Thinking about moving with your cat across country in a car? Feeling Nervous? Well, I can’t blame you. There are thousands of things that can go wrong when moving with your cat. But this is your lucky day! In this article, I am going to talk about the best way to move cats across county in a car.
So, Let’s get started!
For your better understanding, I am going to divide this guide into three parts: things to do before moving out, things to do while traveling and lastly, the things you need to do after you have successfully reached the destination.
Before The Travel:
1. Get A Suitable Carrier
This is the most important step for traveling with your cat. Your cat’s safety and security depend on the carrier. A good cat carrier will ensure that your cat is well-secured throughout the whole journey. Moreover, you don’t have to stop the car every 5 minutes to check on your cat.
There are many types of cat carriers in the market. Generally, for long road trips, I prefer a hard-sided cat carrier like this one. I have used this carrier for years now and it has never failed to amaze me. My cat absolutely loves this one. It is comfortable, spacious and secure for any cat no matter how skittish it is. So, before even thinking about moving out with your cat, go get yourself a decent cat carrier.
2. Go To The Vet
It is vital to know if your cat is in the right health condition to travel before you actually move out. So, you must take your cat to the vet for a quick check-up. If the vet gives a ‘Yes’, only and only then consider moving out with your cat.
Normally these are the following things that need to be checked before hitting the road:
- Any signs of sickness or disease that may cause a problem during the travel?
- Are all the shots properly maintained?
- Is there any medicine you need to take during the travel?
- Will there be any need for any special type of foods? Etc.
3. Microchipping the cat
I have heard hundreds of stories of cats running away from the car or jumping from the car. Cats getting lost during travel is a very common incident. So, if you ask me, I’ll definitely say it is better to be safe than sorry.
It is because cats generally don’t do well when they are outside of their comfort zone. Being in a car is a completely mind-boggling experience for them. These new experiences make cats nervous. And what we do when we get nervous? We try to run away from it!
Before hitting the road, I’ll definitely recommend getting your cat microchipped. It’ll only cost around 50 bucks, but this thing will literally save your cat if the worst scenario happens. If you get your cat microchipped, even if she jumps away from the car or tries to run away, you’ll find her right away. It’s definitely a good investment for the betterment of your cat.
4. Pack things your cat loves
As I have said earlier, cats don’t do well outside of their comfort zone, in a new environment. So, it is very important to make sure you make the journey as much comforting for your cat as possible. One of the ways to do that is taking everything your cat loves with you during the travel.
Does your cat have a favorite blanket? Why not put it on the carrier? Is there any particular toy she loves the most? Just throw it inside the carrier. Make the carrier as much homely as possible for your cat. Also, things that have your cat’s smell will be a great addition too!
Here the things that I pack before every travel with my cat:
- Separate bowls for food and water
- Foods (both dry and wet)
- Clean drinking water
- Medicine (if there is any)
- An extra litter box with litter
- Litter scoop
- My cat’s favorite toys
- Some plastic towel and bags
5. Pheromones can be a good purchase
Cats have a special type of aroma, which they use for communication through scent. This scent is great for calming cats and relieving stress. The good thing is, you can get these scents tight-packed in a bottle these days. If your cat is particularly a very skittish one, spraying some pheromones can work like magic!
This is a good one for any type of cat!
During the travel:
1. Make frequent stops
Cats don’t do well in new environments. And riding in a car is a mind-boggling experience for them. So, it is natural that they can’t take that experience for a very long time. How long can you put your cat in a car? Well, there is no definite answer to that. Every cat is different. But on average, a cat starts to breakdown about after 4 to 6 hours.
So, if your journey takes longer than that, I’ll suggest taking frequent breaks. During the break, let your cat out from the carrier. Play with her, make her comfortable. It will make the journey much less stressful for your cat.
2. Treats are great
Treats are really great when you are traveling. No matter what you do, most cats will never like traveling in a car. So, they may do unexpected things out of stress. The best way to calm your cat is by giving her the treats she like most. I gave my cat this one and they worked magic on her. These stress-relieving treats were surely a game saver for me! They don’t cost a lot, so why not buy some and stay on the safer side?
3. Food and Water
Don’t get surprised if your cat doesn’t eat much or drink much during the travel. They don’t tend to consume food when they are in a nervous state. Even so, it is a good idea to feed your cat regularly. Besides wet food, you can try out some dry foods to give to her as a snack.
Put the foods in your cat’s regular food bowl. Chances are your cat won’t drink much (or any) water. Don’t get stressed! She’ll get the necessary fluid from the wet food.
4. What about peeing?
Cats need to pee and poop, we all know that. But during a travel, it can become very confusing for us deciding how to make your cat pee or poop. Cats need a specific setting for peeing (or pooping). They are not like dogs.
Many owners stop the car after a few hours, take out the litter box and bring it in front of the cat to make her pee. But I have found that very time-confusing and irritating.
So, I got my cat a carrier that has a litter box built in with that. It made my life a thousand times easier! I’ll suggest getting a cat carrier with a litter box built-in with it. Trust me, you’ll thank me later!
Just before getting out, you can put some of the litter from your kitty’s regular litter box on the new litter box inside the carrier. It’ll make the litter much more welcoming to your cat.
5. Keep the car cool
Cats never like hot environment. It is vital that you keep the car as much cool as possible during the travel. Always keep the air conditioner ON. It will maintain an ideal temperature inside the car. Also, if you need to get out of the car leaving your cat alone (which I don’t recommend), keep the air conditioner ON.
6. Don’t Stress Out
If you get stressed out, your cat will get too. Cats can sense these things from their owner and react in a similar way. So, no matter what happens, keep your head cool and search for the solution!
After The Travel
1. Do the following
After reaching the destination, do the following things:
- After settling in the new place, leave the carrier open. Keep everything inside it just the way they are. Do not force your cat to come out. The new place can be stressful for your cat. So, she’ll prefer a safe welcoming place for a retreat!
- Do not get angry if your cat does things that are unusual such as breaking the food routine, peeing outside the litter box etc. Moving out is very very stressful for any cat. So, you need to go easy on them even if they break a few routines.
2. Keeping Everything Clean
I know, no one likes this part! But we have to keep everything clean and tidy. In home that’s one thing. But when you are traveling with your cat, it can get very time-consuming. So, I got myself this beauty. And I am happy to say, it saved literally hours of the cleaning time.
This thing is very portable, easy to carry and for me, a vital item when I am traveling with my cat.
After making every stop in each of the hotels, do not forget to clean everything as much as possible.
There are hundreds of things that can go wrong while traveling with your cat. But with the correct preparation, the chances of things going wrong will get minimal. The tips I shared in this article helped me to travel with my cat in a car successfully every time. I hope these work for you too!