Preparing for a Road Trip with Your Cat

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Is a soft-sided carrier right for your cat?

Traveling with a cat has never been easier, thanks to innovations in medicine, safety and convenience. Here’s an overview of what you need to pack up before taking your cat on the road.

1. Get a Cat Carrier

A carrier is the best way to travel with a cat, and they’re relatively inexpensive in feline sizes, so don’t scrimp and stuff your cat in a pillowcase or cardboard box. Many feline behaviorists are now recommending a hard-sided carrier with openings on the front and the top. These carriers provide a low-stress way for cats to be removed and returned to their secure environment. Let your cat get accustomed to the carrier before hitting the road for a long journey.

2. Talk About Travel with Your Vet

During car trips, many cat become either anxious, nauseated or both, and for those cats, talking to your veterinarian about medication before you go will make the trip easier on you both. Ask about medications that help with vomiting, and symptoms that go along with or precede vomiting such as excessive drooling. An anti-anxiety medication can help a nervous cat, as can feline pheromone sprays. Your veterinarian can help with all these medications and products, and also advise you if medication is not the best option for your cat.

Of course, you’ll also want a supply of any medication your pet’s regularly on, along with pill pockets or whatever you use to get the pills in your pet (and don’t forget to follow with water to prevent the pill from sticking in your pet’s throat). Ask your veterinarian if there should be changes in your pet’s medicines while you travel, and if pills need to be taken with food or on an empty stomach.

Above all be sure to secure all medicines – your pet’s and yours, too – while you’re on the road to keep pets from being poisoned by pills not meant for them or too many of those that are. And don’t forget to pick up a first-aid kit, and program your cell phone with emergency numbers for your pet’s needs as well as your own.

3. Plan for Food, Drink and Litterbox Issues

Pet-supply retailers have an incredible array of travel gear for pets, from collapsible bowls to special luggage designed to hold everything a pet needs to travel. Make sure you have your cat’s regular food with you and if you’re traveling for anything more than a quick trip, pick up disposable litter trays. Be sure to use your cat’s regular litter in them, though -- changing litter suddenly can cause some cats to start eliminating outside the litter box.


This article has been reviewed by a Veterinarian.

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