Cats are not the biggest fans of road trips, but traveling with them doesn’t have to be a disaster. Preparation is key to traveling long distance, and to make the trip less stressful on your feline friend, it is recommended you stick to your kitty’s regular routines as much as possible. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals offers the following tips to help you prepare for a safe and smooth car trip:
- Keep your pet safe and secure in a well-ventilated crate or carrier. There is a variety of wire mesh, hard plastic and soft-sided carriers available. Make sure it’s large enough for your pet to stand, sit, lie down and turn around in. It’s recommended to get your pet used to the carrier in the comfort of your home before your trip.
- Get your pet geared up for a long trip by taking him on a series of short drives first, gradually lengthening time spent in the car. Be sure to always secure the crate so it won’t slide or shift in the event of a quick stop.
- Your pet’s travel-feeding schedule should start with a light meal three to four hours prior to departure. Make sure you don’t feed your furry friend in a moving vehicle, even if it is a long drive.
- Never leave your animal alone in a parked vehicle. On a hot day, even with the windows open, a parked automobile can become a furnace in no time, and heatstroke can develop. In cold weather, a car can act as a refrigerator, holding in the cold and causing the animal to freeze to death.
- What in your pet’s traveling kit? In addition to travel papers, food, bowl, leash, a waste scoop, plastic bags, grooming supplies, medication and a pet first-aid kit, pack a favorite toy or pillow to give your pet a sense of familiarity.
- Make sure your pet wears a collar with a tag imprinted with your home address, as well as a temporary travel tag with your cell phone, destination phone number and any other relevant contact information.
- If you are traveling across state lines it’s a good idea to bring along your pet’s rabies vaccination record, as some states requires this proof at certain interstate crossings. While this generally isn’t a problem, it’s always smart to be on the safe side.
- When it comes to water, opt for bottled water or tap water stored in plastic jugs. Drinking water from an area they’re not used to could result in tummy upset for your pet.