Living with a cat is an undoubtedly rewarding experience. Nevertheless, there will be times when you have to navigate some logistical hurdles. One common issue is how to handle taking a road trip.
You can leave your cat with a family member or utilize a sitting service. However, there may be times when you inevitably have to put on a brave face and grab your cat’s carrier for the long journey ahead — especially if you’re moving out of state. Not only can you ensure they’re well cared for, but you can also share some new adventures together.
This isn’t something you should improvise, though. We’re going to look at a handful of essential tips you should utilize when taking a road trip with your cat.
Research Your Destination
One important consideration for taking a road trip with your cat is whether it’s the right fit for them. You need to take the time to research your destination as part of your pet travel preparations. Check whether your intended accommodation provider allows cats in their rooms and communal areas. Look at the areas around the hotel for appropriate amenities, such as emergency veterinarians and pet food suppliers.
You should also consider what opportunities there are for your cat to have some fun and interesting experiences. Are there areas of natural beauty you can take your cat out on their harness to explore? Will there be hiking trails so you can put your cat in their backpack and share the experience? It’s also worth checking with the local tourist board to establish what local attractions, museums, and restaurants welcome cats onto the premises.
Seek a Vet’s Advice
Your cat’s health is, of course, a priority in any situation. Therefore, it’s important to ensure that their well-being is taken care of during your trip. A wise first step is to take your pet to their veterinarian a few weeks before your intended leave date. Explain what you plan on doing during your time away and establish whether your cat’s physical health is up to both the activities and the journey.
Particularly if you plan to spend any time together outdoors, it’s vital to make certain your cat is up-to-date with their shots. This is likely to include a rabies vaccine and the feline viral rhinotracheitis, calicivirus, and panleukopenia (FVRCP) vaccine, among others. The veterinarian can also provide advice on any travel sickness remedies that may be useful along the way.
Your packing choices for your road trip will be key to ensuring your cat’s comfort both on the road and at your destination. Bring along the items that help them to get good quality rest, such as their favorite bed or blanket. Pack toys that can keep them from getting bored, restless, and frustrated. If your cat tends to get anxious, think about stocking up on calming tools such as pheromone sprays or treats and toys infused with valerian root.
On a more general basis, it is important to be mindful about packing items that reduce the negative impacts of emergencies. The essentials to have in your car during any road trip include:
- Items for car maintenance;
- A first aid kit;
- Plenty of bottled water;
- Cleaning supplies;
- Non-perishable food;
- Emergency cash.
Ensuring you have components to effectively navigate the unexpected means neither you nor your cat needs to be disrupted by it.
Take Regular Breaks
Spending long periods on the road is unlikely to be particularly pleasant for you or your cat. You might be tempted to try and drive the whole way without stopping so you can get to your destination sooner. While this might seem sensible, it is important for the comfort of both of you to take regular breaks if your drive is likely to be longer than a few hours.
These breaks don’t have to be complex affairs. Simply give your cat a little time away from the motion of your car and the noise of other traffic. If possible, plan to take breaks around parks, cat-friendly camping areas, and other nature spots so your cat can take a walk around in their harness. Your efforts here can help relieve any stress they may be feeling and break up the monotony of the journey.
Don’t Keep Them in the Carrier
When you’re traveling with your cat, it may seem like keeping them in a carrier is the most sensible option. Yet, this isn’t always the most comfortable approach for them. Wherever possible, give your cat a little roaming space. If they’re too unpredictable to spend time upfront with you, create a space in the back for them, dividing the compartments with appropriate netting. In either case, it’s wise to take them out on a few short test drives to see how they cope.
You may find it’s necessary to limit your cat’s movements to their carrier. In this case, it’s important to help them get comfortable being in their carrier for long periods. Line the space with comfy pillows and blankets. Keep the carrier open at home for a few weeks to encourage them to voluntarily hang out in it. During your travels, make sure they can see you while in their carrier so they feel less isolated.
Taking a road trip with your cat is an exciting prospect, but it’s important to take some practical steps. This should include researching pet-friendly elements of your destination and checking the trip’s suitability with your cat’s vet beforehand. You should also pack with a mind to your cat’s comfort and safety. Taking regular breaks and minimizing carrier time can also ensure the trip is pleasant for you both. By considering your cat’s needs, your road trip is likely to be a memorable adventure.
About the Author
Ainsley Lawrence is a writer who loves to talk about how business and professionalism intersect with the personal, social, and technological needs of today. She is frequently lost in a good book.