Many cats dislike going on trips or riding in cars. The situation’s unfamiliarity and unpredictability are mostly to blame for this.
The majority of cats appear to be happiest at home, where all four paws are securely planted in the ground, although there are occasionally good reasons for them to move.
Your cat will be more at ease in the car if you make sure they perceive its carrier as a joyful and comfortable area.
This advice will assist you in calming your cat so that you can transport them without causing them undue worry or distress.
1. Use A Good Cat Carrier
First things first: when you’re driving, your cat shouldn’t be allowed to roam freely inside the vehicle. For the safety of both you and your cat, a carrier is necessary.
When used properly, the carrier also serves as a tool for relaxation.
The carrier shouldn’t be very roomy, but it should be big enough for your cat to stand up and turn around without difficulty.
Your cat needs to be comfortable with the carrier for it to be effective.
It should be a carrier they have independently researched and be one they identify with safety.
Avoid Only Getting The Carrier Out On The Day Of A Trip/ Vet Visit
One of the biggest mistakes pet owners make is letting their animals see and interact with the carrier only when they have to go to the clinic or other places.
When they see the carrier emerge from storage, animals start to grow anxious right away.
By allowing your cat to spend time in the carrier on their own initiative and rewarding them whenever they do, you can prevent this.
This helps your cat develop a favorable attachment with their carrier.
Let Your Cat Familiarise Themselves With Their Carrier
Make sure you do this a few days or weeks before to the anticipated automobile trip if the carrier is brand-new or if your cat hasn’t had a chance to become used to it.
Simply lay the open carrier in the middle of the room, fill it with some comfortable blankets or familiar toys, and allow your cat to explore it whenever they want.
Once your cat is accustomed to entering the carrier, briefly close the door to help them become accustomed to this as well.
When you take the time to make this kind of preparation before traveling with your cat, you can be confident that your trip will get off to a good start.
You should not neglect this phase because it will help to position you for success.
2. Take A Familiar Blanket Or Towel
They’ll feel much more at ease if you put a towel or blanket that smells like your cat in the car and carrier.
This will relax your cat and help you bring a bit of home with you.
Keep in mind that you want the carrier to feel safe, secure, and comfortable.
Your cat’s anxiety will be greatly reduced if it smells like home and your pet.
3. Use A Calming Cat Aid
If your cat is prone to anxiety when confronted with novel circumstances, you might want to try giving them herbs like valerian root to help them relax.
The calming, submissive effects of valerian root may also induce sleep in your cat.
This is a fantastic method for getting your cat to unwind and fall asleep without using medicine.
Give your cat the valerian around 10-15 minutes before you want to get in the car for the best benefits.
This provides your cat ample time to begin unwinding, and when it’s time to get in the car, they’ll be feeling quite relaxed.
Catnip and pheromone sprays are further alternatives.
You can also ask a vet about anxiety medication for your cat on the days you need to transport it if it is extremely stressed and anxious.
4. Cover The Carrier With Breathable Fabric
Each cat is different, therefore this advice varies.
While some cats could enjoy being able to see you and observe what is going on, others might grow anxious due to the continuously shifting light and surroundings.
You can reduce how much your cat can see by covering the carrier with a breathable towel or thin blanket if you think it will help your cat relax.
5. Ensure The Car Temperature Is Comfortable
Make sure it is not excessively hot or chilly before getting in the car.
Before putting your cat in the car, be aware of the temperature and the weather so you can modify the temperature as needed.
Cats prefer their vehicles to be between 23 and 30 °C (75 and 85 °F) warm.
Keep an eye on your cat and don’t leave it in the car alone. If they start to pant, this could be a sign of anxiety or overheating.
6. Go On Short Journeys First
The best strategy is to introduce your cat to riding in the car gradually.
When your cat rides in a car for the first time to the veterinarian, stress levels may rise and unfavorable associations will develop.
Instead, just take your cat for a brief drive around the block the first few times so they can become used to the experience.
Always give your cat treats after a car ride to help them start to associate it with pleasant memories.
On The Day Of The Journey
Here are a few additional suggestions on the day of the drive.
Give Your Cat Lots Of Attention In The Hours Before The Car Ride
Your cat will feel better and be more tired for later if you play with them and give them lots of cuddles before you get in the car.
The automobile travel will go more easily with this added affection.
Don’t Feed Your Cat Before The Journey
Your cat is more likely to feel queasy if it has recently eaten.
Maintaining a light meal schedule will help them travel more comfortably because traveling on an empty stomach will lessen motion sickness.
During The Journey
You might be wondering whether there is anything else you can do during the journey to help your cat relax after you have followed all the above advice and you are now in the car with your cat safely in their carrier.
The following are some excellent travel advice:
Talk To Your Cat
A cat may feel uncertain and anxious while traveling in the automobile and encountering many new things, but if they can hear your voice, it will help them feel less anxious.
Talk calmly to your cat the entire way so they are aware of your presence.
Additionally, you can place the carrier so your cat can see you both. Every time you stop, you may reassure your cat even more by petting them inside the carrier.
Play Calming Music
Some cat owners claim that playing classical music during long car rides helps to relax their cat. This will affect cats differently, but it is definitely worth a go.
The engine noise can be muted with calming music, and your cat may even enjoy it. Likewise, your cat might prefer it to be quiet, so observe their behavior.
Make sure you provide adequate time for yourself. Your cat will sense your stress when you’re rushing since it makes you feel that way. Prior to putting your cat in the car, it is best to get everything else in order.
Drive cautiously to provide a comfortable travel because your cat will be sensitive to movement.
To keep the carrier from moving around the automobile, it should be fixed firmly in place. When driving with your cat, try to avoid potholes and avoid making sudden, sharp turns.
Signs Of Stress During The Car Journey
Your cat may become anxious while in a car. Among the indications of stress in cats are:
- Excessive vocalisation
- Excessive licking
Your cat might also feel motion sickness, which might manifest as:
The Best Way To Move The Carrier
Your cat will be much more at ease when you take up the cat carrier if you support the bottom and hold one side against your chest.
Your cat will feel shaky holding it by the handle.
Why Don’t Cats Like Travelling In The Car?
Cats enjoy routines and being in comfortable settings.
Both of these are disturbed when traveling by car, and they are also removed from their natural environment.
Most cats do not appreciate traveling because they can find unfamiliar places upsetting as well.
Cats can also recall past events pretty clearly, so if they have previously traveled to the vet in a car, they likely have that memory and anticipate the same thing every time they do so.
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As you can see, much of the above guidance focuses on helping your cat feel secure and at home in the car and carrier.
As long as you are patient with your cat, give them praise, and don’t rush the process, you will find that car trips will be much less stressful. Some of the steps will require some trial and error.