Traveling to the vet by car is something that cats and cat-owners alike dread. Your cat dreads it because they’re forced into a small-cage, into new and unknown environments, and because the prospect of a vet trip is bad enough in and of itself. You dread them because you know your cat is going to make a fuss. Let’s get the truth out of the way: a car trip with your cat is never going to be quite as pleasant as you’d like it to be. But the good news is, it doesn’t have to be awful either. Here are 6 useful tips for reducing your cat’s dress when traveling by car:
Prevent your cat from escaping
This first tip won’t make your cat less anxious…but it will save you a lot of stress! Each year, hundreds of cats get lost on their way to the vet, when moving houses or traveling for holidays. It could be that your cat gets too anxious and decides to run away. Or that they unexpectedly jump out of their cage when you open the door. Be prepared for that, and put luck on your side with some safety measures. “First of all, make sure that the cage is fully locked before you open the door to your house or your car. Secondly, make sure that your cat is identifiable with microchips, a collar, and an ID tag”, says Karl Vinson, a travel blogger at Writinity and Researchpapersuk.
Keep your cat in a basket or cage
It goes without saying, but your cat can’t roam around the car freely. This would risk causing accidents and would make the trip a lot more stressful for you. Not to mention, your cat might also find the trip a lot bumpier without a cage, and find themselves projected out of their seat. So your second step when traveling by car with your cat is to get them a cage.
Get your cat used to the cage beforehand
Now, your cat won’t enjoy being forced into a cage on the day of the trip. It will make them excessively anxious, and you may find it difficult to force them in there in the first place! What we recommend is to introduce them to the cage a few days beforehand. Let them sniff it, get used to getting in and out of it. Over time, it will be associated with a safe and comfortable place, which will reduce their anxiety in the car.
Use a calming spray
You can buy a special spray that calms cats down. Use this spray all over the cage and on the cushion to make it more hospitable to your cat. These products have been formulated to imitate calm cat pheromones, and are proven to work in reducing stress. You can usually find them in pet stores, on the internet or at the veterinarian’s.
It’s no secret that cats can feel our emotions and be influenced by them. So one of the best things that you can do to save your cat unnecessary stress during a car ride is to be calm yourself. Don’t honk and swear at other drivers. “Don’t drive too nervously. Instead, play some classical music or a podcast, and relax with deep breaths. This will help your cat feel that there is nothing to be worried about”, explains Bambi Hernandez, a lifestyle writer at Draft Beyond and Last Minute Writing.
Use a sedative
The final, last resort option is to use a sedative. Vets don’t usually recommend using these products unless they are absolutely necessary, so don’t abuse it. That being said, medicines like Benadryl or diphenhydramine can make cats drowsy and calm, which helps a lot when traveling by car with them. Ideally, you would get those from a veterinarian, who will be able to recommend doses and substances that are best suited for your pet.
Taking your cat out of the house to travel by car is never easy. In fact, any situation that drastically changes the environment that your cat is in is going to be somewhat stressful for them. But there are also a couple of things that you can do to reduce your cat’s anxiety as much as possible. We hope that you’ve enjoyed these 6 tips, and learned something new about managing cat stress. And remember: it’s all about making your cat feel like this new environment is safe and normal.
About the author:
Ashley Halsey is a professional writer, working at Lucky Assignments and Gum Essays, writing on all sorts of topics relating to lifestyle, marketing strategy, and technology for business. She spends most of her spare time traveling with her family and gathering information for her latest piece of writing.