Cat Travel Tips
Helpful Tips from Our Veterinarians
While many pets dislike visiting the vet, cats are particularly notorious for being adverse to travel. In fact, one of the primary challenges in obtaining proper veterinary care for your cat is simply getting them to the vet's office.
However, cats often don't show signs of illness until the condition has progressed significantly. Because of this, it's incredibly important that you bring in your cat for annual health and wellness exams, routine vaccinations, and check-ups. This allows our veterinarians to take the necessary steps to prevent disease and treat any illnesses your cat may have.
Get the Right Travel Gear
The best tip we can offer for traveling with your cat to the vet is to make sure you have the proper gear. First and foremost, you'll need a cat carrier that is suitable for your pet's size. We typically recommend that you select a carrier that has hard sides and at least two openings—one on the top and one on the side. While your cat may initially seem hesitant to get into the carrier, remember, having a small, safe space can help your cat feel much more comfortable while traveling.
Tips for getting your cat into his or her carrier:
- Don't just use the carrier for travel! Leave it out and open in the house so your cat can get comfortable with it and doesn't only associate the carrier with traveling to the vet.
- Place high-value treats inside the carrier to get your cat to go inside. Be sure to give your cat plenty of praise once he or she voluntarily goes into the carrier.
- Cover the carrier with a blanket or towel. This can help ease your cat's stress while traveling in the car and when waiting in the vet's waiting room around other animals (especially dogs).
In addition to a proper cat carrier, you may want to invest in a harness and leash for your cat. When animals are frightened, anxious, or stressed, their instinct is to run. Having your cat securely harnessed and leashed as well as traveling in their crate, can help ease both your pet's anxiety and your own stress.
Consider Pheromones & Anti-Anxiety Medications
If your cat is extremely anxious about traveling, you may want to talk to your vet about anti-anxiety medications and/or pheromones. Medications can also be used to help ease your cat's motion sickness if he or she is prone to vomiting while in the car. It's always best to speak to a qualified veterinarian before administering any medications or pheromones to your cat; reach out to our Quakertown vets today to learn more.
If your cat likes to hide out before a trip, take steps the night before to curb this behavior. Place his or her food and water dish, along with the litter box, scratching post, toys, blankets, etc. in a spare room or area of your house the night before you plan on traveling. Limit your cat's access to furniture that's easy to hide under, such as beds, tables, and chairs.
Tips for Longer Trips
If you're planning on taking your cat on a longer trip, make sure you have everything you'll need before traveling.
For longer trips with your cat, you'll want to do the following:
- Make sure you have everything your cat will need for the trip, including food and food/water dishes, toys, kitty litter, etc.
- Pack a basic first-aid kit for your cat. This should include any medications your cat needs and other basic supplies.
- Make note of pet-friendly hotels, as well as emergency veterinary hospitals nearby the area you are staying.
Always Remember Your Cat’s Safety
Lastly, wherever you are traveling with your cat, make sure you never leave him/her in the car if it's too hot. Remember, the temperature inside the car—even with the windows down—will be much higher than the temperature outside. Your car can quickly reach dangerous and even fatal temperatures for your cat; it's always best to play it safe and bring your cat with you. If you think you may not be able to take your cat everywhere with you or leave him/her in a safe, air-conditioned space, it may be best to consider boarding your cat while you're away.
Traveling with a cat can be challenging—but it can also be very enjoyable. Getting your cat comfortable with travel is important and makes all the difference in both your and your cat's travel experiences.
For more tips on traveling with your cat or to book an appointment with our vets, reach out to Quakertown Veterinary Clinic at (215) 515-8810 today!
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