Why Do Cats Hate Car Rides?

Ugh, one thing that I absolutely dread is having to take Kintla, my very fluffy feline, in the car. The whole entire trip is nothing but stress yowling and it’s miserable for both of us. I have tried the radio, no radio, just the right amount of airflow, and nothing that I do seems to help. My cat genuinely hates car rides. Sound familiar? Here’s why cats hate car rides.

why do cats hate car rides?

Unfamiliar Environment

The one big reason that cats hate car rides is due to the fact that the car is a scary and unfamiliar environment. Think about it through a cat’s eyes – a big box on wheels with possibly a strange smell and to top it all off, it moves and you can’t escape it. Scary, right? Especially if you only experience it once or twice a year. Cats hate car rides because they are stressful for cats. So much that some cats even have accidents in their carrier on in the car. 

Associating the car with a bad experience

Another reason why cats hate car rides is that in the cat’s mind, every time they are in the car they are taken somewhere that always causes stress, such as going to the vet. This can even take effect on how cats see their carriers because they start to associate the carrier with a bad experience as well. 

Cats Hate Car Rides Because This Equals Loud Noises

Most cars make a lot of noise and scary noises at that. Between the air conditioner, the radio, and other traffic, it can be extremely scary for cats. Remember animals can hear much better than humans can.

why do cats hate car rides

What to do about it

Just because a cat hates car rides, doesn’t mean it has to be that way forever. We can make car rides a positive experience for cats by introducing them to the car slowly. 

Start by introducing the cat to the car while it is placed in park at home. Let the cat roam around the car and sniff out the environment, just be sure to be there with the cat so that they do not find the areas where they can get stuck in such as under the dashboard. Give treats and toys so they can become comfortable. 

If the carrier is a no-go for kitty, feed them in the carrier until they have no problem with it. 

After a few times of doing this, take the cat for a ride around the block. It is always recommended to have the cat in a carrier during travel. This is for the cat’s safety, and the drivers. 

Pheromones, like Feliway, are synthetic happy hormones in a bottle. This can be used to help keep cats calm and happy in the car as well. Use the spray on the car seats and the carrier to help make the kitty feel at home. You can read more about cat pheromones here. 

Car rides can be terrifying for a cat, but there are things you can do to help their travels be less stressful. Does your cat like car rides? Well, they might just be more of a dog-like cat then!


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