How to Transport a Cat
When it comes to cat carriers, there’s lots of advice on getting an animal inside one. As anybody with a feline friend knows, it’s hardly surprising. This simple act can be a major battle of wills. It pits man against the cat, with neither emerging unscathed. The question is, what happens after you triumph?
You’ve tried all the tricks. Your cat is finally secure in their carrier. What happens now? There’s less advice on how to transport a cat safely. If you’re driving somewhere, do you buckle them in? Is it okay to rest a carrier on the ground? Or should you keep it elevated? These are important questions for pet owners who want to keep their cat calm and comfy.
Try these helpful tips to transport your pet in the safest way possible:
Preparing the Carrier
Before putting your cat in the carrier, consider its level of comfort. It needs to be of an appropriate size, firstly, with enough space for them to turn and stand. It shouldn’t be overly large though. It’s awkward to transport a small cat in a huge carrier. They may slide around inside, hit the hard walls or just feel deeply insecure. We actually have prepared a guide for helping you choose one of the best cat carriers!
Take some time to line the floor with soft, comfortable items. This could be bedding, towels, blankets – the more they smell of home, the better. They’ll keep your cat calm and prevent injuries if the box jolts or shakes. Finally, check the carry handle is secure. The last thing you want is for the handle to break and the carrier to drop suddenly to the floor.
Traveling in the Car
If possible, prepare for a car journey weeks before your main trip. You won’t always have time (some vet visits are unexpected), but it’s the best way to familiarise a pet with the strange sounds and sensations of car travel. It’s important to remember just how frightening car journeys can be for cats, even if they spend time outdoors.
In the weeks before your trip, take the cat for a few short drives. Although, if getting them inside the carrier is a real nightmare, carefully consider the benefits of helping them get accustomed in this way. All cats are different. The important thing is taking steps to reduce their stress during the journey.
Unless you’re traveling with somebody else (who can hold the carrier), you’ll need to buckle it in with a seatbelt. Bring a towel to place over the top. In some cases, outside motion can make the animal feel nauseous. Covering the container is a good way to prevent this. Another way to avoid sickness is withholding food for an hour before departure.
Some Extra Tips for Healthy, Happy Trips
To keep a traveling cat comfy, stay as visible as possible. They will feel scared. They will probably exhibit panicked behaviors. There’s not much you can do about this, other than reinforcing your presence. Bend down to look and speak to them frequently.
When traveling in a public space – particularly on a bus or train – keep the carrier on your lap or on the seat next to you. Direct your cat’s attention toward you. Talk to them. Poke your fingers through the bars to stroke them.
If you can avoid it, do not place an occupied carrier on the ground. In crowded areas, this can cause intense fear. There may be dogs or other animals around. Don’t place your cat on the floor in a box they cannot escape. Keep them close to you but be careful not to swing the carrier too violently. It should stay as stable as possible.
Consider the Necessity of Longer Trips
For longer trips, consider how you’ll keep your cat fed and hydrated. You could buy a pet carrier with integrated food and water bowls. Although, whenever possible, try to make time for rest stops and structured feeding. It’ll give your cat an opportunity to spend time outside the container and stretch their legs. Both are vital on longer journeys.
The truth is, long journeys in a confined pet carrier just aren’t good for cats. So, they should only be undertaken if absolutely essential. And it’s your responsibility to minimize stress, aggression, fear, and irritation. It can take time and, often, it requires great patience. However, it’s worth it for a kitty who’s cool and calm on your next adventure.
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