Published by: Ingrid King. Last Updated on: November 1, 2022 by Crystal Uys
This post is sponsored by Sleepypod*
Summer is right around the corner, and with summer comes travel for most cat guardians. If asked, most cats would probably prefer staying at home, but sometimes, taking cats along with you when you travel is inevitable. Thorough preparation can turn what may be a daunting prospect for both cats and humans into a positive experience.
If you’re taking your cats across state lines and/or international borders, a health certificate and/or other documentation may be required. Health certificates need to be issued by a licensed, federally accredited veterinarian. This certificate basically states that your pet is healthy to travel and is not showing signs of a disease that could be passed to other animals or to people. Certain vaccinations (usually rabies) must be up to date for a health certificate to be issued. If you travel by air, some airlines require an acclimation certificate, which states that your cat can be exposed to certain temperatures while traveling.
Make sure you pack the following:
- Disposable litter boxes and litter
- An ample supply of your cat’s regular food. If you feed raw, make sure to take a cooler with plenty of ice.
- Portable food and water bowls
- Your cat’s favorite toys and bedding
- Enzyme based cleaners for any accidents
Never let your cat loose in your car. Make sure you have a carrier that is comfortable for your cat, and keep carrier safety in mind. Carriers that are not structurally sound or have insufficient connection strength can directly affect the safety of the pet, and they place human vehicle occupants at risk of injury, should an accident occur. If you’re traveling by air, make sure your carrier meets the airline’s size requirements.
Sleepypod offers the safest carriers available. In July of 2016, the Center for Pet Safety, a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit research and advocacy organization dedicated to companion animal and consumer safety, published the first Crash Test Protocol and Ratings Guidelines for Pet Carriers. Sleepypod voluntarily certified their entire carrier lineup with the Center for Pet Safety.
For additional safety, you may want to consider to get your cat used to a harness.
Make sure you have a list of pet-friendly hotels along your route. Once inside your hotel room, before you let your cat out of her carrier, block off under the bed access to prevent your cat from hiding. Place the litter box in the bathroom, and place food and water dishes in a quiet location in the room. Keep the “do not disturb” sign on your door at all times.
Summer car travel
The temperature inside a car rises rapidly. Keep the car’s interior temperature at a comfortable level, and never leave your cat inside a parked car, not even with the windows cracked. While heat stroke is not as common in cats as it is in dogs, they can get it. If you find your cat becoming overheated, ruby cool (not ice cold) water into her coat to cool her down.
To eat or not to eat during travel?
Don’t feed a large meal the morning of the trip. A full tummy makes your cat more likely to get car sick and/or have the need to use the litter box. Most cats will be fine not eating, drinking or using a litter box for 8-10 hours. Offer water periodically. Figure out ahead of time how you will handle it if your cat needs to use the litter box while you’re on the road.
This post is sponsored by Sleepypod. For more information about Sleepypod’s carriers, and to purchase, please visit their website.
FTC Disclosure: This is a sponsored post, which means that I was compensated to feature this content. Regardless of payment received, you will only see products or services featured on this site that I believe are of interest to our readers.
Ingrid King is an award-winning author, former veterinary hospital manager, and veterinary journalist who is passionate about cats.
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