Most cats are scared of the car because it’s new territory, but us cat parents can help change that with some simple training. Our cats often don’t get taken to the vet for their regular checkups because of fear of traveling. This can reduce the chance of the long and happy lives they deserve.
It’s common for us to not do something that freaks our cats out. Usually this is a healthy decision, however, when it comes to car rides it’s important for us to help to calm their fears. Waiting until there’s an emergency will only make a traumatic event more traumatic.
How To Help Your Cat Enjoy Car Rides
- Start by keeping your kitty’s carrier out at all times. For me this meant that I upgraded their carriers to more aesthetically appealing ones to fit with the décor. Put the carrier in a comfortable spot that your cat likes and leave it open. Put your kitty’s favorite blanket or toys in there. Every time you see your cat hang out in the carrier give her a treat. You may even want to feed her in the carrier to make it a very comfortable spot. If the only time your cat sees his carrier is when he’s going to the vet then this will cause anxiety. Leaving it out helps cats get their familiar scents on it.
- Take your cat for practice runs at least a few times a week. This can be a really fun event and a reason to take a quick joy ride. Put your cat in the carrier and take a short drive. Talk to your kitty, play calming music and enjoy the scenery together. When you get home, give her/him a treat. Repeat this process frequently so that your cat will come to learn that there’s no reason to be scared of the car. What we are doing is training our cats to associate car rides with happy things.
These two simple steps can really help reduce the stress of car rides for your kitties.