Kitty : “To Travel or Not”

April 05, 2018

Kitty : “To Travel or Not”

Cats - they are described as cute, adorable, lovable kind of pet. Living with them makes your stress go away. They are our stress relievers aside from dogs, they can make you fell in love with them even more. They are already part of our lives, they love to cuddle with us, play with us and even lying next to us. They are emotional also, we can’t see or hear them they are sad when we go to work and leave them around the house. They are just like dogs also, they are also excited to see us when we go home from work or travel.. Wait, did I just say travel? Isn’t is lovely that we should bring them during long holiday travel? 

Before we jump out of our house and bring kitty to holidays, we should see to it that we know what to do and what to bring. There are some ideas and things to remember that we must keep in mind, after all, kitty is with us celebrating holidays. Most people do not appreciate the thought of bringing their cats with them on a vacation or on a road trip. There are a few fearless felines that are not finicky about traveling, but for many cats, traveling and leaving their familiar surroundings, since cats are territorial it can be sheer terror. However, it is possible to travel with a cat without a huge amount of problems. The key is to prepare ahead of time by acclimating your cat to travel gradually and preparing supplies well before the departure date.  

As much as we love them, cats generally don't make the best travel companions. Your dog may happily bound into the back seat of your SUV and slobber in delight while his ears flap in the breeze, but your cat is more likely to dig her claws into the back of your neck and meow in terror the entire ride. 

Despite the potential travel tribulations, many cat owners can't bear the thought of leaving their feline friend in a kennel while they go on vacation. If you're determined to take your cat along wherever you go, you can make the journey easier on both of you by assembling a few very important accessories before you leave. 

 Planning Ahead 

Preparation is key to traveling long distances with a cat. You can't simply stick the animal quickly in a pet carrier the way you might if you were driving across town. A skittish feline on a long car or airplane ride can make your travels more stressful during and after arrival. The ASPCA recommends sticking to your cat's routine while traveling — from feeding schedules to bathroom breaks or playtime. 

If you know you will be staying overnight somewhere, be sure to have reservations at an establishment that welcomes pets. A handy list of "Pet Friendly" motels or hotels can be found if you do a little searching. 

Don’t even think about it if you hope to hide your cat in your room or think you will launch a successful appeal to the motel owner’s sense of sympathy if you show up with an 25-pound feline companion. 

  1. Prepare them for travel:

  • If your cat hasn’t travelled by car recently, several weeks prior to your trip, take it on several short car rides (30 minutes or less).

  • Be sure to put the cat in the travel cage you will use on your trip to get the cat used to the noise and motion of the car and the smell of the cage.

  • Give your cat treats while it is in the car. This will give it better feelings about being there. 

    1. Ask the vet for advise and some medication in motion sickness:

    Consult your vet about where you're going. Ask about diseases prevalent there, vaccination requirements (especially overseas), what weather is like and if any of these things will affect your cat. An airline will require a health certificate for the cat, issued within 10 days of departure; a car trip requires a certificate from within 30 days.

    • The signs of a cat with motion sickness (while in the car of course) include: crying or vocalizing that doesn’t quit after a few minutes into the car ride, excessive drooling, immobility, or acting afraid to move, or excess activity or pacing, vomiting, or urinating or defecating.

    • If your cat is prone to motion sickness, which your trial runs should determine, ask your vet to prescribe medication. Anti-nausea medication such as chlorpromazine can be used to help control motion sickness.

    • You can also use anti-motion sickness medications to help settle the stomach and prevent the sometimes prolific drooling that occurs in a nauseous cat.  Most medications used to prevent motion sickness are very safe antihistamines and many cats eventually will travel without the aid of medical assistance. Just in case, bring a roll of paper towels.

    • Ginger has also been used to treat nausea in humans and it is safe to use in cats; this can be found in liquid form or chews from on-line or brick and mortar pet stores or in the occasional veterinary clinic.

      1. Rescue Remedy-for fear and stress of traveling or a fear of new places:

      • Give a few drops of Bach Flower Essence in his water each day and a drop in the mouth before setting off each day if he is visibly distressed.

      • You can test its effectiveness by giving an oral dose and then taking a short car ride 30 minutes later.

      • This should be your preferred treatment, as sedatives only slow a cat whereas the flower essence will help them remain calm and confident 

        1. Have prescription of tranquilizers as a last resort:

        • Try training with trial drives and non-medicated options first before resorting to medications.

        • Your veterinarian can help you sort out which one will work best for your cat. Some options include over the counter antihistamines (Benadryl) and prescription medication, such as alprazolam (Xanax) to relieve anxiety.

        • Discuss dosages with your veterinarian and follow their advice carefully for the best result.

        • It is also good idea to have your veterinarian give you a copy of the cat’s medical history to take with you just in case a visit to a veterinarian along the way becomes necessary. 

        1. Few days before your trip - Try to sedate (if hyperactive):

        • Observe the cat's behavior, and if there are any negative results, you still have time to call your vet and adjust dosages or try a different medicine. Just like people, different drugs have different effects on cats. Chances are, if your pet reacts with irritability or something else adverse, your vet will know an alternate treatment to try.

