Plan a road trip soon? You might be glad to know that road trips with your cat are not only an option, but can be a great bonding experience as well.
You don’t have to find a cat sitter, and your kitty won’t miss you because it’s right there with you. As with any adventure, however, it is important to be prepared!
Here are ten tips that can help you and your cat have the best, safest and most fun road trip together!
Familiarize your cat with your car
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Start by taking your kitty to the car before you plan to leave. Sit together in the back seat and give your cat some treats, then pet and brush it.
Give your cat the opportunity to sniff and explore the entire car. Bring out the carrier and place it where it will be when you travel.
Play soothing music. Maybe take a few short trips around the block, nice and slow, so Kitty can get used to the movement and you can see how they will react to being in the car.
Talk to your veterinarian about treatment
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If your cat doesn’t respond well to your trial trips, talk to your vet about ways to treat possible anxiety or motion sickness.
If you’re planning a cross-country move, the distance may be too far for your cat to travel. However, depending on the length of your car ride, a carefully prescribed relaxant or herbal supplement to tone it down may be the best idea.
Your veterinarian has a variety of options that can help you calm your kitty on your trip.
Give Kitty food and water before the trip
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Offer your cat food and water before heading out on the open road. Give kitty time to use the litter box after eating.
If your cat suffers from motion sickness, feed a light snack.
NOTE: If your cat is likely to get very sick in the car, it is better to withhold food and water starting about eight hours before hitting the road. You may want to consider other options and talk to your veterinarian.
Keep your cat in a carrier
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It is not safe for your cat to move freely in your car. They could get under your feet and interfere with your driving. If you have an accident, your cat can be seriously injured if you are not in a carrier.
Carriers provide a safe, quiet space for your cat and help alleviate at least some of the anxiety they may feel.
We hear stories all the time of cats getting lost on road trips and in rest stops. A cat carrier is really important for so many reasons.
Prepare for messes
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It may be a good idea to line your cat carrier with a disposable liner or old towels that can be discarded or laundered.
This makes a potty accident much easier to manage and easy to clean up when you’re on the road.
Be sure to bring a few trash bags for soiled towels. You may want to pack paper towels and cleaning solutions for extra security.
Plan pit stops
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Schedule pit stops along your route so that you can give your cat food, water and the opportunity to use the litter box about every two to three hours.
If you have a kitty harness and leash, your cat can even go outside and stretch her legs. If you’ve never used a cat harness or leash before, please test it at home to make sure your cat can’t wriggle out of it.
Update your cat’s ID tags, microchip and phone contacts
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Your cat should wear a breakaway collar with an identification tag that has your current information on it. Kitty should also be microchipped, especially when traveling, just in case.
If your cat is already microchipped, make sure the information associated with that microchip is up to date.
Your cat doesn’t usually wear a collar or tags at home. When traveling, however, it’s important to make sure kitties can be reunited with you quickly if they get spooked and run away.
It’s a good idea to bring your veterinarian’s information and look up information for emergency animal care at your destination. Pet poison control can be reached 24 hours a day at (888) 426-4435. Make sure you program your phone with all the information you need on your travels.
Bring fun toys
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It’s a good idea to bring along some new and exciting toys for your cat to play with while traveling. This will help keep them busy and happy.
You can make and share your own toys so they always have something new. Your cat might even start associating fun, new surprise toys with road trips.
Make it feel a little like home
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Our pets often feel the same emotions we feel. Your cat may get homesick while traveling, just like you do.
Consider adding an old t-shirt that smells like you, an old bed or their favorite blanket to their carrier so they can travel with a reminder of home.
The scent of these objects will help make the car feel more familiar, reduce your cat’s anxiety and make them feel more comfortable.
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This one should go without saying, but I’m going to say it anyway.
Loud music and sudden interruptions make traveling more stressful for your cat. Take it nice and slow and give yourself an extra large chase gap so you don’t have to slam on the brakes.
Keep the music down and play something mellow and relaxing if you can. Speak to your cat regularly with words of encouragement so he knows you’re thinking of him.
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Safe and happy travels to you and your cat. Enjoy your kitty companion and enjoy the ride.
Do you have any road trip tips for cat lovers? Have you ever taken a road trip with your kitty? Let us know in the comments below!