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Cat Car Travel--How to Train Your Cat to Go!
Updated May 24, 2018.
Cat car travel training is all about baby steps, introducing one or two new small things at a time in a loving, reassuring atmosphere so your kitty learns that traveling is a positive, safe and fun experience, without overwhelming its sensitivities with too much, too soon.
Place your cat in its pet carrier while you are both inside the house and then tote the carrier outside and place it inside the car. Leave the car door open so your cat can see something familiar.
By now, your cat should be used to spending carrier-time in your presence while you do chores around the house and while outside in the yard.
Clean up the car or do some other small, quiet chores while your cat gets comfortable being inside the car. You may have to practice this step several times before moving on.
Cat Car Travel Training Caution!
A small percentage of cats react negatively or aggressively to feline pheromones, interpreting Feliway™ as another cat’s scent markings. ALWAYS test your cat’s reaction to Feliway™ before spraying it in your car or in your kitty’s pet carrier.
If your cat does not adjust to this step, try spraying the inside of the car and the cat carrier with Feliway™ about 20 minutes before training takes place. Feliway™ imitates the pheromones cats leave behind in their favorite places. Your kitty will find the pheromones soothing and will acclimatize more readily.
Next, secure the carrier with a seat belt and close the door.
If your cat adjusts to this well, start the car while it is parked in the driveway, so your cat gets used to motor noises, vibrations and the new smells. If you will be using heat or air conditioning, depending on the season, introduce this new experience as part of the car running.
Once your cat is content inside your car with the motor running and the heat or air conditioning on, it’s time to take a short drive, perhaps a short errand to the post office, or to the bank.
Over time, gradually increase car ride time, until your cat accompanies you in the car everywhere you go.
Your cat will learn it does not have to stress out or fear any destination, because travel experiences don’t all end up like a bad dream at the veterinarian’s office.
With proper cat car travel training it won’t be long before your kitty will leap at the chance for another adventure when you get ready to go out the door for a car ride.
Never Leave Your Cat in a Hot or Freezing Car!
In many states, and in some countries, it is illegal to leave your pets unattended in adverse weather conditions, either hot or cold.
Unlike humans, cats are unable to efficiently regulate body temperature in extreme conditions. Hot or freezing car interiors can cause terrible suffering, permanent damage, and even death.
That said, prepare for unexpected weather conditions.
Take ice packs in the summer to keep your cat carrier cool if your car’s air conditioning should breakdown.
In winter, pack extra blankets, perhaps some hand or foot warmers, to keep your cat warm should your car’s heater quit working.
While you are packing for weather contingencies, pack a few extras for yourself. Your cat depends on you to take care of yourself, too!
Just like at home, cats need their creature comforts when on the road. Here is what to take so your kitty fares well on while traveling:
Cat Car Travel Kit
- Travel Cat Litter Box and Litter, Bags and Scooper
- Pet Pads for Accidents
- Favorite Cat Foods
- Food and Water bowls
- Favorite Treats
- Catnip and Favorite Catnip Toy
- Other Favorite Toys
- Comforting Lovey
- Pet Safe Cleaning Solution
- Paper Towels or Rags
- Extra Bedding
- Grooming Supplies
- Whisk Broom and Dust Pan
CFeline First Aid Kita
- Nonstick Bandages (never use human bandages on a cat)
- Hydrogen Peroxide (to induce vomiting in case your cat eats something poisonous)
- Eye Dropper
- Digital Thermometer
- Tweezers & Scissors
- Cotton Balls
- Ear Cleaning Solution & Eye wipes
- Prescription Medications
- Calming Medications
- Anti-diarrhea Medicine
- Flea, Tick and Worming Prevention
- Motion and Sea Sickness Medications
- To keep your kitty from becoming dehydrated and nauseous, pack
water from home into a cooler jug. It is
not unusual for cats to refuse unfamiliar drinking water.
- To reduce your kitty’s stress, take extra time to play and cuddle. Good times to do so are before you leave in the morning, at bedtime and anytime you are in your lodging’s room.
- Not all stores on your road trip route will stock your cat’s preferred food. So, carry all your cat will need for the entire road trip. Just like other daily routines, your cat will depend on you to observe its regular feeding schedule when traveling.
- Maintain your cat’s regular routines, eating, sleeping, sunbathing, playing, cat litter and grooming times.
More Cat Travel Articles You Might Enjoy
Cat Cafes Around the World
How to Choose the Best Cat Collar for Your Traveling Cat
Pet Identification--Traveling with Your Cat
Pet Travel Gear--How to Choose the Best Carrier for Your Traveling Cat
Travelling with Cats
Your Traveling Cat--Tips & Information for a Successful Journey
Cat Car Travel