We have all been there, our cat is miserable on the car ride to the vet. Or, you are trying to get out of town and your furry friend is upset. Today I will review some of the steps I took to help my cat.
First, how do you keep your cat calm while traveling? Having a comfortable cat carrier with plenty of room is the most important step for transporting your pet. Take the time to introduce your cat to a new carrier.
There are other things to focus on too when transporting a cat on a short or long trip. Some of the most important things to review are:
- Review Your Cat Carrier for Comfort
- Introduce Your Cat to a New Carrier if Purchased
- Soothe Your Cat on Days of Travel
- Pack Items According to the Distance of Travel (toys, litter box, treats, etc.)
- Clean up any accidents your pet may have immediately
Each cat has a different comfort level while taking a car ride. There is no one size fit all solution here. My advice is to have patience with your cat and do not expect an overnight miracle. Take each step one at a time to ease your cat into a new environment. We have included the top 10 tips below.
Make a Thorough Review of Your Cat Carrier
The first step starts with the cat carrier! If you have a carrier that is not suited for your cat, you will have a miserable cat.
Your cat’s comfort is crucial and having a destination in mind is important.
If you are going right down the street, you may not need as big of a cat carrier. If you are traveling on a large trip or moving, it is better to use a larger carrier with a small litter box. This will help with accidents.
When cats are frightened they like to be in dark shaded areas. A lot of pet carriers are constructed of dark fabric which can help with comfort levels.
Be careful to get a carrier with a lot of windows or open areas if your cat is generally frightened to go into carriers. The real trick though is to start days before your trip.
Warm Your Cat Up to Getting In The Carrier
It may seem like more work, but it will pay off the day you need to get your can in the carrier. Once you have your carrier in hand it is time to introduce your fluffy friend to it.
Leave the carrier open in your cat’s space. Get them in the habit of seeing it. Usually, they will be curious about a new item in their area. If your cat is reluctant, you can put treats inside of the carrier to help.
Besides adding treats in the carrier, it may be a good idea to add a personal item inside. If they have a favorite blanket put it inside. Or maybe they have a favorite toy you can use. Be creative with the process.
The next step is to start putting your cat daily inside the carrier so they will get used to it. This all depends on your cat’s comfort level. If your cat is hissing and clawing, it is a good idea to use a thick towel to gently wrap around your cat.
Once your cat is comfortable getting into the carrier, now it is time to close the carrier. Each day, extend the time you leave them in the carrier.
Soothing Your Cat The Day Of Travel
Before your cat enters the carrier, spray a cat soothing solution inside the carrier. Cat sprays mimic pheromones that a cat produces. This will help with your cat’s anxiety.
Also, make sure to limit eating before your car ride to reduce any vomiting or accidents they might have in the carrier. It is always a good idea to keep a pet-safe cleaner with you on any long trip.
Tackling Long Trips With Your Pet
If your cat does not do well on short trips to the vet, they will probably not do well on long trips. This is when you want to have a conversation with a professional. Your vet will be able to prescribe medication that will help anxiety and nausea. I have personally had to use medication with my cat before and it has made moving across the country much easier.
Again, we recommend consulting with a veterinarian before using any medication or sedatives.
During Your Trip
If your cat is having a hard time adjusting to car rides, try and invite a passenger to help calm your kitty.
This will help distract your cat from being uncomfortable. Bring some treats that the passenger can to your cat or even their favorite toy.
The passenger can also try and reach into the carrier to pet your cat depending if they claw or not.
If you have a hard carrier they can move their fingers across the metal gate as a distraction. The last thing you want is a cat to escape their carrier in the car.
Another key tip is to make sure there are no harmful chemicals in any calming sprays or cleaners that you use around your cat. This could worsen the condition of your feline. If your cat does have an accident, clean up the mess as soon as you can.
Cleaning Up Accidents In the Cat Carrier
Taking a long road trip can be enjoyable or become a nightmare. Being prepared for a road trip with your cat is crucial. If they have an accident it can stink up your car quickly. Some good items to pack are; paper towels, cleaner, wet wipes, baking soda, and bags.
If your cat pees anywhere outside of their litter box, you will know immediately. The best thing to do is to stop the car and find a place to clean up the mess. Do not scold your cat! This can lead to other problems in the future.
Making Cat Cleanup Easy
First, you want to soak up as much urine as you can with the paper towels and put it in a bag (make sure to bring a lot of bags). The longer the urine sits, the harder the smell will be to remove.
Next, you want to use a cat urine cleaner to neutralize the urine. A great common cleaner is mixing water and vinegar (1 to 1 ratio). Also, some of the enzyme-based cleaners work too which include Natures Miracle or Rocco & Roxie. I will cover this topic more in future articles.
After you have saturated the area with, it is important not to scrub or wash the area. Let the cleaner sit and air dry. Make sure to wash your hands after cleaning up the accident with wet wipes or a hand sanitizer.
After the Cleanup
Being frustrated is normal after your cat had an accident but it is important not to take it out on your cat. Give your pet love and affection while you speak soothingly like you would a child.
They are probably scared and speaking with your cat can help calm them. If they do not take regular car rides, it is good to start introducing them slowly to small trips around town. Your patience will go a long way.
Trying to calm your cat during any travel situation takes time and patience form their owner. It is always good to put yourself in the cat’s frame of mind when purchasing carriers, cleaners, and toys. You will know best where your kitty is when taking them on the road.