Planning a road trip this season? You might be glad to know that road tripping with your cat is not only an option, but it can also be a great bonding experience.
You won’t have to find a cat sitter, and your kitty won’t miss you because they’ll be right there with you. However, as with every adventure, it’s important to be prepared!
Here are ten tips that can help you and your cat have the best, safest, and most fun road trip together!
1. Get Your Cat Familiar With Your Car
Start by taking your kitty out to the car before you plan to leave. Sit in the back seat together and give your cat a few treats, then pet and brush them.
Give your cat a chance to sniff and explore the entire car. Bring their carrier out and place it where it will be when you travel.
Play some soothing music. Maybe take a few short rides around the block, nice and slow, so kitty can get use to the movement and so that you can see how they’re going to respond to life in the car.
2. Talk To Your Vet About Treatment
If your cat doesn’t respond well to your test drives, talk to your veterinarian about options to treat possible anxiety or motion sickness.
If you are planning a cross-country move, the distance may be too overwhelming for your cat. However, a carefully prescribed relaxant or herbal supplement to take the edge off of your cat might be the best idea depending on the length of your car ride.
Your veterinarian has a variety of options that can help soothe your kitty on your journey.
3. Give Kitty Food And Water Before The Trip
Offer your cat food and water before you head out on the open road. Give kitty time to use the litterbox after they eat.
If your cat gets motion sickness, keep the feeding to a light snack.
NOTE: If your cat is likely to get very ill in the car, it’s better to withhold food and water starting about eight hours before you hit the road. You may want consider other options and talk to your vet.
4. Keep Your Cat In A Carrier
It’s not safe for your cat to be free moving around your car. They could get under your feet and impair your driving, and if you have an accident, your cat could be seriously injured if not in a carrier.
Carriers provide a safe, quiet space for your cat and will help relieve at least some of the anxiety they may feel.
We hear stories all the time of cats being lost on road trips and at rest stops. A cat carrier is really important for so many reasons.
5. Prepare For Messes
It might be a good idea to line your cat carrier with disposable liner or some old towels that can be thrown out or washed.
This will make a potty accident much more manageable and easy to clean up while you are out on the road.
Be sure to bring along a few trash bags for soiled towels. You may want to pack paper towels and cleaning solutions for some extra backup.
6. Plan Pit Stops
Map out pit stops along your route so that you can give your cat food, water, and a chance to use the litter box about every two to three hours.
If you have a kitty harness and leash, your cat can even step outside and stretch their legs. If you’ve never used a cat harness or leash please be sure to test it at home to make sure your cat can’t wriggle out.
7. Update Your Cat’s ID Tags, Their Microchip, And Your Phone Contacts
Your cat should be wearing a breakaway collar with an identification tag that has your current information on it. Kitty should also be microchipped, especially when traveling, just in case.
If your cat is already microchipped, make sure the information associated with that microchip is up to date.
Your cat might not normally wear a collar and tags at home. However, when you’re traveling, it’s important to make sure that kitty can quickly be reunited with you should they be spooked and run away.
It’s a good idea to bring along your vet’s information and to look up information for animal emergency care at your destination. Animal Poison Control can be reached 24 hours a day at (888) 426-4435. Be sure to program your phone with any and all information you may need on your travels.
8. Bring Fun Toys
It’s a good idea to bring along some new and exciting toys that your cat can play with when you travel. This will help to keep them busy and happy.
You can make your own toys and swap them out so they always haves something new. Your cat might even start to associate fun new surprise toys with road trips.
9. Make It Feel A Little Like Home
Our pets often feel the same emotions that we feel. Your cat may feel homesick while traveling, just like you might.
Consider adding an old t-shirt that smells like you, an old bed, or their favorite blanket to their carrier so they can travel with a reminder of home.
The scent of these objects will help make the car feel more familiar, reduce your cat’s anxiety, and give them a greater sense of well-being.
10. Drive Safely
This one should go without saying, but I’ll say it anyway.
Loud music and sudden stops will make travel more stressful on your cat. Take it nice and slow, giving yourself an extra wide follow gap so that you don’t have to slam on the brakes.
Keep music down low, and if you can, play something mellow and relaxing. Speak words of encouragement to your cat periodically so that they know you’re thinking of them.
Safe and happy travels to you and your cat. Enjoy your kitty companion, and enjoy the ride.
Do you have any road trip tips for cat lovers? Have you ever taken a road trip with your kitty? Let us know in the comments below!