Cat's are great, but not great travelers
Having cats is great.
They give you so much pleasure and joy.
When you are down, they come and cheer you up.
Having weekend breakfast with them is something we look forward to every single week.
Even when they do something completely stupid, they make you laugh at least.
And because of that love you feel for them, you should think ahead when you want to or need to take your beloved feline pet by car somewhere.
Because just opposite of dogs which love riding a car, cat are different! They just plain don't like traveling by car! There are just a very few examples that do.
If you do not follow some of the easy tips you can find in this article, you likely will have a very unpleasant drive. Much more so will your pet.
Most common are vomiting, peeing and scating.
Beside the unwanted odor and the unpleasant cleaning on your part, your cat will smudge itself and if the tour is prolonged suffer severe dehydration.
What can you do to prevent this from happening?
By personal experience, I can tell you that preparation is key, so plan ahead.
Preparing the Cat Carrier
I assume you have a properly sized cat carrier for your feline travel companions.
If you have multiple cats you have figure out, whether they are comfortable to share one large cat basket or if it is smarter to have two of them.
Our's are better of in separated baskets.
If you do not have any carrier yet, get a cat carrier first.
Look out for a model that furthermost give your cat enough space. That includes not only for laying down, but also for getting up, stretching and turning around.
Get the cat carrier from the attic some days before you plan to travel. This way your cat can explore the carrier, maybe even go inside, and get comfortable with it.
A helpful little trick is putting some treats inside. This way your cat(s) connect it with something positive. If you get really lucky, it may even sleep there. To make it more comfy, put a towel or even better a favorite blanket inside, so it smells like home.
You can also put some catnip in the carrier that calms them down.
In case you know already that the transport will be a lot of stress for your 4-feeter or you never traveled with your cat and be afraid it could be a bit to much for it, see a doctor.
He can prescribe a mild sedative with you give before traveling.
Tip: There are sprays available, which can calm down your cat and reduce stress. You spray it in the carrier 15-30min before you go. This lasts for some hours and may help to ease the stress.
On the day of travel
Don't do the big mistake, we did on our first trip with the cats.
We just meant it good, when we fet our cats a delicious meal before we got them into the car. Within minutes we had a most disgusting mix of smells in the cabin.
Our girl let everything out. The male cat was better of.
Don't take that risk and learn from our mistake!
If you are going on a short trip, do not feed your cat the last three to four hours before you go. See that your cat use the litter box before leaving home with it.
If your planned journey is longer, you have to feed them. But do not overdo. Give your cat a smaller portion and feed again on the breaks.
Preparations in the car
The big day has come and your prepare everything in the car.
Secure the cat basket with a seat belt. In case of an accident or "just" a sudden stop, Kitty doesn't fly through the car towards the windscreen.
Do you drive a convertible? Close the top!
Are you driving for hours?
Bring some water and food with you and do not forget to take a covered and freshly filled litter box with you.
Breaks during the trip
On longer trips you want to make breaks.
Not only for yourself, also you’re your little soft paw.
You may want to do good and let Kitty out of the car. But let me tell you, that is not a great idea.
Your cat will be confused and will run away and get lost in the unknown terrain.
If you absolutely have to let your cat out, use a leash with a fitting harness for the size of your cat.
While you stop, make sure that Kitty gets something to drink - from a sturdy bowl that doesn't tilt over - and eat. And see that it uses the litter box (try this one for traveling) before you complement Kitty back in the cat carrier. Good luck with that...
Under no circumstances let your feline friend out of the crade while the car is in motion.
Kitty will run around in the cabin, may scratch you, because it is scared or just block your view.
The worst I have ever heart of, is that a cat panicked and tried to hide under the brake pedal.
Would you hit the brake hard in order to stop the car, preventing a possible accident, while your cat is caught under the brake?
Would you? How do you measure the lives at risk?
So, do not take the risk and let your cat run free while driving!
Let the windows closed as soft paw doesn't like the wind. If you need some fresh air, use the ventilation of your car or make a break every once in a while.
Pay attention that that your furry monster is not in direct sunlight in order to avoid "cooking" your cat.
If Kitty gets motion sickness, try the following: Put the cat basket out of sight.
Maybe you can put it in the foot room of the rear seats, so your cat can't see out of the window anymore. You can also try to block the view, by covering the carrier with a blanket. But pay attention that you neither block the air support nor having the air vent blowing where the basket is.
You may have come to the idea by yourself, but just to be complete: Talk to your cat.
Hearing your voice helps them to endure the stressful ride much better.
Even better than that would be if a passenger could take care of your little tiger during the trip. This person could take the basket on his or her lap and talk to your pet and cuddle it every once in while. It puts you as the driver also at ease, as you do not worry every second if the cat is fine or what that sound it just made means.
Being prepare now, I wish you and your cat "Good Traveling".
© 2013 TheAndy
TheAndy (author) from Germany on October 29, 2013:
You can also try the spray I mentioned. It doesn't go on or in the cat, you spray the inside of the basket with it before you start your travel.
flint3099 on October 28, 2013:
If I absolutely had to travel with my cat again I think I would go for your tip about a mild sedative. My cat gets really scared when traveling so this would probably be the best option.
Thanks for sharing the hub Andy.
TheAndy (author) from Germany on October 16, 2013:
Thank you so much. I am happy that you like the hub!
angryelf from Tennessee on October 15, 2013:
Kitties just get so stressed on their trips :/ I hate when I had to put them in the car when moving! They were so stressed it was unreal! Great hub Andy!