How can you Help Your Cat Feel Relaxed on Car Journeys?

It’s no secret that some cats get stressed out during car journeys. Even if they’ve been in cars before, the prospect can still be daunting. If you’re a pet owner, it’s natural to only want the best for them – in fact, 88% of American pet owners say they consider pets to be members of their family.

Here are a few tips to help your cat feel more relaxed and comfortable during your next road trip. By following these, you and your feline friend can enjoy your travels together (or at least tolerate them).

Photo by Mikhail Vasilyev on Unsplash

Get your cat used to their carrier

It will be much easier to travel with your cat if they like being in their carrier. You can reinforce that the carrier is a positive place for a cat to be by conducting training at home.

  • Leave the carrier somewhere in your home, with the entryway open so the cat can go in and out as it pleases. It then becomes a place your cat might rest, and not just a box they associate with something scary.
  • Encourage your cat to go into the carrier by putting something they like inside, like toys or a blanket. This will make it smell familiar.
  • Reward your cat with a treat when they go into the carrier without prompting.

Additionally, it’s also an important factor to pick a comfortable and large enough carrier for your cat such as the Necoichi stress-free pen.

Make your car a calm place to be

You can do this by bringing items your cat likes so they can smell something familiar, ensuring the temperature is cool (in summer) or warm (in winter) so your cat is comfortable, and staying calm yourself throughout the journey. Certain noises can be helpful too, like music composed specifically for cats – research shows that they like music which resembles purring.

Photo by Loan on Unsplash

Put your cat’s carrier on the floor of your car, behind the driver or passenger seat

This is the place with the least amount of motion, which will make the journey a lot smoother for your cat.

Go for a test drive

Try travelling with your cat before you actually need to be anywhere. This is a good way to see what specifically makes your cat uncomfortable, if anything. They might prefer to be covered, or travel in silence instead of having music playing.

Also look out for signs of motion sickness, which are:

  • Loud meowing
  • Howling
  • Restlessness or lethargy
  • Licking lips
  • Drooling
  • Vomiting

If your cat does get sick, there are medications you can give them when you have to go on essential journeys. Speak to your vet.

Some cats also get sick if you feed them too close to the time you travel, so be sure to leave a few hours between mealtimes and your journey.

Photo by Jonas Vincent on Unsplash

Drive carefully

It goes without saying that you should drive carefully all the time, but pay extra attention to accelerating, braking and turning. Be as smooth as possible to limit extra motion.

As you can see, by taking care and making extra preparations for your trip, you can help make your cat’s car journey a lot easier.

Have you tried any of these methods? Let us know in the comments how they worked for you and your feline friend.

Author bio: Poppy Sharp is a writer and cat owner from Sussex. When she’s not penning articles or spending time with her furry friends, she enjoys paddle boarding, walking, and exploring new places.

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2 thoughts on “How can you Help Your Cat Feel Relaxed on Car Journeys?

    • Claire says:

      When I’m a passenger in a car, I sometimes feel queasy if I’m in the back seat and can’t see where I’m going. I thought the same would apply to my cats. I had to drive my cat to a university hospital for a CT scan and it was over a 2-hour drive. I put a cardboard box on the front seat next to me and set the cat carrier on top. The gate was facing forward and it was high enough so my cat could see where he was going. There were none of his usual complaints. No meowing or carsickness. I secured the carrier in place so it wouldn’t slide off the box.

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