Are you looking to bring your cat along with you while travelling? Whether moving by land, air or sea, it's important that you make sure you've set your cat up for a successful journey. Here, our Groton vets chare some advice about travelling long distances with your cat.
How to Travel By Car With a Cat
Get Your Cat a Carrier
Cats are generally uncomfortable with travelling in cars and should be kept in a carrier for their safety and yours. It's very important that you use a seta belt to hold their carrier in place to keep it from bouncing around and injuring your companion.
Don't Put Your Cat in the Front Seat
Even when in a carrier, the deployment of airbags in the front seat can be dangerous for your pet. Because of this, it is best to always keep your cat's carrier restrained in the back seat of your vehicle.
Keep Your Cat's Head Inside the Vehicle
If you let your cat stick their head out of the window of your cat, they will be at risk of having debris stroke them or cold air harming their lungs. Whatever you do, do not transport your cat in the back of a open pickup truck.
Bring a Human Designated to Care for Them
If possible, it is best to have a human who is there to monitor and comfort your cat riding with them in the back seat. This will help your cat feel comfortable during the journey.
If Your Journey is Longer than 6 hours, They'll Need Litter
If your travel time will be shorter than 6 hours, then your cat will probably be fine in a standard carrier. If your cat needs to be in their carrier for longer than that, you'll need to give them a larger accommodation that provides them with space for a small litter box. Ask your vet before travelling for very long periods of time with your cat about what kind of carrier you should use for your feline friend.
Don't Ever Leave Your Cat in the Car Alone
Leaving a cat alone in a car is a serious health hazard. Heat is a risk to pets and a short time for you could be an eternity for your feline companion. when it's 72 degrees Fahrenheit outside, the temperature inside your car can heat up to 116 degrees within an hour.
On an 85-degree day, even with the windows slightly open, the temperature inside your car can reach 102 degrees in just 10 minutes. Irreversible organ damage or death is possible after only 30 minutes alone in a vehicle - even if you don't expect it to take that long to return, it is not worth the risk.
How to Travel with a Cat on a Plane
Do cats like to travel by air? generally, the answer is no, but sometimes it cannot be avoided. Here are the things you should know about traveling with a cat by plane.
Air Travel Can be Dangerous for Cats
Air travel can lead to oxygen deprivation or even heat stroke for animals. In particular, Persian cars are susceptible to these effects, as is any animal with a 'smushed' look to their face.
Consider All Alternatives Before Flying
Because flying is so stressful for cats, we recommend taking another option if possible. Driving is generally superior to flying, there may be boarding options available that can let your cat relax comfortably at a home away from home.
Chose an Airline that Will Allow Your Cat in the Cabin
Most airlines allow you to fly with your cat in the cabin with you for an additional fee. While most animals that fly in the cargo area are fine, you should be aware that it's possible for a pet to be lost, injured or even killed on commercial flights. Excessively hot and cold temperatures, poor ventilation and rough handling are generally to blame.
No matter what method of transportation on the plane you opt for, you will need to inform your airline well in advance that you plan on bringing a cat with you. If you need to travel with your companion in the cargo hold, research airlines and choose one with a good reputation for animal handling.
If You See Something, Say Something
If you see any mistreatment of an animal by an airline, yours or otherwise, make sure you say something about it! You could save a life.
How to Travel with a Cat on a Train
Some pets and service animals are permitted on many trains. You will have to verify with the railway if pets are permitted on your train journey. If they are, then similar guidelines to traveling with a cat in a car apply. Passengers will be expected to exercise and feed their cat(s) at station stops.
How to Travel with a Cat on a Ship
With the exception of assistance dogs, pets are welcome on only a few cruise lines—and usually on ocean crossings only. Some lines permit cats in private cabins, but most confine pets to kennels. Contact your cruise line in advance to find out its policies and which of its ships have kennel facilities. If you must use the ship's kennel, make sure it is protected from the elements and check on your cat frequently.
Benefits of Boarding Your Cat
Some facilities, like the one we offer at Companion Animal Hospital, can also provide veterinary care and observation, as well as administer any medications cat may need. This can be especially helpful with older pets or those that require medical attention.
Some other benefits of boarding your cat while you travel include the maintenance of their daily routine of food and exercise. For cats, there is also a chance to socialize them with others and be spoilers by frequent visits from staff.