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Cat Calming Travel Products
Calming Your Cat for Travel
Cats are notorious for getting stressed out when you take them somewhere.
Some of them show their displeasure through constant meowing. Others may grow hostile. Some even vomit, pee or poop in their carriers. So it's in everybody's best interest to give them a pleasant travel experience.
If you are planning a trip with your feline companion, whether it's a move, a vacation, or merely a trip to the vet, there are ways to prepare for the trip ahead of time. These will make the actual travel experience more comfortable for your cat and easier on you. It will take some time to do this, so start the acclimation process months before your trip. Starting when your cat is younger, if possible, will also be helpful.
Keep your cat carrier that will be used during the trip out all the time in your home, in a quiet, low-traffic area. Leave the door open and put a soft bed inside, and perhaps one of your cat's favorite toys. Let the cat get accustomed to the carrier being a safe space of retreat.
Get a comfortable harness or jacket and acclimate your cat to wearing it around. You want it to be snug enough that the cat can't squirm out of it and won't be able to get a leg caught in it at an awkward angle, but still comfortable enough for kitty to breathe. Make sure it has a D-ring on the back so you can attach a leash when needed.
Experiment with calming remedies until you find the one best suited to your cat. Every cat is different.
When you find your cat in the carrier, start closing the door and latching it, talking to kitty as you do so. Give lots of reassuring touches through the openings in the carrier. Let the cat get accustomed to being inside the carrier with the door shut.
Once your cat is comfortable with this, start picking up the crate and carrying it around the house with kitty inside. If it's a wheeled crate, roll it around inside the house. Keep talking to the cat all the while, getting kitty accustomed to the feeling of motion.
When your cat is comfortable being moved around in the carrier, venture outdoors with your cat in it. If you will be traveling by car, put it inside your car and sit for a few minutes with your cat. There are new smells and sounds for kitty to learn in these places, so do this enough times that the cat can see there is no threat involved in them.
Once comfortable with being in the car, start the car and drive around a bit with the cat in the carrier. Be aware that the safest spot in your car for the carrier is on the floorboard of the back seats. But if your cat enjoys looking out the windows, secure the carrier high enough to do this. Make sure it is secured to the car with a seatbelt, or wedged between your front and back seats, so that it would not become a missile in the event of an accident. Make these car trips longer with each outing.
A little while before your trip, sit down and talk to your cat about it. I know this sounds crazy, but they really do listen to what we tell them, interpreting it in their own way, with their own frames of reference. Picture yourself and your cat vividly in your mind, enjoying a travel experience together, seeing new things, hearing new sounds, and smelling new aromas. Imagine the number of days in cycles of light and dark, or in sleeps, that you will be on this adventure together. Start doing this a few weeks before the trip, and keep doing it to help kitty understand what will be happening.
When preparing to crate your cat for the actual trip, keep your own emotions calm. Cats pick up on our emotions. If you're stressed, your cat will be, also. Yes, it's stressful trying to pack everything and make sure you have everything in place before a trip, but choose a calm time to load up your cat for the trip. Make sure it's after the morning potty time, unless you want an unpleasant experience in the car. (I know this firsthand!)
If you're traveling by air, try to avoid checking your cat's crate as baggage. Cats are always safer flying in the cabin with you. We offer several airline-approved carriers, but always check with your airline before buying one to verify their dimensions for approved carriers that will fit underneath the seat in front of you. Use your calming remedy of choice, administering according to directions on the day of the trip.
Make sure your cat is wearing the harness during the trip and keep a leash with you for potty breaks and feeding/drinking. Carriers with an accessory compartment are perfect for this. Encourage water drinking during the trip to avoid dehydration, which adds to stress, but don't be worried if your cat refuses food or drink while in transit. Affix your contact information on both the carrier and the cat's harness, so if anything does happen to separate you during the trip, you can be reunited as easily as possible.
At your destination, use a calming diffuser in your hotel room and make sure your cat is crated when you leave the room, just in case housekeeping stops by for anything. You don't want your cat escaping!
Traveling with cats can be a lot of extra worry, but understanding what it entails and having a procedure to follow will make the experience as pleasant as possible for both of you!
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