Common Questions Cat Owners Have When They Travel

For a cat, travelling entails more than booking a ticket and showing up at the station. The emotional and physical stress that accompanies travelling might take a toll even on the healthiest pet.

As the holiday approaches, you might be looking to take a breather with your family. Since you consider your pet as ‘family’, you would be tempted to bring your favourite four-footed friend along.

And rightly so! Holidays present the perfect time for bonding, not just with humans- but also with our pets.

We know you’ve got a lot on your mind, as regards your recent decision. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of possible questions racing through your head, alongside their solutions.

Here you go!

For long car trips

Must I use a cat carrier?

So, here’s the deal: most cats are not fans of riding in a car, as they are not comfortable being in unfamiliar spaces. Hence, keeping your cat in the carrier makes it safer for both you and your cat, as it makes your cat more stable.

Still, it isn’t a must. In most places, cats are free to travel without carriers. However, it’s your duty as a cat owner to ensure your cat travels in a carrier- considering the risk accidents pose to a free cat. Asides your cat carrier, be sure to carry along some cat travelling essentials.

How long do I keep my cat in its carrier?

For most cats, 8-hours is fine. However, some others do need breaks every 2-3 hours. Before letting your cat out of the carrier, be sure that you are parked. If your cat is anxious, wiping the carrier with artificial pheromones might make being confined easier for your feline friend.

Back seat or front seat?

The golden rule of thumb: Treat your pet how you treat your children. Just like children, your cat should never be allowed to stay in the front seat. When traveling, your cat carrier should always be at the back, harnessed in the seat belt. The reason being, if the airbag goes off while your cat’s carrier is in the front seat, it could injure your favorite animal.

Should I allow my cat to stick its head out the window?

Absolutely not! You should never allow your cat to stick its head outside the window of a moving car. First, their immune system is not as strong as yours. Hence, driving hot/cold air down their lungs with such force could make them sick.

Can I leave my cat alone in the car?

Might be tempting, but don’t do it. First, doing so might be you issuing an invitation to pet thieves. Asides from that, the temperature in the car could drop way below freezing point in winter and heat really quickly in winter- causing irreversible damage to your cat.

Also, if you wish to go on walk breaks during your trip, take your cat with you. However, your cat must accept being put on a leash. This reduces the chances of a frightened cat running away.

Before embarking on your journey, be sure to research other things you should know about going on road trips with cats.

For Plane Trips

If you ever thought flying with pets is difficult, you are right. You’ve got a lot to do! Air travel can be risky for pets. If you plan on bringing your pet along on vacation, driving is usually a better option.

However, in cases in which the benefits of traveling by air outweighs the risks, here are some questions you might need answers to very soon:

How do I know if my cat can fly with me?

This decision lies in the hands of the airline you will be flying with. Several things- including your pet’s age, breed, and health status will come into play.

The average age of pets which are allowed to fly is usually around 8-weeks old. However, some airlines might have stricter policies. Also, you would need to provide a certification from your veterinarian that your pet is healthy enough to fly. About the breed, pets with short-noses such as Persian cats are more likely to die on the cargo, compared to longer-nosed cats. Owners of this breed can arrange for their cats to be in the cabin with them—as long as the airline approves of it.

Will my cat fly in the cabin with me?

Again, the airline policies rule the day- with the size of your cat playing a relatively huge role. Cats are small; hence, it’s possible for your cat to fly with you in the cabin, fitting into a ventilated carrier under the airplane seat. Heads up: this might attract a fee.

About flying your cat in the cabin, you should ask your airline the following questions:

  • Does the airline have any special pet immunization requirements?
  • Is there a specific type of carrier I must use in holding my cat?
  • If my cat can fly in the cabin with me, what restrictions about flying in cargo should I know about?

Should I inform my airline about my pet ahead of time?

The number of pets an airline can carry is limited. And, most airlines run on the first-come, first-serve policy. Hence, it’s extremely important you register your pet before your day of travel.

What kind of carrier do I need to use in the cabin?

A requirement of cabin-traveling for pets is that they must stay in a carrier. Usually, it is advisable that your cat should be able to stand naturally in the carrier. Also, it must be a well-ventilated one.

Is the flight length a factor I should consider before booking?

As always, the flying time should be factored in when shopping for a flight. Simple- shorter flight time is the best for cats. Hence, consider taking direct flights.

In Conclusion

Your job doesn’t end when you arrive at your destination- you must also allow the cat to get used to the new accommodation. Still, make sure the cat is going at its own pace!

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3 thoughts on “Common Questions Cat Owners Have When They Travel

  1. Lencrest Photos says:

    I have travelled with my cats both ways, air and car. These days I will not fly with my cats, to many horror stories and its way to stressful on me and my pets. By car is much better but i admit I was a bad parent in the past and didnt use carrier, it was in vehicle but they were free to lay in the back or passenger seat. I had one that was a horrible horrible traveller for the first couple hours. He couldnt be in the carrier for the messes he would make and the meows, nerve shattering. It was just easier for everyone if he found a spot and stayed there. Sadly those have all passed and ones I have now travel in carriers tho…

  2. Willow Croft says:

    I have a fairly large dog crate, with water bowls that attach to the side of the crate, a litter box, cat food, and towels in it so the individual cat doesn’t slide around (and a box with a towel in it so they can feel snuggly. I put the crates on the back seat and secure them with the seat belt.

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