Heading out on a journey and want to take your cat along? Should you travel with a cat? Our La Pine vets offer a few tips on the best way to travel with a cat to help make the journey easier for both you and your beloved pet.
Preparing For Any Trip With Your Cat
If you are planning to travel with your kitty - whether moving, visiting, or going on vacation - you will need to plan.
One essential point to consider is whether your cat is up-to-date on its vaccines and parasite prevention. Different states have different regulations regarding vaccines for pets but in most states keeping your pet's rabies vaccine current is the law. So be sure to schedule a visit to your veterinarian before you leave so that your cat's core vaccines can be brought up to date, your kitty can be vaccinated against any lifestyle diseases that are common in the place you are headed to, and any parasites can be treated or prevented.
Different Journeys & Different Preparations
Depending on your method of transportation and the length of the journey there are different things you will need to consider and prepare for. Below we cover how to travel with a cat by car, how to travel with a cat on a plane, and even on a train or ship.
Traveling by Car with Your Cat
Purchase a Suitable Cat a Carrier
Cats are generally uneasy in cars and should be kept in a carrier for their own and your safety. To prevent the carrier from bouncing around and injuring your cat, secure it with a seat belt.
Don't Put Your Cat in the Front Seat
The deployment of airbags in the front seat, even when in a carrier, can be dangerous for your cat; therefore, it is best to keep your cat's carrier restrained in the back seat(s) of your vehicle.
Keep Your Cat's Head Inside the Vehicle
If your cat's head is sticking outside the window, they're at risk of debris striking them or the cold air harming their lungs. Never transport your cat in the back of an open pick-up truck.
Bring a Human Designated to Care for Them
If possible, it is best to have a human who is there to monitor and comfort your cat riding with them in the back seat. This will help your cat feel comfortable during the journey.
If Your Journey is Longer than 6 hours, They'll Need Litter
Need to know how to travel long distances with a cat? If your journey by car is shorter than 6 hours, then your cat will most likely be fine in a standard carrier. If your cat will need to be in their carrier longer than that, you will need a larger accommodation that gives them space for a small litter box. It's a good idea to consult your vet before traveling for advice on the kind of kennel or carrier best suited to your cat's needs and the journey ahead.
Don't Ever Leave Your Cat in the Car Alone
Leaving a cat in a car alone poses a serious health risk. Heat is dangerous to pets, and what may seem like a short period to you may seem like an eternity to your feline companion. When the temperature outside is 72 degrees Fahrenheit, the temperature inside your car can reach 116 degrees in under an hour. Even with the windows slightly open on an 85-degree day, the temperature inside your car can reach 102 degrees in just 10 minutes. Even if you don't expect it to take that long to return, it is not worth the risk of irreversible organ damage or death after only 30 minutes alone in a vehicle.
How to Travel with a Cat on a Plane
Do cats like to travel by air? The short answer, of course, is no but sometimes it cannot be avoided. Here are the things you should know about traveling with a cat by plane.
Air Travel Can be Dangerous for Cats
Air travel can lead to oxygen deprivation or heat stroke in animals. Perisian cats in particular are susceptible to these effects, as are other animals with "smushed in" faces.
Consider All Alternatives Before Flying
Because flying is such a stressful experience for cats, we recommend avoiding it if at all possible. Although driving is generally preferable to flying, there may be boarding options available that will allow your cat to relax in a familiar environment.
Chose an Airline that Will Allow Your Cat in the Cabin
For a fee, many airlines will allow you to fly with your cat in the cabin with you. While the majority of animals flying in cargo are fine, you should be aware that some animals are killed, injured, or lost on commercial flights every year. Temperatures that are excessively hot or cold, poor ventilation, and rough handling are frequently to blame. In either case, you must notify the airline well in advance that you will be traveling with your cat. If you must travel with your animal in the cargo hold, do your research and choose an airline with a good animal handling reputation.
If You See Something, Say Something
If you see any mistreatment of an animal by an airline, yours or otherwise, make sure you say something about it! You could save a life.
How to Travel with a Cat on a Train
On many trains, pets and service animals are allowed. You'll need to check with the railway to see if pets are allowed on the train. If they are, follow the same rules for traveling with a cat in a car. At station stops, passengers will be expected to exercise and feed their cat(s).
How to Travel with a Cat on a Ship
Only a few cruise lines, except assistance dogs, allow pets, and usually only on ocean crossings. Some cruise lines allow pets in private cabins but must keep them in kennels. Inquire ahead of time about your cruise line's policies and which ships have kennel facilities. If you must use the ship's kennel, make sure it is weatherproof and that you keep an eye on your pet.