Updated May 4, 2017.
A traveling cat used to be a rare sight at distant places of leisure frequented by their humans.
As cats move from servitude and blue collar jobs as farm and household mousers to the elevated status of furry companions, they have become important family members, participating in regular activities, special occasions and going on vacation.
Not to be left out, adventurous cats now travel with their families by car, bus, train, ship and airplane to wondrous locals and exotic destinations.
Cats love their creature comforts, to imbibe in the familiar. They tend to thrive best living by their established routines at home.
Leaving home for any reason is an unwelcome disruption of “favorites” for many felines. They enjoy eating their favorite foods in their favorite spots, napping in their favorite cat bed or with their favorite person, sunbathing in their favorite spot by the window on their favorite patch of carpet with their favorite toy or lovey nearby at their favorite time of day.
Many cats abhor travel; it is an assault on their highly developed sensitivities. Some are so traumatized by the experience even a short trip to visit the veterinarian is a recurring nightmare. For them, the shock of traveling a long distance over a longer period of time can result in a decline of health from which there is no return.
Speaking of “no return”, for other cats, traveling is downright dangerous! In fear, your traveling cat may bolt and become lost or sustain an irrevocable injury, catch a dreaded disease, perhaps even die while in transit due to unforeseen adverse conditions.
For these cats, traveling owners need to respect their preference to be homebodies. Leave travel-phobic cats at home with a family member, or a trusted friend or neighbor, to look after them while you are gone, or hire a house or pet sitter.
If this is not possible, some families will take care of your cat in their home while you are on vacation. Your veterinarian can offer recommendations for boarding your cat at such a home or at a good shelter or kennel. For cats that don’t travel well and can’t stay at home, a temporary shelter is the next best thing for them.
Besides, what will your traveling cat do at your vacation destination while you are sunbathing on white sands and surfing the waves? It’s miserable waiting in unfamiliar hotel rooms far from the comforts of home.
When we first adopted Abby as a small kitten, she was a natural when it came to car travel. She went everywhere with us and loved it.
Had we known at that time we would be road tripping more than once a year, we would have continued taking her with us everywhere we went in the car to keep her acclimated to travel.
Training up a kitten who has a penchant for travel from the beginning, as Abby did, is much easier than training an adult cat who would rather be home than on the road.
By the time our lifestyle changed to include more road trip travel, Abby had grown up and had become a well-established stay-at-home kitty. She doesn’t complain, but she has made it clear she prefers to be at home rather than traveling in the car with us.
On the other hand, Dodger is an emotional, highly sensitive kitty. He considers entering the cat carrier a punishment and is traumatized by car travel.
Though we miss Abby and Dodger when we are gone, and would love to have Abby along, we’ve chosen to respect our cats’ wishes. Both Abby and Dodger miss us when we are gone, and we love how they greet us and love on us when we return, but they are much happier at home, than on the road.
For full-time RV travelers where they live in Class A or Class C motorhomes year around, a traveling cat will do very well, when trained up from kittenhood and when proper precautions for their restraint and safety are observed.
If travel is part of your lifestyle and you must have a cat companion with you, consider adopting a kitten to train up. Choose a kitten from a travel friendly breed, such as Scottish Fold, Chantilly, Pixie-Bob, Chartreux or Tiffany. Talk with a breeder about which feline companion will best fit your travel lifestyle.
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