Moving with Cats in the Car: 3 Tips You Need to Know
Cats are not good travelers. While there are those who adapt to travel rather well, most prefer to snuggle in the familiar surrounds of home where they’re most comfortable.
Unfortunately, life being life, sometimes we may find ourselves having to take our furry friend with us as needed or on a routine basis. When we’re moving house, for instance.
When you find yourself having to move with your cat, it’s important to know how best to handle them during the journey. That’s because no matter how close the bond between you two is, the reality is that cats can bail out on you during the process of moving, never to see them again.
Yes, they don’t necessarily need to be in the hands of movers when relocating or other strangers to pull that off.
That in mind, here are some tips that might come in handy when you find yourself on the road with your cat.
Acclimatize the cat to a pet travel carrier
The best way to travel with pets in a car (not just cats) is to have them in a pet carrier.
In the case of your cat, assuming you don’t have one already, make sure to invest in a proper-sized carrier. A good size is one that allows your kitty room to not just lie down, but also stand and turn around comfortably.
However, it’s important to have the carrier in weeks or months ahead of the move so that your cat has time to get acquainted with it. You don’t necessarily have to get the cat in the car. Rather, start by placing the crate in the house and put your kitty’s favorite bedding, toys and even treats inside.
Leave the door open so the cat can walk in and out on their own terms. The reason why you need to get the carrier in advance is because this might turn out to be a protracted process before the cat warms up to the crate.
Make the car familiar
Cats are super sensitive to their surrounds, which is why they’re most comfortable in spaces they’re familiar with.
That in mind, it’s not a bad idea to introduce your cat to the car environment so when the time for the big move comes, the setting doesn’t feel too foreign.
To make the vehicle part of their territory, get some familiar objects with your cat’s scent on them (a blanket would be perfect) and place them in your car.
Get inside the car with your kitty and shut the door, then allow him or her to explore. As they get acquainted with the car environment, it also allows the cat to spread their scent around the car. You can even decide to make mealtime car time.
Doing this twice or thrice a day in the weeks prior to the move can help make the cat feel more comfortable. Increase the duration and after a couple of weeks, take them out on a spin as you run your errands. The process might take forever, but it works.
When the actual moving day comes, the car should feel like a favorite hangout spot.
Plan for bathroom breaks
Some owners use harnesses and leashes with their cats in the belief that it makes it easier and convenient walking the cat to relieve themselves at rest stops. However, it’s important to remember that unlike dogs, leashes don’t work well (neither are they recommended) for cats.
A traditional litter box is a better option. Try to limit your drive time to no more than 8 hours (if it’s as long as that) and allow the cat time to relieve themselves in the litter box at your night destination.
As the pet owner, you should be able to gauge how long your furry friend can comfortably “hold it”.