Drivers are being advised on how to keep their four-legged family members safe on the way to appointments and during road trips.
The motoring experts at LeaseCar.uk have compiled their advice for travelling with cats, with the top priority being to keep them safe.
The Highway Code states that all animals must be suitably restrained so they cannot distract you while you are driving or injure you or themselves if you stop quickly. Failure to do this could result in a fine and penalty points.
The experts are urging owners to use suitable restraints including cages or carriers, depending on the cat’s size.
Other tips featured in the guide cover preparing your animal for the journey, advice for during the trip and what to do when you finally arrive.
Tim Alcock from LeaseCar.uk said: “Travelling with your pet can be stressful, especially if they become anxious or suffer from motion sickness.
“So, we’ve compiled some tips to help make the journey as easy as possible for both your animal and you.
“Preparing them ahead of the trip with a long walk and a light meal will get you off to a good start.
“Once the journey is underway, it’s important to make sure your pet is safe, and you adhere to the guidance set out in the Highway Code. Also remember to have plenty of stops, keep water in the car with your pet and make sure they don’t overheat.
“And when you finally reach your destination, take them on a good, long walk.”
Before you start your journey
- Get a suitable carrier
To make travelling as comfortable as possible for your cat, make sure that the carrier is tall enough for them to sit, stand up, and move around. It also needs to be long enough for your cat to be able to lie down comfortably. Lay a familiar smelling blanket in the carrier for exta kitty comfort on the journey. For example, Sleepypod carriers are especially safe for car journeys.
- Tire them out
Let your pet roam free for a couple of hours before heading off on your travels, to burn off all their excess energy. They’re more likely to spend the journey relaxing if they’re worn out and a little sleepy.
Feed your pet two hours before travel – they travel better on an empty stomach and it reduces the risk of travel sickness.
On the journey
- Keeping your pet safe
Make sure you stick to the rules in the Highway Code and keep your pet safe by using restraints. For smaller pets, consider investing in a carrier, crate or cage.
Remember to take plenty of breaks on the journey for toilet stops and exercise, especially if you’re travelling a long way. Keep your pet close by or on a lead when you take them out of the car and make sure there’s water in the car in a spill proof bowl.
- Window Shades
Invest in some window shades to help keep the car cool and block out direct sunlight. This will make the journey more comfortable for your pet.
- Keep your pet relaxed
Journeys can be stressful to pet, so try and make them as happy and relaxed as possible. This could be as simple as their favourite toy, a couple of treats spread throughout the journey or a cuddle during pit stops.
If you breakdown while travelling with your pet, don’t let them out unless it safe to do so and make sure you keep them on a lead or in your arms.
When you arrive
- Let them free
As soon as you arrive and it’s safe, give your pet a chance to stretch their legs and run around.