Looking to take your feline friend along for the ride while you travel? Whether it's by land, air, or sea it's important to make sure you've set your cat up for a successful journey. Today our Sacramento vets share their advice for travelling long distances with a cat.
How to Travel With a Cat in a Car
Get Your Cat a Carrier
Cat's are generally uncomfortable travelling in cars and should be kept in a carrier for their safety and yours. It is important to secure the carrier with a seat belt to keep it from bouncing around and hurting your cat.
Don't Put Your Cat in the Front Seat
Even when in a carrier, the deployment of airbags in the front seat can be dangerous for your pet - for this reason, it is best to always keep your cat's carrier restrained in the back seat(s) of your vehicle.
Keep Your Cat's Head Inside the Vehicle
If your cat's head is sticking outside the window, they're at risk of debris striking them or the cold air harming their lungs. Never transport your cat in the back of an open pick-up truck.
Bring a Human Designated to Care for Them
If possible, it is best to have a human who is there to monitor and comfort your cat riding with them in the back seat. This will help your cat feel comfortable during the journey.
If Your Journey is Longer than 6 hours, They'll Need Litter
If your journey by car is shorter than 6 hours, then your cat will most likely be fine in a standard carrier. If your cat will need to be in their carrier longer than that, you will need a larger accommodation that gives them space for a small litter box. We recommend speaking with your vet prior to travel for advice on the kind of kennel or carrier.
Don't Ever Leave Your Cat in the Car Alone
Leaving a cat alone in a car is a serious health hazard. Heat is a risk to pets and a short time for you could be an eternity for your feline companion. when it's 72 degrees Fahrenheit outside, the temperature inside your car can heat up to 116 degrees within an hour. On an 85-degree day, even with the windows slightly open, the temperature inside your car can reach 102 degrees in just 10 minutes. Irreversible organ damage or death is possible after only 30 minutes alone in a vehicle - even if you don't expect it to take that long to return, it is not worth the risk.
How to Travel with a Cat on a Plane
Do cats like to travel by air? generally, the answer is no, but sometimes it cannot be avoided. Here are the things you should know about traveling with a cat by plane.
Air Travel Can be Dangerous for Cats
Air travel can possibly lead to oxygen deprivation or heat stroke in animals. Perisian cats in particular are susceptible to these effects, as are other animals with "smushed in" faces.
Consider All Alternatives Before Flying
Because flying is so stressful for cats, we recommend taking another option if possible. Driving is generally superior to flying, there may be boarding options available that can let your cat relax comfortably at a home away from home.
Chose an Airline that Will Allow Your Cat in the Cabin
Most airlines will allow you to fly with your cat in the cabin with you, for an additional fee. While most animals flown in the cargo area of airplanes are fine, you should be aware that some animals are killed, injured, or lost on commercial flights each year. Excessively hot or cold temperatures, poor ventilation, and rough handling are often to blame. in either case, you must inform the airline well in advance that you are bringing your cat with you. If you must travel with your animal in the cargo hold, research airlines and select one with a good reputation for animal handling.
If You See Something, Say Something
If you see any mistreatment of an animal by an airline, yours or otherwise, make sure you say something about it! You could save a life.
Benefits of Boarding Your Cat
Some facilities, like the one we offer at South Sacramento Pet Hospital, can also provide veterinary care and observation, as well as administer any medications yourREMOVEor dog may need. This can be especially helpful with older pets or those that require medical attention.
Other benefits include knowing that your pet will have a daily routine with food and exercise, scheduled for the same time each day. For dogs, there is also an opportunity to socialize with others—both dogs and humans. And cats will often be spoiled with frequent visits by staff.
How to Travel with a Cat on a Train
Some pets and service animals are permitted on many trains. You will have to verify with the railway if pets are permitted on your train journey. If they are, then similar guidelines to traveling with a cat in a car apply. Passengers will be expected to exercise and feed their cat(s) at station stops.
How to Travel with a Cat on a Ship
With the exception of assistance dogs, pets are welcome on only a few cruise lines—and usually on ocean crossings only. Some lines permit pets in private cabins, but most confine pets to kennels. Contact your cruise line in advance to find out its policies and which of its ships have kennel facilities. If you must use the ship's kennel, make sure it is protected from the elements and check on your pet frequently.