Traveling by car can be very traumatic for cats. Unlike dogs (who we usually take to the park in the car), cats usually only travel in the car when they are being taken to the vet. This means that just the sight of the car could cause them to panic. Longer car trips will require even more preparation if you want them to be safe and comfortable. If you get your cat used to traveling by car and provide them with safe comforts, this will ensure that you both have a smooth trip.
Keep them safe in a transport cage.
The first step in ensuring that your cat has a safe car ride (no matter the distance) is to buy a sturdy, well-ventilated cat carrier. He won’t be able to get around safely in the car, as he could easily get under the brake pedal, curl up on the underside of a seat or even jump out the window. You’ll need a crate that will stand up to the wear and tear of travel, but also allow your pet to have a constant flow of air so he doesn’t overheat.
- A good cage should be sturdy, secure and a little lightweight.
- Avoid cardboard ones, as they are practically useless. If your cat does its business inside, it will deteriorate quickly.
- You must make sure that he can sit or lie down comfortably in it, but that it is not so big that he can roll around inside it.
- The ideal cages are those that open from the top. This will allow you to get him into the cage, reach his food or pet him more easily without allowing him to escape.
- Make sure the cage is well ventilated, so that the cat does not overheat during the trip.
Make the cage as comfortable as possible.
The hard plastic or metal mesh of a cat carrier can make your cat uncomfortable if it spends extended periods of time in it. If you are going on a long road trip, making the cage comfortable is even more important to ensure that the cat does not develop wounds or injuries. Placing material on the floor will also help contain urine or feces if the cat goes to the bathroom, which will ensure that the car doesn’t smell or become stained.
- Place a layer of newspaper on the floor of the cage. Then place a soft towel so the cat has something comfortable to sit or lie on.
- The newspaper and towel will absorb any accidents the cat may have during the trip, and will also provide additional padding in the cage.
- If you wish, you can also place a plastic liner to contain urine or feces.
- Check that nothing is blocking the flow of air into or out of the cage.
- Check the cage latch. Make sure the cat cannot escape from the cage unless you open it.
Place the cage in the back seat of the car.
Add some toys to the cage to make your cat feel less stressed. The best place to put them is in the back seat of the car. If you have some boxes or suitcases that you can place on both sides to stabilize the cage, this could give your pet an even safer ride. If you don’t have anything to place on the sides, you may have to place the cage on the floor. Just make sure the cat keeps getting a constant blast of fresh air (or warm air, depending on the weather and time of year).
- Make sure the cage is in a safe spot in the back seat. That way, if you have to stop suddenly, you know the cat will be safe.
- Depending on the size and shape of the cage, you may even be able to use a seat belt in the back seat to hold the cage in place.
- Once you place the cat in the cage and put it in the car, don’t let it get out for any reason while driving. If the cat wanders freely in the car, it could easily get trapped under the seat, jump out the window or cause an accident.
Make the ride as comfortable as possible.
Once you set up the cage, you’re ready to drive. However, even if it is padded, your cat may still feel frightened during the trip. You can make the ride as comfortable as possible by watching the road, paying attention to traffic, and avoiding bumps in the road and unpleasant sharp turns.
- Avoid sudden braking and sudden starts, as these can push the cat into the cage.
- Avoid potholes and large bumps in the road as best as you can.
- Keep the radio at a low volume to block out some of the traffic sounds on the road. This may calm the cat during the trip.
- Talk to him while driving. If he meows or yowls, use a soothing tone of voice to reassure him that all is well.
- Treat your pet as you would a small child. You wouldn’t let your baby ride without a car seat or in the front seat, so don’t let the cat ride dangerously either.
- If you have children, let them sit in the back seat for comfort.
- Give them cat treats, such as catnip. Also, if they see water, soothe them by stroking his head.
Disclaimer: “The advice in this article is for reading purposes only. Always seek professional advice before following any
of the methods/ advice in this article”