How to transport a cat by car long distances? Cats usually don’t like to travel. They are homebodies and like to stay in a safe homely environment.
Therefore, transporting your cat can seem problematic as they don’t like the outside environment. Going outside causes them stress and they get panicked when you make them travel with you to a new place.
But there is a solution to every problem. And you shouldn’t leave your cat at home when you’re going away for a long time. Though it’s tough for cats to ride a car, there are still some steps you can take to make it less stressful for them.
How to Travel with Cats in a Car Long Distance?
So, you need to take three-step preparations for a long journey with your cat in a car.
Step-1: Prepare for Traveling With Cats in Car Long distance
You must take some preparation when you go on a long journey. It’s not only suitable for you, but it’s also suitable for your cat as well. As part of the preparation, take the following actions-
Get your cat a collar:
When you’re traveling, if your pet gets lost, it would be easier for you to get it back if your contact number is sewn to its collar.
So, the first thing you’ll do is to bring a customized collar. Keeping the collar plain will let you avoid a lot of trouble, like- getting stuck with something. Customized collars should be available at any pet store or on the web.
Or you could do another thing if you’re too concerned about your cat. Ask your cat’s veteran to implant a microchip under its skin. So, if someone gets your pet they can return it to the address on the chip when it gets lost.
Keep the pet’s health record with you:
It would be a great thing to keep the health records with you as you’re going on a long trip. You may need them later. Also, take the vaccination documents and consult with the vet on which docs to be taken. Because when you’ll cross the state borders you might need the rabies vaccination certificate.
Use a crate:
Try to use a hard-shell crate to transport your cat. The hard-shell creates are sturdy during a crash. It has to be big enough for your cat so that he/she can stay inside comfortably. To get the crate to familiarize yourself with your cat, keep its door open and make the cat take naps inside it for the longest time possible.
It will play with it and won’t fear getting inside later. Also, try to keep the crate’s door closed when it sleeps or goes inside. That way it won’t try to come out when traveling. Also, take the cat on small rides inside the crate before the big trip so that it gets used to it.
Use calming supplements:
Most cats do not like traveling. They get stressed when taken outside. If your pet has the same issue, ask the veteran to give her/him calming supplements or pheromones. The artificial pheromones may help your cat to feel safe and sound during the trip. Excessive stress will make your pet sick and it may lose weight and suffer from nutrition deficiency.
Go for sedatives if the calming pheromones don’t work: If the simple herbal supplements don’t work for it, then ask the vet to prescribe sedatives for it. The sedatives will help the cat to sleep during the trip and remain stress-free. Give a few trials before your trip to know if it’s sufficient for your pet. Then you can adjust the time and doses according to the trial. Do not give the cat any sedatives made for humans. Specialized feline sedatives are used for cats.
Take a small litter box: Take a small litter box for the cat so that it can use it when necessary. Also, keep the crate flap down when it’s doing the work so that it can feel privacy and comfort.
Make a checklist:
Making a checklist will help you to eliminate the chance of missing anything important at home. It is not only helpful for this purpose, but it’s also helpful for other purposes as well. Therefore, make a list of all the necessary things you intend to take on your trip. You should make the cat’s list separately from yours. The list may include along with other things you may find necessary-
- Cage/ Crate
- Blanket and bedding
- Cat food
- Water and food bowl
- Harness and leash
- Toys for your cat
- Litter box
- Sedatives or other medications
- First aid box
Step-2: Before Traveling
So, just before you start the trip, a few things you should and should not do.
Don’t feed your cat:
Some people don’t feed their cat from the previous night, but that’s too harsh for the pet. So, don’t feed your cat for at least 4 to 6 hours before the trip. You may think it would remain calm during the trip if you feed it before the trip. But there is another concern. The cat can get an upset stomach later. Or it may feel nauseous. Give the pet a light meal before the mentioned time.
So, before you start the trip, gather all the supplies in one place and match your checklist if anything is missing. Then move them to the car.
Since you’ve been doing trials with the sedatives or pheromones, you already know which one works better for your cat and how long it takes to start working. Use that at the right time. Also, give the cat some anti-nausea medication if the vet says so to prevent motion sickness.
Secure the crate with a seatbelt: Since the cat has been sleeping and playing in the crate, it got well familiarized with it. Now you need to place it inside the car and tightly secure it with a seatbelt. Securing the crate will reduce the risk of injury.
It will move less in the seat and the cat will feel more comfortable. Now if you’re concerned about where to put the cat carrier in the car, then the back seat would be the answer.
Pad the bottom of the crate:
The hard shell of the crate might be very tough for the cat to sit inside. Therefore, place some blankets inside it to make it comfortable for the cat. Place a pet pad under it so that the whole car doesn’t get ruined when the cat pees on it.
Take along your cat’s favorite toys: The cat will keep busy with its toys during the trip. So, take along some of its favorite toys or other items that he/she loves to keep close with, like- one of the family member’s shirts or scarves. Place them inside the crate so that the cat feels comfortable and familiar inside it.
Step-3: During the Travel
Prevent the cat from getting out of the car:
There is a possibility that the cat can escape from the open car door when you stop or take a break. It’s a concerning matter for its safety as well. Keeping your cat inside the crate will reduce its chance to escape from the window or the open door when you stop the car. Therefore, you’ll have to keep the crate door always closed.
Don’t leave the cat alone inside:
Can I leave my cat in the car for an hour? Don’t leave the cat inside alone for a long time when you go out for a coffee or lunch. In warm weather, your pet will overheat and in cold weather, it could get hypothermia if you take too much time to come back.
Also, it may feel uncomfortable inside the car alone. So, either you can take it with you or leave the air conditioning running if the cat is sleeping or you think it can manage to stay alone.
Use a Harness:
If your cat does not use the litter box in the crate then take it outside for elimination on every break you take. Put him/her on a harness with a manageable leash to ensure that it doesn’t run away.
Give the pet water: Before you start the journey you can offer the cat some water. Give your pet a small amount of water to drink when you take a break. But don’t leave the water or any food inside the crate. It can create a mess. Since cats are fastidiously clean animals, your pet wouldn’t like to be wet or dirty. Also, your seat may get ruined.
Following these tips would make your trip more comforting for you and your cat.
Traveling with a cat in a car is pretty hazardous unless you’ve followed and managed to maintain things during your journey. Pets are our bosom friends. Leaving them home aches our hearts. But before you take your pet on a long car journey don’t forget to make sure it’s healthy enough to survive the ride.