Taking your cat on a short trip to the vet or on an extended family vacation? Cats can become stressed when traveling, as the new sights, sounds and smells can be frightening.
An outgoing cat who loves adventures and meeting people is an ideal candidate for extended travel like a vacation. However, if car rides and new environments send your cat under the bed then it’s probably best that you enjoy your long adventure without her.
Whether you are traveling by plane or by car, there are common preparations useful for each mode of travel.
Start by acclimating your cat to two important items: a travel litter box and a Sleepypod carrier. Acclimate your cat to these items at least two weeks before extended travel.
Set out the travel litter box filled with the same brand of litter used in her everyday litter box. Allow her to sniff and use the litter box.
The carrier will be your cat’s sanctuary when traveling. A Sleepypod carrier converts easily from a carrier to a pet bed, and then to a crash-tested car seat. This seamless transition helps to reduce anxiety, as your cat is always traveling in her own familiar space.
Two weeks before travel, place the carrier in a frequent napping spot at home. Throw treats inside the carrier to get your cat comfortable roaming in and out of it. Offer lots of pets and praise. Set a sock or shirt with your scent inside the carrier to encourage your cat to make it a napping spot.
Once your cat has accepted her carrier, buckle the crash-tested carrier into the backseat of the car, going nowhere. Offer lots of praise and treats. Begin with brief car trips to get your kitty used to new sounds and smells before venturing out on longer rides.
There are greater limitations with air travel, so planning is crucial. Leading up to your flight, play various sounds at home to get her used to the bustling sounds of an airport. Again, start by having your cat well-adjusted to her carrier.
Next, acclimate your cat to wearing a walking harness. At the TSA checkpoint, your cat is required to come out of the carrier to be scanned. Having your cat already in a harness helps to make it easier to clip a leash onto the harness to prevent quick escapes.
Establish an area just for your cat. A blanket from home with familiar scents will help your cat adjust to the new environment.
Set out the travel litter box in a convenient but out-of-the-way spot so that your cat has easy access and privacy.
Don’t forget to hang the Do Not Disturb sign on the doorknob.
Bring extra food! Your brand of cat food might not be available at your destination. Travel can be upsetting to your cat’s tummy, so you don’t want the addition of new food thrown into the mix.
Lastly, pack a copy of vaccination records, your veterinarian’s contact information, and make sure your cat’s microchip and tags are up to date, too.
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