Traveling with a cat can bring unique challenges to your holiday. Dogs are often trained ahead of time, but people rarely think about training a cat. So, where do you start with travel-proofing your fussy feline and making sure you all get along on the road?
Before you leave home, you ideally need to spend a few weeks preparing your cat for holiday. They need to get used to three different things before you travel: wearing a harness, using a leash, and being in a cat carrier.
Practice getting your cat used to these before you take your pet on holiday and it will make for much smoother sailing when it comes time to depart. Your cat needs to be comfortable during your holiday, but the only way to keep control while traveling with a cat is to keep them confined in a small, comfortable and secure area.
While your cat is in the vehicle, they should be in a cat carrier at all times, and it should be buckled into the back seat with an approved harness for added safety. When you go to release the cat from the carrier, you need to be ready for her to come out quickly. Before you open the carrier door, all car doors should be closed, and all of the windows rolled up. With these precautions, if your cat gets spooked and runs, she is still confined to the vehicle.
You should be seated in the back seat beside the carrier, with a leash in your hand and ready. Open the cage door, let your cat out, and secure the leash clip to the cat's harness before opening any car doors and moving inside. Alternatively, keep your cat inside its carrier until you are inside the holiday accommodation and enclosed with all doors and windows closed.
On holidays, it's a good idea to use a harness, which are much more secure than collars for cats. It also stops them choking on a collar if they become spooked or get caught on something in an unfamiliar environment.
Of course, you should also make sure that the hotel or rental booking you have chosen specifically allows cats. Traveling with a cat can be challenging in pet-friendly accommodations, because many hotels that call themselves 'pet friendly' are actually only welcoming of dogs. Double check that the pet-friendly holiday option you have chosen will allow cats before you leave for holiday.
You should also bring food, litter and favored toys that your cat is used to using at home. Cats can be disturbed by new surroundings on holidays more than other pets, but little comforts like a favorite toy or their own brand of litter can make them feel more at home. When you take your pet's food along, you will also prevent upset stomachs during your trip.
Make sure they know where their litter, food, and bedding is as soon as they get to the holiday location, and keep these items in the same place while you are travelling with a cat.
Like many humans and other pets, cats are creatures of habit, so as long as they know they are safe and secure, and have familiar routines and items around them, they can make great holiday companions.
Just know before you go how to be clever when travelling with a cat!