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Tips for Traveling with a Cat: What You Need to Know

Tips for Traveling with a Cat

No-Fuss Tips for Travelling with a Cat

How to calm down a cat in the car is not what you want to be frantically Googling while you’re already on the road. If you’re considering taking a trip with your feline friend –– whether by plane, train, or automobile, you’ll appreciate the following tips for traveling with a cat.

  1. Talk to your veterinarian. Some cats are unphased by car travel, others may feel stress, and some may need medication to help them stay calm and happy. Some cats can also get carsick, so watch for signs like panting, crying, or vomiting. Your veterinarian can help.
  2. Get your cat used to car trips gradually. Bringing your cat along for short trips helps get them acclimated to the environment and movement, so there’s less fuss and distress to contend with in the future.
  3. Introduce the cat carrier early. Some cats will freak out the second they see the cat carrier, which is always a challenge. Cats love boxes, but a carrier is the enemy to many due to unpleasant associations. 
  4. Keep your cat inside the carrier. It’s tempting to let them out, but the carrier helps keep everyone safer and reduces the chance of an accident.
  5. Bring all your cat’s necessities on longer trips. Don’t forget food, bowls, toys, medications, travel-sized litter, and a bed or blanket. When choosing bedding, opt for your cat’s favorite or the one in which they choose to spend the most time. The familiar feel and scents provide a sense of security.
  6. Make frequent pit-stops. Animals can’t tell you, “I need to use the bathroom!” and the last thing you want is to have to clean up potty accidents. Plan on stopping every 2-3 hours so everyone can stretch a bit, hydrate, grab a bite to eat if needed, and use the bathroom.

How to Travel With a Cat on a Plane

Traveling by plane with your cat doesn’t have to be an ordeal. With a bit of careful planning and preparation, you can minimize any stress. Utilize the below tips for traveling with a cat on a plane.

  1. Confirm pet travel details with your airline. How to transport a cat varies by airline, so confirming the details will help you determine whether your cat can travel in the cabin under the seat or if pets are restricted to cargo only.
  2. Always double-check the carrier dimensions. The weight requirements and dimensions for in-cabin carriers are essential so you can choose the correct size, or your pet may be relegated to the cargo hold or refused for travel. 
  3. Organize any required paperwork. These can include vaccination records and health certificates for travel, pet passports, or special vaccinations, which may require a pre-travel veterinary check-up.
  4. Consult your veterinarian about any sedatives that might be required. If your cat is a scaredy-cat, a little medication can make all the difference.
  5. TSA Screening. Your cat’s carrier must go through the X-ray screening sans cat, so this will require carrying your pet through the human screening devices. Make sure to have a form-fitting harness and leash to keep control. 
  6. Remember Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) guidelines. These require ALL pets in the airplane cabin to remain secured in their carriers throughout the flight.
  7. Skip feeding before a flight. An empty stomach will help minimize the risk of nausea and vomiting.
  8. Bring along extra potty pads, food, a water bottle, and medications. Zip-lock bags, wipes or paper towels, and latex gloves are also recommended in case you need to make a fast cleanup after potty time.

Remember, consult with your veterinarian before embarking on a trip or long car journey. Together, you can explore the different tips for traveling with a cat and determine the specific recommendations for your pet’s personality and individual needs. Happy travels!

Disclaimer: Not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinarian advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian with any questions you may have regarding the medical condition of your pet. If you think your pet has a medical emergency, call or visit your veterinarian or your local veterinary emergency hospital immediately.

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