The family dog is usually only too ready to jump into the car for a Sunday drive but Puss is often not so happy to leave home and hearth.
However, there are occasions when it is necessary to take a home-loving cat on a car journey, whether it is to our clinic for the annual vaccination or perhaps to move home or go on holidays. Cats can travel well by car if conditioned to it in advance.
Cats should never be allowed to travel unconfined inside the car. Puss will feel much more secure in a carrier with a soft blanket inside. Allow the cat to sleep in the carrier at home for a few weeks before travelling. Once the cat is comfortable with being enclosed in the carrier it may be taken for increasingly longer drives to accustom it to the noises of car travel. If you are going on a long journey in the car you may like to use a large dog-sized crate which can contain a small litter tray.
If the cat cannot be confined indoors at the destination, you should keep the cat on a lead. The best cat lead is a body harness, rather than a collar and lead, as a harness is more difficult for the cat to slip out of. Place the harness on the cat before leaving home and allow it to spend time wandering the room until it becomes accustomed to it. Then attach the lead and allow it to walk around until it becomes used to the restriction of the lead.
Make sure that the cat has ID tags attached to the collar and has been micro chipped. It is important that any contact phone numbers on the tag are for a phone that will be answered even if you are on holiday.
Ensure the cat’s vaccinations are up to date before taking it to strange territory. If your cat strongly dislikes car travel and it is necessary to go on a long trip, it could be a good time to ask us about the use of mild tranquillizers.
With a bit of forward planning, travel with your cat can be safe and pleasant for all.