Editor’s Note: Today (Jan. 2) is National Pet Travel Safety Day, so we’re republishing this article by Catherine Holm from 2013 about preparing for car travel with cats so you can comment on it further. One thing to note: When Catherine wrote this she lived in Minnesota, but she has since moved to New England.
Where I live, towns, businesses, and homes are few and far between. In Northern Minnesota, anybody who has to get anywhere does a lot of driving. My favorite veterinarian is an hour away from me. I’ve also taken longer trips to a special veterinarian — four hours one way — when I needed holistic care for my cats. I end up driving a lot with my cats.
Today I had to make another trip to the vet, this time for Karma, who has a cold. Karma’s eye was red and she was holding it slightly shut. This set off alarm bells for me because my older cat Jamie had an eye ulcer earlier this year and lost an eye. So even though nothing looked awry, I took the time to get Karma in, and I’m glad I did. The vet put stain on Karma’s eye to check for ulcers (there were none). Eyes can get inflamed and red just from these colds, but the vet understood why I was worried. Karma was a tiny bit dehydrated — sometimes congested cats don’t feel like drinking — so the vet gave Karma some subcutaneous fluid. The vet called it a "backpack" because it’s given via needle over the shoulders and upper spine.
Having made many of these trips to my vet with my cats, I’ve learned to plan for as smooth a trip as possible. I’ve been fortunate to have cats on good behavior — they ride well. But I still dread the idea of breaking down in the wilderness with one of my fur kids. I’d be more worried about them and their health than about me.
Here’s what I include when I drive with my cats:
What precautions do you take when you have to drive with your cats? What has worked for you, and not worked for you? Share your ideas in comments!
Read more about cats and travel on Catster:
More by Catherine Holm:
About Catherine Holm: Told that she is funny but doesn’t know it, accused of being an unintentional con artist by her husband, quiet, with frequent unannounced bursts into dancing liveliness, Cat Holm loves writing about, working for, and living with cats. She is the author of The Great Purr, the cat-themed memoir Driving with Cats: Ours for a Short Time, the creator of Ann Catanzaro cat fantasy story gift books, and the author of two short story collections. She loves to dance, be outside whenever possible, read, play with cats, make music, do and teach yoga, and write. Cat lives in the woods, which she loves as much as really dark chocolate, and gets regular inspiration shots along with her double espresso shots from the city.
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