6 Proven Tips for a Peaceful Trip with Your Cat

Redbarn July 17, 2015
6 Proven Tips for a Peaceful Trip with Your Cat
A long car ride with a cat is a special kind of torture, but it doesn’t have to be this way. If you expect beginning your vacation frazzled and covered in scratch marks, you already know the perils of traveling with a feline companion. Cats don’t like change, and they tend to overreact in new environments. It’s still possible, though, to travel in peace—as long as you’re willing to put in a bit of extra effort.

1. Ensure Your Cat is Welcome

You might think no one will notice when you sneak your tiny cat into your hotel room, but what about when your cat tears apart the blinds or spends the entire time you’re gone whining at the top of her lungs? Trying to sneak your cat in anywhere will stress both of you out, exponentially increasing the odds of an unpleasant trip. Worse still, if you’re caught you could be fined or even kicked out of your hotel.

2. Take a Crate

Many cats spend a significant part of each day hiding in small crevices, watching the world move around them. A crate offers your cat this same safety and comfort on the go. Just make sure you spend some time getting your cat accustomed to the crate. Never use the crate as a punishment, and don’t confine your cat alone in the crate for long periods of time.

3. Practice Makes Perfect

Cats are creatures of habit, which means that throwing your four-legged pal into a crate and hoping for the best is not likely to work. Instead, you need to practice your trip in advance. Get your cat used to the car by taking her on short rides and rewarding her for good behavior. Then gradually increase
the length of these rides. Do the same for any other new settings your cat will face. If you’re going to be crating her for the first time, for example, be sure to give her lots of practice with the crate beforehand.

4. Provide Some Familiar Items

Many cats’ first reactions to anything new is to react with aggression first, and then ask questions later. This can make it tough to introduce a new person or environment, but it also gives you an easy way to soothe your cat’s anxious mind. Take some of his favorite comfort items with you on your trip.
A blanket that smells like home, a favorite toy, or even an old sock that smells like you; all of these things will calm your cat when a trip leaves him feeling overwhelmed.

5. Reward Good Behavior

It’s a myth that cats can’t be trained. It’s just that they’re a bit harder to train than dogs. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. Rewarding the behavior you want to see and ignoring the behavior you don’t like—will get you a long way toward a much better trip. If your cat knows he gets a delicious treat, a
play session with you, or something else he loves when he’s calm and doesn’t destroy things, there is an incentive to keep behavior in check.

6. Harness Your Cat

Cats are notorious for their dislike of being controlled. Remember, a loud and intimidating rest stop can spur even the calmest of cats to bolt. Don’t even think of letting your cat roam free on your vacation. Unfamiliar territory, scary new animals, and the ever-present specter of panic can all encourage your cat to take off, never to be seen again. Spend time harness-training your cat before your trip so that she’s prepared to tolerate the harness when you’re outside together.
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