Inviting your cat to take part in your next vacation can be a wonderful opportunity for some owner-pet bonding. It also allows you to avoid the trouble of paying for a kennel or having a friend or relative handle cat-sitting duties. However, cats aren’t always the easiest travel partners. While some pet owners may be lucky enough to have a feline that loves to curl up on the dash and watch the scenery blur by, most cats prefer remaining sedentary, and can become stressed over moving from one place to another.
Whether you’re prepping for a cross-country flight or packing up for a big move, there are ways to make traveling with your four-legged friend a simple and stress-free experience.
If you’re traveling by car
Chances are your cat will be looking for an escape once you hit the road, so make sure a well-ventilated carrier is on your list of pet supplies. For road trips, a hard-sided kennel that’s large enough for a cat to both lay down in and stand works best. Placing a fuzzy pad or a soft blanket or towel in the carrier will make the journey more comfortable for your cat.
Just in case your cat gets out at a rest stop, make sure your pet is wearing proper identification tags that include your name and phone number. Consider having a microchip placed in your pet’s ear, which ensures that your beloved pet will be returned if lost.
The most important aspect of going on a car ride with your cat is the litter box. Opt for a smaller, disposable litter box that can easily fit in the backseat of your car and be used in a hotel room. Flushable litter works best, and use a waterproof lining to avoid any accidents. Don’t forget plastic baggies for the droppings.
Of course, you’ll need to bring some comforts to keep your cat calm, such as treats and a toy or two.
If you’re traveling by plane
Cats may not have a fear of heights, but they definitely have a fear of flying. Taking your furry feline on the plane with you may seem like a hassle, but once you have everything you need, it’ll make the flight a lot smoother.
The kennel is one of the most important parts of flying with your cat. Most airlines issue roughly the same measurements for in-flight pet carriers: 19″ long x 13″ wide x 9″ high. However, visit the pet policy page on your airline’s website to make sure. One good rule to follow when picking out a kennel is that your cat has room to stand up, stretch and turn around. Soft carriers tend to work best for in-cabin flights because of their flexibility, and they easily fit beneath the seats, too.
Next, you’ll need to take care of your cat’s health. The Transportation Security Administration requires a certificate showing a clean bill of health for every animal passenger, whether flying in the cabin or in the cargo hold. The certificate must be issued no later than 10 days before your departure, so don’t think you’re getting a head start by going to the vet months in advance. Make sure you have this documentation with you, as you’ll need it to pass through security.