Cover The Carrier With Breathable Fabric
This tip is dependent on each individual cat.
Some cats may like to be able to see you and see whats going on while others may become distressed by the constantly changing light and scenery.
If you feel it will help your cat relax, you can place a breathable towel or lightweight blanket over the carrier to reduce how much your cat can see.
Minimize Food Intake Before A Car Ride
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The sensation wont be as overpowering for your cat, and it can gradually become accustomed to it.
Why Do Cats Hate Car Rides
A car ride offers nothing fun for a cat. To make matters worse, cats are territorial and dislike leaving their territory.
The blaring horns and revving engines, strange people, and even stranger smells arent a pleasant experience for a cat thats used to familiar voices, faces, and scents.
Even if the cat has traveled in a car before, it likely didnt have a pleasant experience. Perhaps the cat was moved to a new house, with new sights and sounds to be wary of.
Maybe the cat was escorted to the vet, where it was poked, prodded, and surrounded by new faces. This can lead to a cat associating bad experiences with a car ride.
Car rides are stressful because they disrupt your cats set routine. Theyre even more unexpected and unpleasant if you spring the carrier on the cat at the last moment.
Moreover, cats are smart enough to detect stress or apprehension in their owners. If youre anxious about traveling with your cat, its likely to reflect that same emotion.
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Cats First Time Car Travels What You Need To Know
For cats that are traveling for the first time, I always suggest that your prepare for everything. Since you not sure how your cat will react or if your cat have motion sickness.
Carry extra supplies and motion sickness meds. You also want to include
I also recommend that you carry the cat on your lap. First time experiences can be daunting so you want to give enough support and comfort. This way isnt very safe so a good pouch will work, provided your are strapped on and secure.
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Provide Familiar Smells In The Carrier
Make sure to add familiar smells inside the carrier for the trip. Provide your cat the basics it needs, such as its favorite bed, water, and food. With familiar smells, your cat is less likely to be stressed out. You can also add other smells and items it likes outside of the carrier to further create a relaxing environment for your cat.
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Once You Arrive At Your Location
Once youve finally made it to your destination, there are a few things you can do to help your kitty settle in and relax.
First, make sure the room is cat safe. Always let you hosts know before leaving that youre bringing a pet, to ensure everything in the room is suitable. Make sure the room is cat-safe and secure before opening the crate. Set up your kitty resources and keep the room quiet and calm as you allow your kitty to explore in their own time.
Give your pet time to adjust. Your kitty might be a little nervous after the long journey and be reluctant to get out of the crate/carrier. Its important to give your pet time to adjust, come out at their own pace, and explore their new environment. Make sure there are some familiar items nearby – such as favourite toys and their bed, and make sure there are lots of resources nearby. If possible, give your pet the option to stay in their bed, or in the carrier while you are away. Giving them the option will let them feel they are in control!
Set a space for kitty litter. Place a litter tray close by so that your pet can find it easily. Be sure to clean and remove litter regularly as you would at home. You should also keep food and water in a different place.
Keep watch on your pet. Keep an eye on your kitty at all times, and only let them wander freely if you are confident that they cannot escape outside to a strange area.
How To Calm Down A Panting Cat
Come cat panting is normal and theres no reason to be concerned. However, if your cat is stressed out, they may show signs of difficulty breathing and wheezing.
If your cat is panting heavily, it could be that the temperature in the vehicle is too high. Try turning on the AC to see if that helps your kitty.
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Tips For A Taking A Cat On A Road Trip
Without further ado, here are the 11 tips weve learned from long-distance road tripping with Fitzgerald. We hope these insights will help keep you and your feline companion stress free on the road!
Please note that these tips are based on our own personal experience road tripping with cats.All cats have different personalities and may react differently in the car!We are not veterinarians please consult with your cats vet about the best way to travel with your cat.
Avoid Only Getting The Carrier Out On The Day Of A Trip/ Vet Visit
One of the worst mistakes pet owners make is only letting their pets see and experience the carrier when they need to go to the vets etc.
This causes pets to become immediately stressed when they see the carrier appear from storage.
