Should You Paws Before Taking Your Cat on a Road Trip?
In the past, I have embarked on long road trips with several cats, and by doing the right things to make the animals comfortable, I have completed these journeys in one piece and sane. The cats actually seemed to enjoy the road trips and there were no kitty fights, so I would do it again if needed. At Pacific Elite Collision Centers Covina, many of our customers are cat lovers, so we're happy to be sharing this information with you. If you're more of a dog person, some of these tips can actually be used by canine owners as well.
The very first thing to determine is whether or not your cat can even be considered as a passenger for a lengthy road trip. You can figure this out quickly by taking your cat out for shorter trips in the car. If the cat does not melt down or throw a kitty fit, you might be all right.
Some cats like to sit in the car and don't want to be in their crates. We would suggest that if you can, always have your cat crated while driving. We hear too many stories in Covina, CA about cats jumping on drivers and causing accidents while on the road and I even recall one where the driver was killed. Some cats will do just fine without being in a crate and we once had a tabby that would just sleep as soon as we got into the vehicle. But crating is recommended for safety reasons.
Some cats will be fine almost immediately, while others need a little time to relax and chill out before beginning the trip. First, we put the cat in the crate without the car moving and then eventually we open the door so that the cat can cruise around. Then, usually when we start moving, the cat will go back in the crate, at which point we close and latch the door. That way it seems more like a sanctuary than a prison for the feline.
Here are some other helpful tips for traveling with kitty:
· If your cat is stressed in the car, consider some natural anxiety remedies (Rescue Remedy, Feliway, Spirit Essences, for example) and keep your cat confined in the crate unless being in the crate causes the stress.
· Ensure you have a microchip containing your cat's updated information.
· Put a collar/tag on your cat listing your cell phone number.
· Always have a crate available in your back seat, even if your cat is comfortable outside of it while in the vehicle.
· Have your cat wear a harness and leash always if not crated, thereby giving you some additional control while in the car.
· Optionally, attach one end of the leash to the crate, for an additional layer if safety for you and the cat.
· Make certain to always hold onto the leash and/or your cat prior to opening a door for obvious reasons.
· If your cat wants to wander around the car, ascertain that it will not hinder the driver.
· If your cat is extremely freaked out, do not open the crate door and put a towel over the crate to eliminate any outside stimulation.
· Keep water, kitty treats and additional food in the car and have it easily available just in case.
Sources: Meow News, Humane Society and AAA