Tips for Bringing Your Kitties on Road Trips
By Rachel Puryear
Love the open road, but don’t want to be away from your kitties too long? Take them with you! Yes, you can have your cake (or catnip) and eat it, too.
Got dogs? See also Bringing Your Dogs With You to the Great Outdoors.
Here are some tips for taking your feline fur babies along on the road with you:
Get a Good Carrier, and Acclimate Your Kitties to It
Before getting on the road, you’ll need a secure and comfortable carrier for your kitties, if you don’t already have one. Or maybe you’ve got one you use to take them to the vet, but a comfier one is in order for travel. I highly recommend this one in particular – it’s very comfortable even for my 16+ lb cat, it’s secure and the zippers stay put even while carrying it around, it’s soft and easy to carry, and it’s got a strap on the side so you can easily buckle it into a regular car seat.
If your kitties aren’t used to riding in a carrier regularly – or they’ve mainly ridden in it to the vet’s office – you’ll want to acclimate them to it at home. Put the carrier out and leave it open where the kitties can access it, and leave some treats and some of their familiar toys in it for them. Do this over a few days, and they’ll most likely go inside and explore it, and maybe even nap in it.
Make Sure They Have a Good ID Tag
A kitty bolting out and getting lost is every cat parent’s fear. There are checks humans can put in place to minimize that risk, but it can always happen – either at home or on the road, although the unfamiliar territory of the road makes things even more difficult. This is not meant to scare anyone from taking the kitties along, but it’s something to be aware of.
In case a kitty does get loose, though, there’s a much better chance of getting them back if they’re microchipped (if they’re not already, this can be done quickly and easily by a vet), and they have a collar with an ID tag. These can be bought at a pet supply store.
RV’s Provide the Consistency That Kitties Like
Basically, the two ways to road trip are by car with staying in hotels along the way, or by RV. (When I say RV, I mean it inclusively – RV buses, trailers, vans you can camp in or pitch a tent by, and so forth.)
Of the two ways, the RV way provides a lot more consistency for your feline kids. Kitties do like consistency, as opposed to new places all the time, with new smells and unfamiliar territory. An RV, though, is the same living space, no matter where you bring it. Many humans enjoy RV’s for this advantage, too – plus, you always have an apartment on wheels with you!
If you have one or are able to get one, an RV is a comfortable way to travel for you and your kitties.
Bring Familiar Items from Home
Bringing along some of their toys, a favorite bed, or something else that reminds your cats of home will help them feel more comfortable on the road. Make sure they have some of their own stuff along with them.
Also, don’t forget the kitty treats! These will help keep your kitties happy, as well as help you in getting them to work with you in things like getting in their carriers, or corralling them into their spaces.
Give Kitties Their Own Space
Find little nooks and crannies in the car or RV just for your fur babies to retreat to. They’ll have their carriers. In an RV; a bunk or overhead space, or an extra cabinet could be a great and private spot to keep a litter box, bowls, and pet bed. Even if they like to snuggle with you, it’s good for them to have cozy spaces of their own to enjoy, too.
For senior cats and cats with physical limitations, remember to make their spaces accessible, so they don’t need to do a lot of climbing and hopping to reach them.
Plan Them Into Stops
As you’re driving, you’ll need to stop periodically for gas/charging, bathroom breaks, and meals. Plan in advance how you will also incorporate giving the kitties litter box breaks, time to eat, and time for petting and resting while you’re also taking a break. If you’re making a longer stop, and have some space around you, you could set up a portable catio to let them run around and play.
If Needed, There Are Feline Anxiety Medications
Most kitties will need some time and effort to get used to traveling, and for many of them, it can be done. However, if you have a kitty that consistently gets stressed and anxious on trips, and great efforts to acclimate them to a carrier and RV don’t work, your kitty simply might not be a traveler – and you might consider leaving them with a pet sitter when you travel.
However, if you must travel with your kitty, or your kitty normally travels well but is having an off day, there are anti-anxiety medications available for cats and other pets. Talk to your vet about what they recommend for your pets. It’s a good idea to bring some of these along on a trip with you just in case – such as if you’re going through a noisy place which might scare your cats, or they’re having a rough day.
Thank you, dear readers, for reading, following, and sharing. Here’s to safe and fun road trips with our kitties.
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