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Car Travel With Your Cat

June 3, 2013

Generally speaking, cats do not like car travel. Oftentimes this is because they associate cars with trips to the vet or the groomer. Occasionally kittens that have been conditioned from a young age do not mind riding in the car, but even so, any cat owner should be conscientious of their cat’s safety and comfort. Below, a West Greenwich veterinarian offers some tips on maximizing safety and enjoyment for your feline companion during car rides.

Use a Good Carrier

Always use a good-quality sturdy cat carrier. Make sure it latches properly and is shut tight. You don’t want your cat to escape the carrier and then run away once you open the car door at a rest stop or gas station. Consult your West Greenwich veterinarian on what type and size of carrier will work best for your animal.

Secure the Carrier

Place the cat carrier on a flat surface; try using towels to even out the surface so your kitty doesn’t feel lopsided. Be sure to secure the carrier firmly using the seatbelt, bungee cords, or a combination of both. If you need to brake suddenly, you don’t want your cat’s carrier to move. The backseat is the safest place to secure the carrier.

Monitor Conditions

Be aware of the conditions within the car, and remember that your cat won’t necessarily be comfortable with the same conditions as you are. Your cat may not like wind rushing over him if the windows are down. Loud music from the radio and cold air conditioning may bother him. Direct sunlight through the windshield or side windows may irritate your cat as well. Ask your West Greenwich vet to advise you on other irritants that your cat may experience during car travel.

Bring Food and Water for Long Trips

You don’t want your cat to get hungry or thirsty if you’re going to be on the road for several hours. Bring along your cat’s food and water, and secure it in the cat’s carrier if possible. Don’t overfill the bowls, though, or you will have a mess on your hands if you hit a pothole or speed bump.

Alleviate Motion Sickness

Many cats suffer from motion sickness when riding in cars. While it is not always avoidable, there are ways to minimize the chance of your cat getting sick. Consider placing your cat’s carrier on the floor, preventing him from seeing the outdoors flashing by. Try to make the ride as smooth as possible by accelerating and braking gently, avoiding potholes, and not swerving. Mild motion sickness medication is also available if needed—ask your West Greenwich veterinarian if it is necessary for your cat.

Last, but certainly not least, NEVER leave your cat alone in the car. It only invites a whole host of potential hazards that are best avoided entirely. By following the above guidelines, thinking from your cat’s perspective, and using common sense, car travel with your kitty doesn’t have to be a headache!

Please feel free to contact us, your local animal clinic in West Greenwich, RI!

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