If you need to travel with your pet cat, because you are moving out of town or the country and have no other option, consider these few tips to make the journey less stressful for the cat as well as yourself:
Travel by car
The first thing is to make sure that your cat is comfortable and safe, so put your cat in a large sturdy carrier in which it can stand up and stretch and turn around easily. Cover the bottom of the carrier with some type of padding and secure the carrier with a seatbelt. If you are in a car accident, you want your cat to be as safe as possible, too.
If it is a short trip, under 6 hours, then your cat will be just fine but if it is a longer trip, you may want to let your cat out of the carrier periodically t drink water or use the litter box. Once you have arrived at your destination, if you are moving into a new home, try and minimise your cat’s stress as much as possible by keeping it confined to one room.
Travel by plane
There are two ways for your cat to travel by plane – in the cargo hold or in the cabin with you. The ideal way is to keep your cat with you, but that does add significantly to the cost on most airlines, while some airlines do not allow pets in the cabin.
Show up early to the airport to complete all formalities at your earliest. If you are number three in queue of those with pets and they only allow two pets in the cabin, then you will be forced to send your cat to cargo.
Be also sure that you have an airline approved carrier, and if in doubt, take it to the airport well before the day of your flight to verify. Have a cloth cover that covers the openings in the carrier so your cat cannot see what is going on around – the less they see, the less stress they will experience.
Keep your cat’s health certificate and other documents on your person as well as taped to the carrier somewhere. Also, regardless of whether your cat is traveling in the cabin or in the cargo hold, withhold food the night before and the morning of the trip, to avoid unpleasant incidents. Cats can usually resist the need to urinate until 48 hours but to be assured, you may add an absorbent layer to the padding on the inside.
Wait until you arrive at your final destination before you take your cat out of the carrier. Airline travel is extremely stressful for cats – give your cat a chance to de-stress first.
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