In the UK, a whopping 17% of households benefit from having a cat as one of their residents. That’s 7.4 million pet cats in total. It’s without a doubt that we are indeed a nation of pet lovers and as cats are one of the favourite furry companions for us to ‘own’, it goes without saying we should prepare to travel with them at some point. Here, Motors.co.uk gives its top five tips for travelling with our feline friends.
1. Take time to let your pet get used to the idea
Most cats do not like to be contained. They are generally free spirits that like to roam, wander and get into mischief. With that in mind, it’s likely that the pet carrier will not be their favourite place to be, particularly if it’s been used to take them to the vets at any point. They don’t forget! It’s a good idea, therefore, to leave the carrier out in a place where your cat can see it, smell it and get inside it of its own accord so it isn’t such a daunting place. Making it as comfy and as cosy as possible with their favourite bed, blanket or toy could also help. Creature comforts are key, then it’s not such a shock to them when the journey begins.
2. Pack them a bag
When trying to remember all of your travel essentials, make sure you don’t forget your beloved cat, as they will likely need a small bag of their very own. It’s a good idea to include:
• Plastic bags (for litter disposal)
• A litter scoop
• Litter box
• Wipes/ towels
• Their favourite bed
3. Get your cat microchipped
Regardless of how careful you are as a driver, accidents can happen. Your cat may get lost or escape and therefore it’s imperative that they are microchipped or, at the very least, have an identification tag. It’s worth having a mobile number registered with either method so that you can be contacted.
4. Cat care before you hit the road and beyond
It’s a good idea to try and feed your cat a light meal about four hours before you start your journey. If possible, ensure they’ve been to the ‘bathroom’ before you leave too in order to make the journey more comfortable, and pleasant, for everyone in the car.
Once on the road, ensure the cat carrier is securely fastened with a seatbelt and is well ventilated and not in direct flow of air conditioning, hot or cold. Try and keep the car quiet and perhaps cover part of the cage or carrier with a light sheet. Darkness can help your cat feel safe.
Keep your journey to less than eight hours if possible. If this isn’t likely, take regular breaks and take time to check your cat and offer them reassurance whenever you can. Never leave a cat in a vehicle unattended.
5. Upon arrival
Wherever or whatever your final destination, try to make sure you can set up a calm, comfortable place for your cat to acclimatise in. If possible, put them somewhere quiet and safe so that they can get their bearings in their own time. Give them access to food, water and a litter tray, as well as familiar toys or towels to help ease them into their new surroundings too. They will soon make themselves at home!