Travelling With your Cat
If you are an outdoor person or someone who likes to travel for leisure or even workwise, you may not think of carrying your cat with you but sometimes we may not be as fortunate to have a cat-sitter and then there are some of us who consider our cats to be part of the family and will not want to leave them out!! If you are thinking about travelling with your cat, it is possible and here you will find a few tips on how to go about doing it.
Choosing an Airline
If you are travelling by air your first step would be choosing an airline that will allow you to travel with your pet. Once that is done then you will have to find out that specific airline’s pet policies, restrictions and so forth. Pets are allowed to travel on a commercial airline as checked baggage cargo, as manifest cargo or in-cabin. In-cabin is the best option for you and your pet, this way you will be able to keep an eye on them throughout the flight. This option allows for you to stow the carrier under your seat.
The carrier in which is to be used will be specific by the airline, size may vary so make sure to find out the correct dimensions.
Checked Baggage cargo or Manifest cargo
Again you will need to find out which airline accepts Checked Baggage cargo. Most airlines accept Manifest cargo where your cat will be stored in the cargo hole in a special sized crate. This option is mostly used when you are not accompanying your pet. We will learn more about this in another article. When you choose your carrier you will then have to get your cat used to going into it. This is where planning in advance comes in, by training your cat to go into the carrier even when you are not actually going anywhere will make it a lot easier on the actual day of travelling. Some ways to do this are:
Give them treats when they go into their carrier without a fuss
Put a catnip toy in the carrier so they will be encouraged to go in
Try putting something belonging to you in the carrier so that they will get your scent and feel more comfortable.
If your cat still doesn’t want to go in, the last alternative would be to use a cat calmer on the day of travelling. Cat calmer is a natural relaxer which will keep your cat calm for several hours. Perfect if you have a long flight.
After choosing your airline and getting your right size carrier the next step would be to find out what is your destination’s requirements for pets. Where will you be staying? Is it pet friendly? Do they allow pets? These are questions you need to find answers to, a pet friendly hotel or bed and breakfast or whatever you choose to stay at. Next, wherever your destination, there will be certain requirements specific to that country. Documents will be needed which will have information about the health of your pet. The most serious of health cases in most countries is rabies so most likely your cat will need to be vaccinated. These documents also known as a Pet Passport which is attainable by any veterinarian will have to be handed over to officials at the airport. Best way to keep your documents are in a waterproof pouch or case.
Okay! So now we are all set with where we are going and how we are getting there. The next step would be packing!
What to Pack
Your cat is part of the family so just think of it as packing for an extra member. You will need the basic essentials like:
Food and water. It’s always better to be prepared. Choose what is easier and more convenient for you. You will need to do more research on where you will be staying if there are any nearby pet stores available for you to purchase food there and be sure they have the same pet food your cat eats. We don’t want to be changing your cat’s diet because there will be a chance that your cat will refuse to eat. If it’s not available then you will need to pack extra food. Bottle water is recommended to be used both for you and your pet. This can be purchased to limit the weight of your baggage. Food and water bowls is a must. Try to keep the feeding routine the same as when you are home because cats on the hold just doesn’t like it when things change.
Litter Box. You will need to pack a litter box as well, because your cat will already be used to it. A folding travel/portable litter box will be ideal and again don’t change the litter to anything other than what he is used to. This is also perfect to use if your cat needs the toilet at the airport. Just put some cat litter in a few Ziploc bags, go into the washroom choose a corner, the litter box doesn’t require a lot of space, put the litter in and your cat will be comfortable to go off when he needs to. Please discard litter into trash and wash the tray out. Be considerate to other travellers and don’t wash the litter down the sink.Disposable litter pads will also be useful when your cat is in his carrier. It will keep the carrier fresh and odor free.
Identification Tags. We all need to keep ourselves and our pet safe, so we need to also be prepared. If for some reason your cat gets lost an identification tag will be very helpful. Information like your cell phone # or the # at the hotel you will be staying at will be best if someone should find him.
Cat Harness. You will need a harness if you want to do outdoor activities with your cat, remember this is a vacation for everyone so you can’t exclude him and leave him at the hotel! Also, do more homework on the different restaurants and café’s that are nearby to make sure they will allow pets to enter their institution.
Cat Bed. This is optional, if you don’t want your cat sleeping on the same bed as you and you want to limit the amount of cat hair on the furniture to make cleaning easier, a cat bed would be a good choice. You may want to get a small cat pad or bed to take up little space because most rooms in hotels and bed/breakfast are small. If you already have a cat bed at home it will be wise to get a smaller one that is easy to clean.
Toys. Your cat will need some toys to keep him occupied while you are engaged in other things, or if you want to have some bonding time with your cat. Just pack one or two, you don’t need a lot.
Medication. If your cat is taking any medication do remember to pack it.
Extra sheets and towels. This will be needed just in case of any mishaps your cat may have in the hotel room. Always better to be prepared. You may want to cover the furniture with the sheets to keep it clean.
A brush. Your cat will need to be groomed during your stay.
How to keep your cat safe and happy.
Travelling with your cat can be a task, but if you prepare in advance and follow the right procedure then things can be easier. If you are travelling in a car with your cat be sure to not leave your cat locked in the car even if you think it’s for a short period of time. Always make sure that the temperature in your vehicle is not too cold or hot, if you are feeling comfortable then sure enough they will be too. Always keep an eye on your cat at all times, there may be others looking at your cat and they may want to snatch him away.
Keep feeding schedules the same as home as I mentioned above. Once your kitty has the same routine of eating, sleeping and playing, they will adapt better to the surroundings.
Find the nearest veterinary clinic and keep the contact numbers on hand in case of any emergency.
By following these simple steps I hope it will make it easier for you to travel with your feline friend.
Anyone who has travelled with their cat and would like to share pictures and their experiences I would love to hear from you! Leave a comment in the comment box.