If your cats are like most felines, they love to stay at home and would prefer never to travel. While some cats do enjoy vacation getaways with their people, the majority of feline family members are happy homebodies. However, transportation is a fact of life. Whether you need to take your cat on a getaway, to the veterinarian’s office, or to a new home during a move, it is always important to transport your cat safely. Here are seven ways to make sure your cat’s next journey is safe, both in the car and upon arrival:
Acclimate Your Cat to the Carrier. From crating to driving, your trip will go much smoother if your cat is acclimated to the carrier. If your cat only sees the carrier for trips to the vet clinic, he will disappear upon its appearance. Instead, leave the carrier out 24/7, adding a super soft blanket, special toy, and surprise treats to teach your cat that the carrier is a fun place.
Include the Scent of Home. Add the scent of home to your carrier by including a crate mat or soft blanket (or even an unwashed t-shirt) that smells like home.
Check Out Pheromone Products. Pheromone products like Feliway give your cat an overall feeling of comfort and safety by mimicking the pheromones released by a nursing cat. You can purchase sprays to spritz the cat carrier before a trip; plug-in diffusers are great for a hotel room or a new home.
Microchip Your Cat. You should outfit your cats with breakaway collars to keep them safe in the event of a snag. While that safety feature protects your pet, it also means his ID tag can get lost. Go one step beyond the ID tag with a permanent microchip. If your cat should get away from you in transit, you will be able to report the microchip number to local veterinary clinics and shelters.
Pack Your Cat’s Food and Litter. Cats like constants — so your travels will be more successful if you can pack your cat’s usual food and litter brands.
Secure the Carrier in Your Car. When you place the carrier in your car, your job is only half done. Now you will need to secure that carrier so that, in the event of a sudden stop or accident, it is held safely in place. Not only does this ensure the safety of your cat, but also that of your human passengers.
Look Around Before Opening the Carrier. When you arrive at your destination – whether that is the vet’s office or your hotel room – check to be sure you are in an enclosed area before opening that carrier door. Do a check of your hotel room for hiding places before your cat is released. Often the hotel bathroom is the safest place to open the carrier, providing a small haven for your cat on arrival.
A little pre-trip preparation can make your next getaway with your cat a successful — and most importantly — a safe one, for both you and your cat.