Avoid this by letting your cat spend time in the carrier on their own accord and give them treats whenever they do.
This helps to build a positive association between your cat and their carrier.
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Use Medicine To Calm A Cat
Benadryl is a common way for owners to sedate their cat for travel.
Benadryl is a human anti-histamine medicine that tends to leave cats drowsy and therefore more compliant on long car trips.
Its not approved for use in animals by the FDA but its generally considered safe enough to use in small doses on cats.
Wed advise caution when using Benadryl as we would with any unprescribed medication. There are other brands available, too, but always make sure that theres only ONE active ingredient DIPHENHYDRAMINE.
Additional active ingredients can cause health problems.
If your cat suffers from extreme distress in the car, then you can also talk to your veterinarian about prescription drugs that will sedate them.
Every Week Our Vet Expert Answers Your Pressing Pet Questions
Q: My cat freaks out whenever we bring her in the carshe bangs against the sides of her carrier, yowls nonstop, basically throws a fit. Do you have any suggestions of how to make car rides more tolerable for her?
Dr. Chris Miller, AtlasVet DC: The more I think about it, the more I feel like cats that fear cars are very intelligent. Dogs that just jump in a car and hang their heads out the window seem a little cavalier to blindly trust such a wild experience. They dont know what cars are or how they work. I get nervous in planes, and I know how they work. Suddenly, a cat is plucked from its domain, jammed into a carrier, and tossed into a large metal box that hurtles along at 60 miles per hour. This must be horrifying for cats that only leave the house once a year.
Cats do not like change, and the first sign that their routine is about to get shaken up is the carrier. Just the sight of it can cause cats to panic, so making sure it is a safe place by getting your cat used to it in advance can be incredibly helpful. Use the carrier as a place for kittens to sleep, play, or eat as they are being raised. For adult cats, get the carrier out many days in advance of a scheduled car trip and try to make it a desirable destination by placing treats or catnip inside. Using an anti-anxiety pheromone spray like Feliway can help cats distinguish the carrier as a pleasant, more familiar place.
Find Dr. Chris Miller on Twitter at .
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Familiar Smells Can Help Your Cat Stay Calm
Some cats love to travel, especially if they get accustomed to it as a kitten. But some cats need a little extra help to stay calm. When traveling, it’s very important to maintain some sense of routine for your kitty. This normalcy will help your cat feel calmer.
Be sure to bring all your cat’s necessities, like food, bowls, toys, travel-sized litter, and a bed or blanket. When choosing which bed or blanket to bring, pick your cat’s favorite or one she spends a lot of time in. The familiar feel and scents will provide a sense of security.
To enhance the sense of normalcy and further calm your cat, put your cat’s carrier in your home for a few days before the trip and keep a favorite blanket or towel inside.1 Give her treats occasionally in the carrier too. The goal is for the carrier to smell like home once you put it in the car and for your cat to find the carrier comforting by the time you get on the road.
You Might Need To Leave Your Cat Home Or With A Sitter
Sometimes cats cannot adjust to riding in a car. If this sounds like your situation, your best bet might be to leave your kitty at home or a pet hotel. If you decide to leave your kitty home alone, ask someone to stop by to check on your pet regularly and leave a list of instructions. Be sure to include what kind of food and how much to serve, how much water to give, any medication your cat needs, and a phone number for the veterinarian, in case of an emergency. Also, make sure they know how to get in touch with you if they have any questions or problems.
There are other options besides leaving your cat home alone, although that might be his favorite! You can ask a friend to “kitty-sit” while you’re gone by either staying in your home or taking your cat into their home. If your cat sitter takes your cat into their home, be mindful that this change of scenery can be very stressful for some cats. And if your cat somehow escapes, it is unlikely he will be able to find his way home. So this option really depends on your cat’s personality.
There is also the option of taking your cat to a pet hotel. In some locations, laws have been passed to make sure these businesses are regularly monitored, so the cats are taken care of in a way that would please even the pickiest of owners. Recently, there has even been a trend for posh cat hotels and bed & breakfasts. Make sure you do your research and visit the locations to see which one is best for you and your cat.
