Many veterinarians and pet owners believe strongly in buckling up pets in a car just as you would a child. There are many types of restraining devices for dogs BUT FEW FOR CATS. You might consider using a padded fabric type of crate for your cat instead of the plastic or wire crates in order to keep your cat in place during a trip and to ensure additional safety in case of an accident. Collars, harnesses and leashes are a must for any travelin' cat. The bottom line? Be prepared.
These inventions are very handy. Your cat, if happy and comfortable in a crate, will be safer and you will have the peace of mind knowing it is secure when you must leave your friend alone for short periods. If you do use a crate, be certain that the cat is totally accustomed to it well prior to the trip.
Plan ahead … well ahead. If you know you will be staying overnight somewhere, be sure to have reservations at an establishment that welcomes pets. A handy list of "Pet Friendly" motels or hotels can be found if you do a little searching. Don’t even think about it if you hope to hide your cat in your room or think you will launch a successful appeal to the motel owner’s sense of sympathy if you show up with an 25-pound Maine Coon!
And don't forget to bring along some disposable "Scoop n Toss Bags"; you must be socially conscious about where your kitty chooses to relieve itself. Your portable litter box may not be the cat's first choice. Be prepared!
Food, Water and Supplies
It wouldn’t hurt to pamper your pal -- bring along your cat’s own food and drinking water from home and you will be better off. Not that you’re fussy, right? And a few old towels or rags will make good cleanup devices if the cat happens to discover a mud puddle or contacts something nasty like spilled ice cream sundaes!
Emergency first-aid kits are very handy for you and the cat if a sudden cut, sliver or rash intrudes upon your day. Anti-itch medication, bandages, and antibiotic ointments may save the day when you least expect something will go wrong.
It is also good idea to have your veterinarian give you a copy of the cat’s medical history to take with you just in case a visit to a veterinarian along the way becomes necessary.
Yeah, that's right ... plural. Bring two leashes. That way you’ll have a spare when you misplace one. Cats are notorious for doing Houdini-like escapes from their collars. A harness is much more secure, especially the ones that will adjust according to the amount of tension placed against it. The harder a cat pulls the tighter and more secure the slip harness becomes.
Leaving a pet alone in a car has a number of potential risks, including heat stroke. Always be conscious of the effects of heat buildup in a parked car. It only takes a few minutes for the internal heat to build up 40 degrees above the outside air temperature, especially if the car is in direct sunlight. Even the cat’s body heat (expired air in the cat’s breath is 102 degrees!) will act like a heater inside the car.
Leaving windows open slightly at the top surely helps if there is a breeze. Be very cautious about leaving pets unattended in parked cars. Heat stroke is a dire emergency and one from which many pets do not recover. And you'd be shocked to find out just how fast it can happen.
Don’t forget to bring along some fun toys and tasty treats ... just so the kitty knows that this traveling stuff is really fun. Oh, and don’t forget the camera too!
Image: Sarah Korf / via Flickr