We’ve received a lot of questions lately about how to make it easy for cats during travel. I guess it’s that time of year where lots of people are moving, but it’s important to take certain precautions when traveling with your cat. Traveling is stressful for kitties, but let’s discuss some ways in which you can make the trip easier on them.
Ground transportation is the most common and preferred method of traveling with your cat, but sometimes air travel is required. Because air travel is extra stressful on pets, we only recommend that you travel this way if absolutely necessary. Here are some tips for air travel with cats.
- Make sure your cat’s heart and health is good before taking a flight.
- Get your cat comfortable with their (airline approved) carrier first (see below for tips).
- If possible, keep your cat in a carrier near you on the flight.
- Make sure your cat has a current ID tag.
- Don’t feed your cat immediately before a flight.
- Invest in a TSA approved carrier.
If the trip you are taking doesn’t require air travel, awesome. Cats can handle vehicle travel much easier than planes. Here are some crucial tips for helping your cats with car travel.
- Get your cat comfortable with their carrier. This one is super important, regardless of the type of travel you’ll be doing with your cat. This means you will want to leave the carrier out in your cat’s comfortable space at home for as long as possible prior to traveling with your cat. Leaving the carrier out at all times is ideal for future travel as well. Put your cat’s blanket and toys in the carrier. Feed her treats in her carrier. All of these things will make your cat fell more comfortable and secure and it will make the trip much easier.
- Get your cat comfortable with car rides. We take (most of) our cats for short car rides almost daily. Put them in the carrier, drive around the block or stop and let them out in the car for some sightseeing. When you get home, reward them for a fun adventure with a treat or love. This will insure that your cat isn’t feeling negative about going for a trip.
- Use natural calming solutions. Many people think they need to sedate their cats in order to make a long distance trip. If you follow the above steps, using potentially toxic medications on your cat should not be necessary. Instead, try natural calming formulas that can help take the edge off the travel stress.
- Play calming music in the car. Music therapy has proven to work well at reducing your cat’s stress. Classical music, smooth jazz or some other type of calming music will help keep you and your cat’s anxiety low.
- Keep calm. It’s been scientifically proven that our cats can smell our fear. If you are stressed, your cat will be more likely to carry that stress and react as such. I realize that moves and long trips can be stressful for us humans, but do what you can as a responsible cat parent to keep your anxiety at bay for the health of your kitty.