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Moving Your Cat By Car
Avoid giving your kitty a big meal before taking a trip. A light breakfast to settle the stomach is all thats needed until you stop for the night. Use a seat belt to secure the cat carrier in case of sudden stops or turns. Most cats will be fine without a litter box for trips under 6 hours. If you are going to be in the car for longer periods, bring along a disposable litter box that you can use in the car or hotel.
How To Calm Down A Cat In The Car
If youve ever tried to take your cat on a car ride before, you know just how anxious cats get when in the car. Because cats are such creatures of habit, they do not like being taken from their home and stuck in an unfamiliar situation.
Unfortunately, it can be impossible avoid taking your cat on a car ride, such as when it is vet appointment day. On these days, its important to know how to calm down a cat in the car with methods that work.
In this article, we go over 8 proven methods for how to calm down a cat in the car. With these methods, you can help your cat calm down so that you can safely transport your beloved feline from one location to the next.
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Traveling Long Distances With Cats
Some cats really suffer from stress and discomfort during long trips. If your cat has had a bad experience in the past or seems really unhappy during shorter test runs, consider talking to the vet about prescription solutions. Anti-nausea and anti-anxiety medications are available for cats that need them. Its not absolutely necessary to use a cat sedative for traveling in the car, but medications can be a big relief for everyone. These medications may need to be administered starting a day or two before the trip, so book a vet visit before then if possible.
Get Your Kitty To Love Their Carrier
If they’re going to ride in the car, like you, theyll need to be safely buckled up to protect not just them, but everyone in the car and on the road.
After all, unrestrained cats can be a distraction, interfering with your ability to steer or brake, and even become a dangerous projectile in the event of a crash or sudden stop. Like in this case of a cat loose in the car distracting the driver and causing three accidents!In order to make restraint stress-less for your kitty and yourself, spend some time training your cat to love their carrier before the big travel day arrives.
Don’t have a carrier for your cat yet? See further below for our recommendations, including carriers that are crash test certified.
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What Should I Bring For My Cat During Long Road Trips
When taking your cat for long road trips, its important to pack everything your cat may need during the journey. Pack food, water, and medication. Also, pack your cats favorite treats, toys, litter, and any other items your cat is familiar with.
In addition to your cats day-to-day items, dont forget your cats medical documents, recent lab work, vaccination certificates, and vaccination tags. More so, ensure your cat wearing is identification and a properly fitting harness.
Update Your Cats Id Tags Their Microchip And Your Phone Contacts
Your cat should be wearing 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 might not normally wear a collar and tags at home. However, when youre traveling, its important to make sure that kitty can quickly be reunited with you should they be spooked and run away.
Its a good idea to bring along your vets information and to look up information for animal emergency care at your destination. Animal Poison Control can be reached 24 hours a day at 426-4435. Be sure to program your phone with any and all information you may need on your travels.
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Take A Familiar Blanket Or Towel
Putting a towel or blanket that smells like your cat into the car and carrier can help them feel a lot more comfortable.
This helps to bring the smells of home with you and this will help calm your cat.
Remember, you want the carrier to be comfortable, secure and familiar.
Having it smell like home and your cat will go a long way in settling any nerves your cat has.
Should I Leave My Cat At Home With A Sitter
Unless you cant avoid taking your cat with you on the journey, its best to simply leave your cat at home with a cat sitter. Even though you may get lonely without your cat, leaving your cat at home is the best choice for your furry feline.
For example, you should leave your cat at home with a sitter if youre only leaving for a week or so. Even if the sitter is a person your cat has never met, your cat will be much less stressed with a new cat sitter than they would be on a car ride.
The only time you should take your cat away from home is when it is unavoidable to do so. Vet appointments and moving to a new home are two examples of when you should not leave your cat at home for obvious reasons.
If you have someone you can trust that your cat is already familiar with, thats the best choice for a cat sitter. If you do not know anyone who can or is willing to watch your cat, you can look online for reputable cat sitters in your area.
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