cat. If you’re trying it out for the first time, here are some tips on traveling with a cat:
PRE-TIP PREP TIPS
VISIT THE VET
Whether you’re traveling by car, plane, train, or ship with your cat, you have to visit your vet beforehand. You’ll need to tell them your destination in case your cat needs any vaccination for diseases widespread there. There are also some destinations and airlines that will require a health certificate from your vet within 10-30 days before traveling, depending on whether it’s by car or plane. The visit should also guarantee your cat is healthy enough to travel, as well as determine if it needs any sedatives or motion sickness meds to remain calm during the journey.
GET THE RIGHT GEAR
There are several things you’ll need to have while traveling with your cat to ensure its safety and comfort. The most important item to choose carefully is your cat’s carrier since that’s where it’ll spend the entirety of the trip. It shouldn’t be too small or too big, and you can either patten it with an absorbent potty pad or get a portable litter box. As for food, it’s always better to get cat food without iodine to maintain its health during the trip. Iodine-free food is proven to prevent any thyroid problems and keep your cat’s hormone levels in check. Also, don’t forget to bring a leash, as well as its favorite toys!
PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT
Cats do better and are a lot calmer in familiar surroundings, so if you’re planning a long car trip, it would be best to make your cat get used to your car. They are usually only in the car and their carrier for short vet visits, but this is a whole new territory. That’s why you must plan out occasional practice car trips that are a bit longer than usual before your trip. You can also let it explore around the car while it’s parked to familiarize itself with the scent. It’s also good to associate getting into the car with something familiar or enjoyable for your cat before starting the engine.
TAKE EXTREME SAFETY MEASURES
Car safety for cats is extremely important, so you need to establish some ground rules during your trip. If the trip is under 6 hours, there’s no need to let your cat out of the carrier, but if it’s longer, you’ll probably let it out for water and litter box use. Pay extra attention while opening and closing doors and windows because cats escape easily and very quickly. Never leave your cat in the car even for a few minutes, because the car could quickly overheat, and your cat could suffocate.
If you’re planning to travel by plane with your cat, there’s some homework you have to do first. You’ll first have to check for your airline’s requirements and rules regarding traveling with a pet. It’s preferable that your cat travels in the cabin with you, but some airlines impose they travel in the cargo hold. You’ll need to make sure your cat can either be under the seat in front of you or, if you can, book an extra seat. Make sure you know your carrier’s measurements because it will matter while booking. Remember to use the leash while going through airport security to prevent escape attempts!
PREPARE FOR THE WORST
Whether your vet prescribed calming medications for the flight or not, you should still be prepared for the worst-case scenario. Your cat may throw up, cry, or get aggressive, and you should also expect potty accidents. That’s why it’s important to pack the necessary cleaning and calming items like toys that you can use in these situations. Crating, for example, has proved to be efficient, but since you probably can’t take it out during the flight, do it before boarding.
Ultimately, you have to remember that it doesn’t always go perfectly in your cat’s first time traveling. The most important thing is to be properly prepared with the knowledge and the necessary tools. Traveling is as stressful for your cat as it is for you, so try to be patient and remain calm in case of any incident or inconvenience. Remember that at the end of that car or plane ride awaits a great adventure with your favorite furry friend.