Car travel with a cat

Generally speaking, cats do not like travelling by car. But there are times when taking them out is a must, and whether you are moving house or just making a routine trip to the vet, there are some key things to keep in mind.

As I explained in a recent blog post about travelling with dogs, The Highway Code states “When in a vehicle make sure dogs or other animals are suitably restrained so they cannot distract you while you are driving or injure you, or themselves, if you stop quickly.” When it comes to cats, by far the best way to keep them retrained is in a suitable pet carrier.

cat carrier - travelling by car with your catUse a carrier in the car

The carrier should be large enough to allow your cat to stand up and turn around, but small enough to prevent them from sliding around with the car’s movements. The carrier should be kept in good condition, be well ventilated, and be securely fastened when on the move. It is also important that the carrier is not exposed to direct sunshine for extended periods.

Many cat owners have difficulty getting their cat into a carrier in the first place, especially if your cat is not used to travelling. To help, make sure that your carrier is available to your cat for several days before travelling. Space permitting you could also consider leaving it out all of the time with the front open. This will make it a familiar object rather then one that is associated with a negative experience. Leave it open to allow you cat to explore the carrier, place some high value reward treats inside and encourage them by placing something inside which carries their scent, such as a blanket or other bedding.

If required, you could also use a pheromone spray such as Feliway to help you cat to accept the carrier. If visiting the vets I recommend covering up the basket with something lightweight such as a thin blanket, this will also mean that a familiar scent of yourself is giving some reassurance.

It’s important to take along some water and food for your cat too. Whilst it may not seem necessary for shorter car trips, you should always be prepared for unexpected traffic.

For longer trips, you should always plan breaks along the way, and be sure to plan for how you are going to release your cat on arrival at your destination.

If you would like help or advice on travelling with your cat, would like help in taking your cat to the vet, or have any behavioural issues at all, then please don’t hesitate to get in touch.