TIPS TO TRAVEL LONG DISTANCE WITH A CAT
Preparation is important! There are lots of things your kitty needs to travel happy, including being comfortable around their carrier and the car if that's how you're travelling. Before you start your trip together:
Choose the right carrier. You'll need a comfy carrier for your kitty to travel in for the duration of the journey. Make sure the carrier is the right size for your cat - not too small so that they are unable to move at all, and not too big for them to feel exposed and get bumped around.
Introduce kitty to their carrier early. Make sure your kitty gets used to their carrier before your journey. Introduce them to it a while before you are due to travel, encouraging them to go inside and explore - with the door open - by placing their favourite blankets and toys inside. Your pet will then feel more at home, and happy to be in their carrier when it's time to travel.
Plan your journey in advance. Plan your route and work to include plenty of stopping places so that you can let your kitty out of the crate for short breaks, allowing them to stretch their legs, use their litter box and have a reassuring cuddle.
Use a harness and lead for extra safety. A cat harness is a great idea to add a little extra safety. With a harness and lead, your pet will be extra secure - you know that they won't be able to escape their carrier if you reach in to reassure them; this is particularly important for travel on public transport. If you're in the car, a lead will allow you to take your kitty out of the car at rest stops to stretch their legs. Of course, not all cats like harnesses or leads, so make sure you familiarise your kitty before you travel.
Have your kitty microchipped. It's a good idea to have your cat microchipped, especially before you travel - just in case they break free.
Bring a litter tray. Your kitty may need a break if the journey is long! A litter tray with easily disposable litter is a must for long journeys. Place this in a convenient place for your kitty when they are having a journey-break - it can then be disposed of in a suitable bin as you travel.
Don't feed your kitty as you leave! Don't feed your kitty for 5-6 hours before you set out. This will help to prevent motion sickness and a very unpleasant journey for you all!
Consider your destination. Choose a pet-friendly location if you are going on holiday and ensure they have secure facilities that will help make your cat feel at home.
Bring kitty home comforts. Pack anything that will make your feline friend feel at home - including water/food bowls, bedding, toys and even their favourite scratching post.
When Travelling in the Car
If you're making a road trip read our 7 top tips for making your cats time travelling in the car less stressful.
Keep kitty secure. Make sure the carrier/crate is secured by a harness or seat belt in the back of the car. This will prevent any sudden movements and keep your kitty safe. Never allow your cat to roam free in the car while you are driving - this is dangerous and can distract the driver and cause an accident.
Consider the temperature. Keep good air circulation around the carrier and avoid overheating the car. Remember your kitty has a fur coat and won't be able to go anywhere to get cool! If you are travelling in the heat and don't have air-con in the car, carry some ice packs, wrap them in a towel and place them around the carrier/crate to keep your kitty cool.
Keep your pet hydrated. Make sure there's plenty of water available as travelling can be dehydrating!
Take breaks. Take breaks if you are travelling far and remember to keep all doors and windows closed if you are letting your cat out of the carrier while stopped - they can run faster than you can! However, if you want to let them out of the car for a little while, you can use a cat harness and lead so that you can take them for a little stroll before resuming your journey. Be sure to never leave your cat alone in the car.
ONCE YOU ARRIVE AT YOUR LOCATION
Once you've finally made it to your destination, there are a few things you can do to help your kitty settle in and relax.
First, make sure the room is cat safe. Always let you hosts know before leaving that you're bringing a pet, to ensure everything in the room is suitable. Make sure the room is cat-safe and secure before opening the crate. Set up your kitty resources and keep the room quiet and calm as you allow your kitty to explore in their own time.
Give your pet time to adjust. Your kitty might be a little nervous after the long journey and be reluctant to get out of the crate/carrier. It's important to give your pet time to adjust, come out at their own pace, and explore their new environment. Make sure there are some familiar items nearby - such as favourite toys and their bed, and make sure there are lots of resources nearby. If possible, give your pet the option to stay in their bed, or in the carrier while you are away. Giving them the option will let them feel they are in control!
Set a space for kitty litter. Place a litter tray close by so that your pet can find it easily. Be sure to clean and remove litter regularly as you would at home. You should also keep food and water in a different place.
Keep watch on your pet. Keep an eye on your kitty at all times, and only let them wander freely if you are confident that they cannot escape outside to a strange area.
Try to keep to routine. Routine helps your cat to feel secure and safe. Try to maintain your kitty's routine as much as possible - such as feeding and play times. If you are travelling again, be sure to only feed your pet a little when it's meal time to limit any motion sickness.
To really help your pet feel safe and secure in a new location, take FELIWAY Optimum Diffuser with you. Plugged into the new location this can provide additional support and help your pet feel secure.