Most cats adapt well to riding in the car if they are already comfortable with their cat carrier. The carrier should be sturdy and roomy enough to allow the cat to stand up and turn around. Long before your departure date put the carrier in one of Kitty’s favorite sleeping spots. (the door on most pet carriers can be removed for use in the home). Line the bottom with a something they have already slept on or use a piece of your clothing that has been worn, but not washed. From time to time place a food treat in the carrier. If this doesn’t entice Kitty to enter, you will have to resort to feeding them their regular food in it for awhile.
For the safety of your cat and you, don’t ever consider letting them roam freely in the car while you drive. They could be thrown against the inside of the car in the event of a quick stop or they could distract the driver and cause a serious traffic accident. Kitty will feel more secure and consequently, ride more quietly, if you cover his crate with a towel while the car is in motion. You might have to experiment to see what works the best for your cat.
Before you leave home encourage Kitty to use the litterbox by pouring fresh litter into the litter box. Some cats that are not used to riding in the car eliminate in their carriers 10-20 minutes into the trip. If you think this is a possibility, buy some “puppy pads”, absorbent, disposable pads (similar to disposable diapers) and line the bottom of the carrier with them. In case of an “accident”, the clean up will be easy.
Your cat can go as long as you can without stretching their legs. After you stop, put on their leash for safety before you let him out into the car and offer him water and a litter break. Many cats have been lost at rest areas when the owners stopped for a break, by scooting out the door or through a crack in the window. His collar should be equipped with an identification tag containing the telephone number of someone who could be reached while you are on the road. It is also a good idea to carry an up-to-date photo of your cat for the purpose of making “lost cat” flyers in case the unthinkable happens.
If you’re traveling with your cat, your meals are mostly going to be of the drive-through variety. If you absolutely must leave your cat in the car–for your bathroom break, for example–park in the shade, roll the windows down a little, and be quick–and we mean five minutes. Even better, take your cat and his carrier in the stall with you. He has seen you there before; he’s not going to be shocked. If you want to kick around for a while, shopping and sightseeing, and still make sure your cat is safe, look up a local veterinarian in the phone book and see whether you can make arrangements for a few hour’s boarding…Most veterinarians are very accomadateing to help out–usually at a very reasonable cost, with your cat being looked after and safe, you can enjoy shopping. You can also leave your pet in your motel room–but always in a carrier for safety.
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