        • Most sedatives won't knock the cat out cold and should only take the edge off. If the drug is too sedating or not sedating enough, you should let your vet know before you leave. About one cat out of ten will not respond in the common way to a particular medication or a particular dose. The cat should remain alert to its surroundings, even when on the sedative.

        • While on the medication trial, put the cat in the carrier and take it for a drive. This way, you'll know what behaviors to expect while you're traveling with a medicated cat. Make sure your vet gives you enough medication for the duration of your travel (to andfrom) and ask for an extra pill or two to try at home before you embark. 

          1. Put a towel or blanket in your cat's bed: a few days before the trip:

          • The goal is to get your cat's smells, and the smells of home.

          • Surround your cat inside the carrier with a blanket or towel, the cat will already be comfortable with the blanket or towel that smells of home, a  scent your animal recognizes provides comfort. 

            1. Prepare the cage / carrier ahead:

            • Put the towel your cat has been sleeping on at the bottom of the cage, and put an additional towel under the cage if the cage floor needs extra padding.

            • Add a favorite toy to keep your cat company as well. 

            1. Spray the inside of the carrier and car with pheromone 20 minutes before you're ready to go:

            • This mimics the pheromones that cats leave when they're comfortable and relaxed in their territory. It should soothe your cat on the ride.

            • Be sure to test your cat's reaction to Feliway before spraying it in the carrier. A small minority of cats interpret the spray as another cat's markings and may have a negative or even aggressive reaction to it 

            Taking Him To A Trip 

            1. Let them eat before taking off:

            • If there is room in the cage you can put a small litter box, but this is not vitally necessary. The same is true of food and water .

            • Never make your cat stay in its carrier for longer than eight hours without providing it with food, water and a chance to use the litter box.

            • Bring along your cat’s own food and drinking water from home and you will be better off. 

            1. Open the door cage / carrier:

            • You want the cat to voluntarily get comfortable going into it. Do not force your cat into the cage if it doesn’t go in at this stage.

            • Leaving windows open slightly at the top surely helps if there is a breeze. Be very cautious about leaving pets unattended in parked cars. Heat stroke is a dire emergency and one from which many pets do not recover. And you'd be shocked to find out just how fast it can happen 

              1. Cat in the carrier with Harness on:

              • The carrier should be placed in a secure spot in the car, preferably strapped in place with a seat belt. If the seat belt won’t work, you can use bungee cords or small lengths of rope to secure the carrier in the car in case of sudden stops or an accident.

              • Car rides are stressful for cats regardless if they like them or not. Having a harness and a leash on the cat whenever it is out of the carrier (even in the car) gives you something to grab in case the cat decides to bolt from an open window or door. 

              1. Let them stretch:

              • Your cat won't want to go all day in its carrier. This is where the harness and leash come in. Snap the leash on and allow your cat to come out into the car for twenty or so minutes. Offering a chance in the litterbox isn't a bad idea, either, but don't be surprised if your cat turns its nose up at the idea. 

              1. Have the room sprayed with pheromone when in the room.  

              Just a Little Reminder 

              • Note that airlines will not accept a sedated animal because it is more difficult to know if it is experiencing any health problems, including heat stroke. If you are making a long drive to the airport with your cat do not give it a sedative as it will not be able to fly. Instead, Rescue Remedy is an acceptable calming alternative as the animal remains fully alert.

              • Don't forget to bring a scratching post or cardboard scratch pad (https://activefelinesolutions.com.au/) ! People have a tendency to forget this, and it may cause your cat to resort to scratching on unwanted surfaces, such as the hotel curtains or bedspreads.

              Cats need to scratch; not only is it instinctual, but it also allows them to get a good stretch and use muscles they wouldn't normally use. 

              • On long trips with more than one cat, a large collapsible dog carrier that fits in the back seat is a great option. You can fit in a small covered litter box that doubles as a cat booster seat to look out the window, in addition to having room for a cat bed, food, water and toys. The zippered screened sides allow for easy access, as well as letting your cat see you and the scenery out the window. The larger carrier doubles as a safe place when visiting others with pets if you need to go out, as the cats can still use the litter box and have room to move around.

              • Make sure your cat is wearing the collar and ID tags at all times! You never know if your cat will somehow weasel its way away. A microchip with up to date information on record with the chip company is a never-loose ID tag. A rescuer will need to have a vet or shelter scan it to get the number.

              • Do not allow a cat unrestricted access to your car when you're driving. Even the smallest things can spook a cat, and the last thing you need is a cat hiding in the back of your car, under the seat where you can't reach it, or dashing under your feet to the pedals. If you're riding with passengers and your cat likes to look out the window, putting a harness and leash on and allowing the cat to sit that way may not be a bad idea. Be careful your cat does not become agitated about it, however.

              • Neverleave your cat in the car alone, even with the windows cracked. It can take less than twenty minutes for your pet to overheat and die when left in a car.

              • Using a travel crate is important for both your safety and the safety of your cat, as a cat that roams around a car while it's in motion can be potentially distracting to the driver and could cause serious harm to the cat. If you do use a crate, be certain that the cat is totally accustomed to it well prior to the trip