Cats travel well if you plan ahead. If you start them traveling while they are still kittens, they’ll grow into well-adjusted adult travelers.
First, get your pet accustomed to the carrier beforehand. (Sturdy carriers can be purchased at your veterinarian’s office or at pet stores.) At home, play with your kitten and feed it in the carrier until your pet is used to being in it. Next, take frequent short trips in the car, with the kitten in the carrier. Soothing talk, loving strokes, and gentle playing will help give your pet confidence that nothing terrible will happen.
Be sure your cat always has an identification tag on its collar or harness when traveling. For extra assurance, your pet can also be safely tattooed with identification marks. In addition, your cat should be in good health. with all vaccination up to date.
One more general rule: Try to make reservations at hotels or motels that allow pets.
Traveling with Your Cat By Car
Do not feed your cat for six hours before the trip, and if carsickness is usually a problem, remove access to drinking water two hours before departure. (If needed, Bonine or a medication prescribed by your veterinarian can be used to counteract motion sickness. ) Always let your pet urinate and move its bowels before you start out. On long trips, plan for regularly scheduled exercise and water breaks. Feeding should be done at the final stop.
Take your cat’s favorite food and bedding along. If feasible, take water from home as well, since the different mineral contents of water in new locations can give your pet diarrhea. Take along a litter box and litter, too.
Do not keep a leash on your pet in the car. The leash can get caught on door handles and other projections and cause serious injury. Do not leave your cat in the car in hot weather.
Traveling with Your Cat By Plane
When traveling by air, you should make preflight arrangements with the air-one. Each company has different procedures, so call in advance to find out what you need to do. In any case, follow the feeding, water, and motion-sickness guide-lines listed for travel by car. If traveling to a foreign country, you should contact the nation’s nearest consular office to get any further instructions.
A good boarding cattery should be clean, relatively quiet, and well ventilated. The staff should treat boarders gently. Your veterinarian will be able to recommend a good place, if he or she does not have boarding facilities.
In general, you should call for reservations at least one or two weeks in advance (allow more time around holidays). Your cat must be healthy – all vaccinations up to date – and it should have an identification tag or tattoo. The staff should also ask for your veterinarian’s name and telephone number and for a way to in case of an emergency.
If, on your return, you find that your cat has diarrhea, you might request that the cattery feed your cat its regular, at-home diet the next time you heard it there. Also, a mild tranquilizer might be helpful – but first discuss this with your veterinarian.