A holiday weekend will be upon us soon and during that time, many people will travel. For families with pets, a vacation would not be complete without the companionship of their beloved cats.
However, traveling with cats could cause stress to both cat and owner unless the right steps are taken to ensure a safe and enjoyable trip.
“Pets, such as dogs and cats, are often excited by the prospect of travel in cars and can enjoy a road trip as much as their human companions, but disruptions to their schedule can have a negative impact on pets, leaving them stressed and frightened,” said Kellyann Conway, animal trainer. “Pet parents can keep their dog or cat content during travel by anticipating their needs and planning properly for the trip.”
Conway offers the following travel tips for cats:
For car travel:
- Acclimate your cat to the car before the trip. Determine if your cat has problems with motion sickness and/or exhibits excessive excitability that might require treatment.
- Secure your cat in a carrier or a pet seatbelt harness to ensure it is safe in the event of an accident and is unable to cause distraction to the driver.
- Keep your cat on its normal feeding schedule as much as possible.
- Keep plenty of fresh water available to ensure your cat stays well hydrated.
- Stop often to give your pet a little exercise and cuddle time.
- Bring a leash and harness, and make sure your cat wears a properly-fitted collar and ID tags for pit stops during the journey.
- Bring your cat’s identification, medication and a current photo in case you’re separated. Also, consider having your cat microchipped.
- Never leave your cat alone in a car. Extreme cold and hot temperatures — even if a window is left partially open — can be fatal in a matter of minutes.
For hotel travel:
- Most hotels also will require proof of vaccinations or a health certificate for pets.
- Avoid hotel food; always bring your cat’s regular food on the trip.
- When packing, include some of your cat’s comforts such as favorite bedding, toys and food dish.
- Bring your cat’s carrier and consider putting out the “Do Not Disturb” sign to keep out unexpected hotel staff. Also, consider leaving the television or radio on to drown out unfamiliar voices and noises that might frighten your cat.