Cats are truly fascinating creatures. They are intelligent, playful and even cuddly. They can be trained easily enough for the litter box and even playing. However, cats are not fond of travelling. They can turn what is hoped to be a pleasant vacation into a downright nightmare.
Unlike dogs, who will gladly jump in the car and head out with you, a cat does not like to leave it’s territory. Leaving where they are most comfortable can be very upsetting to some cats. Cats also have a memory that will not allow them to forget if there was a traumatic situation involving a carrier, or an unpleasant location that they travelled to.
There are also some who have been dumped on the side of the road and left to die. Luckily, you may have found him or her and adopted it. However, the memory will still be there, it is one that they may never forget.
Does this mean that you will never be able to travel again? No, there are some tips and tricks that can be used to help your cat to calm down for the carrier and also for the car ride. No one wants to hear a cat howling on a long ride its very annoying. So take advantage of others learning these tips, it allows you and your furry partner to travel in peace.
When it comes to our pets, it is quite the opposite between cats and dogs. When it comes time to travel with a skittish dog, we will take the time we need to calm the canine down. To make sure that she feels safe and comfortable. With the felines, it is more of a push them into the carrier and hope they go to sleep. That is so unfair to the cats. Let’s find out what we can do that will help our furry feline to enjoy travel.
Tips to Keep Your Cat Calm
1. Be there for the cat. Do not smother it, but talk calmly. You need to remember that when a cat is upset, it does not want to be touched or held. When a cat gets stressed, it can take hours before they calm down. This is why it takes time. Be there for the cat, but do not rush to hold him. Let him decompress first, then things will go back to normal.
2. Take all new things slowly. It could be just a short time where the cat will be stressed, but if you try to rush the situation, the cat will become more agitated. Getting a cat used to something new involves their senses. This is something that should be done by allowing the cat to smell the carrier first.
Put a comforting blanket inside the carrier that the cat will recognize. Allow the cat to sniff the cage. If you put the carrier out a day ahead of time and prepare it for travel with the blanket, a compartment that holds your cat’s treats and food, this helps the cat to desensitize to the carrier.
3. Play with the cat before heading out. When the cat is full of energy and suddenly gets put into a tight space, he will become agitated quickly. Again, have the carrier out and open. Leave a blanket in the carrier that is familiar and comforting for the feline.
Then dig out the favorite toys, whether it is a ball chase game, moving toy mice or a laser lite. If you can play with the cat to wear him out, he is more likely to lay down and sleep when you put him into the carrier.
4. Be sure to have a variety of objects around and in the carrier that the cat will recognize by smell. New places and new activities can stress a cat out in unimaginable ways. When you give them objects they know, they can recognize it will help them overcome some of the stress of travelling.
5. Your veterinarian may have a suggestion to use pheromones. Pheromones are a natural substance that helps to calm a cat down. However, the kind that you will buy to use for travelling are imitation pheromones. The cat will be able to smell it, we humans will not smell it. The pheromones will have no effect on us. But, they will have a calming effect on the cat.
This is also a smell they can remember. Pheromones are a scent that the mother cat can produce when she needs to calm her kittens down. These pheromones can be bought in a collar type to be worn by the cat, or by a spray. The spray can be used to spray inside of the crate or carrier. It is okay to spray a little on the blanket in the carrier. They are also easy to carry with you when you are traveling.
6. You may not think that the drive you are on is too long. If you stop to grab something to drink while on the road, think of your cat. Make sure that they have a chance to drink some water or eat some food when you stop for gas or other needs. You are not the only one who has needs such as water, food or bathroom breaks. So please consider the furry friends’ needs also.
1. Stay close by. Even if the cat happens to be sleeping when you stop, do not leave him or her alone. This could terrify them. It is a new place, a new surrounding and the person they trust the most is nowhere to be seen. Hopefully you have the type of carrier that you can carry in with you if you stop to use a restroom, or grab a bottle of water. When the cat knows you have not left him, it makes him or her feel better.
2. One super important aspect to the carriers. Yes they have handles for carrying the carrier, however, when you use the handle alone, the cat is stuck in a box that is moving back and forth, bouncing all over. The best way to move the carrier with the cat inside is to hold the bottom as you carry it. This will prevent all the tossing and turning motions that the cat ends up feeling. Those swaying motions may not be much to you, but it is like motion sickness to your friend. That movement could make him irritable and possibly even vomit.
3. If you need time to pack items in the car, do all of that before you put the cat into the carrier. The less time the cat is in the carrier, the happier and quicker he will decompress from the stress. Load all items for your trip into the car first. The cat can get in the car when you get in the car.
4. Before the final plans are set into motion for the trip, there is a suggestion that I hope you take seriously. Once again, prepare the carrier with a favorite blanket, familiar toy and smells that the cat knows. Let the carrier sit out for a day or two to allow your cat a chance to get used to it. The carrier should be seen as a positive place.
You may need to spend time training your cat to go inside the carrier, but it will be worth it when your cat is able to go places with you. Even if it is just a trip to the veterinarian, the cat should not be super stressed when it arrives there. Think about it, if you are nervous about a medical appointment, the clinic will usually have you sitting in the waiting room for a few minutes, then you will sit in the office for a few minutes also. This is done to get you calmed down somewhat.
Our cats are normally gentle creatures, until they are wound up and stressed. When it is time for vacation, you should help your feline prepare for the journey also. As you are readying your suitcase, gather some of your cat’s favorite items. Be sure there is a bed or blanket that he recognizes by scent. As you are getting ready that day, spray some pheromones inside the car where the cat will sit.
Also spray the carrier so he can relax there also. Preparation is key, you may think that cats do not understand us, but talking to your cat so he can hear your voice is beneficial to him.Please remember, cats are totally opposite of the canines. Your dog is willing to go anywhere, but the cat really likes his area, where he lives and where he knows the surroundings.
It can take all your patience, but it will be worth it in the end. The over the counter pheromones may be a lifesaver for you and your furry little friend when it comes to taking rides in the car. Just let the cat know you are there, you are not leaving him, and give him some treats or other positive reinforcements.