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Cruisin' with Cats: How to Vacation with Your Feline Friend

Does your cat enjoy road trips with the family? There are several things to keep in mind when planning to take your cat on summer vacation with you.

Should I Take My Cat on Summer Vacation?

Before you decide to take your cat on summer vacation with you, think about the following variables and how the may affect your cat:

Length of Travel. Tying into how long you are away from home is

  • the distance you'll be traveling

  • mode of travel (plane, train, boat, automobile)

  • length of your time away from home

  • how much 'cat stuff' you can reasonably pack

If you've never taken your cat on a long trip, or they've never traveled more than a few hours by car (or other method of transportation), think about how the trip will affect them. Do they get fearful, skittish, or anxious? Discuss how to address these issues with your vet.

Your Cat’s Health Status. If your cat has medical needs and staying home alone is not the best option you, you can either hire a cat sitter or take kitty with you. If you bring your cat on vacation, be sure to pack all medications and supplies that the cat may need while in transport and at your destination. Don't forget to pack your vet's contact info and-- before you leave home-- identify the location of an emergency vet in the area of your destination.

When it comes to your cat’s health status, age, and length of your travel plans, check with your veterinarian as to what is best: Will your cat be healthy and safe on the road with you or at home with a pet sitter?

Tips for Traveling with Your Cat

Once you’ve made the decision to travel with your cat, the following tips can help your cat feel comfy on the road and more quickly acclimate at your new destination.

Pet Identification. Be sure your pet is chipped/tagged/collared. Carry copies of vaccinations and health records with you, not in checked-baggage.

Comfort and Safety. Your pet should travel in an appropriate size carrier with access to quiet toys and blankets. If traveling by car, keep the carrier in the back seat or trunk, not the front seat. (If a front seat airbag deploys, your cat could die). For long road trips, be sure to give your cat frequent breaks out of the carrier. On planes and trains, the cat carrier needs to fit securely on the floor. Check with the airline or rail company for specifications on pet travel. Check on your cat frequently during travel.

Snacks and Food. Be sure to carry small amounts of kibble, treats, and a portable water dispenser/dish for your pet to access between stops.

Staying at a Hotel. Before you let the cat out of the carrier, inspect the room carefully for debris, wires, and anything that your cat might cause your cat to choke or otherwise get into harm’s way. Set up the kitty litter and food/water area. Show your cat where these things are. Let them explore the room while you are present. When you are not in the room, you need to figure out the best approach to keep your kitty out of trouble while still having easy access to its food, water, and kitty litter.

  • Do you give your cat free roam of the room?

  • Do you sequester your cat to the bathroom or an area within the room (if it can be gated off in some way)?

  • Do you keep your cat in a carrier while you are out of the room? keeping in mind when on vacation you will be out of the room more than you will be in it.

You know your cat best-- the type of accommodations you have and your cat’s tendencies will guide you as to how to keep your cat safe.

Staying with Family/Friends. It’s great if family/friends say your cat can travel with you to their home. If you are staying with people who do not have pets in the home, have a conversation with your family/friends before you leave town: Explain your pets needs and ask where the cat can stay, where their food/water/litter can be situated. Don’t give your cat free roam of someone else’s home--it will only lead to problems for the cat and you.

When away from home, keep your cat in one room, preferably the room you are staying in, for the duration of your visit.

If there are other pets...cats or dogs at your destination, be sure to do a meet and greet outside the home. Pay attention to the body language of all the pets that will be staying under one roof. Even if things look good from the start, it’s a safe practice to separate any pets that are not familiar with one another.

Cat Sitting Services Ideal for Your Summer Travel Plans

We hope these tips help you enjoy safe summer travel with your kitty. These tips are just some of the special considerations you might have to make for travel with a pet cat. Always start your travel preparation with a visit to your cat's veterinarian.

If you decide it is best to leave kitty home while you're on summer vacation, contact Kitten Sittin’ of Delaware for compassionate, friendly, and reliable pet sitting services.


Traveling with Your Cat: posted by All Feline Hospital

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