Friday, February 21, 2014

Traveling with Your Cat, A Guest Blog Post By Paris Permenter and John Bigley

We’re going to be the first to confess that we don’t travel with our cats.

As much as we love traveling with our dogs, we don’t vacation with our cats. We’d love to take them to the beach or even for day trips but we know that they would hate it. They’re homebodies, and they like it that way. They have their catio so they can safely enjoy a taste of the outdoors, a house full of toys and perches, and, if we’re traveling overnight, an attentive cat sitter.

"Inca" one of Paris and John's cats


But we also know some people do travel with their cats—and that travel doesn’t only mean a dream vacation. Travel also includes trips to the vet’s office, a move to a new home, and evacuation from storms and natural disasters.

If you’re going to travel with you cats, whether that’s around the block or across country, we’ve got a few tips to make your journey not only safe but successful:

Acclimate your cats to their carriers. Although we only take one cat at a time to the veterinarian’s office, we have a cat carrier for each one of our cats in case we should need to suddenly evacuate. We have the Kurgo Wander Pet Carrier which we like because it’s soft inside, giving our cats something to grip to rather than sliding around a hard plastic carrier; also, it folds up for storage if needed. Two years ago when wildfire danger was especially high in our region, we kept the carriers out 24/7 so they could be quickly accessed. It taught us an important lesson, though: by keeping the carriers out, opened, and filled with a soft blanket and special cat toy, it helped our cats lose their fear of the carrier. It no longer represented a trip to the vet’s office but the carrier became a home base for them. It’s now much faster for us to load each cat into his carrier, making it less stressful for them and far safer in the event of a sudden evacuation.

Research places to stay. Don’t plan on overnighting with your cats? What if a natural disaster means you need to evacuate? It’s a great idea to have a list of pet-friendly hotels in driving distance in case you find yourself in a hotel. If you’re in a hurricane area, maintain a list of cat-friendly hotels outside your evacuation zone.

Prepare for Cleanup. Let's face it: messes happen. We're always ready with our cleanup kit of paper towels and a cleaning product like Rug Doctor Spot & Stain Remover. We're happy to say we've never lost a hotel deposit. Although your cat's litter box use may be flawless at home, the scent of previous four-legged guests and other factors may lead to a mess.

Look at pheromone products. Cat pheromone products like Feliway produce an overall feeling of comfort and safety mimicking the pheromones released by a nursing cat. Sprays you can spritz on a cat carrier are easy to travel with; plug-in diffusers can be a great option for a hotel room or a new home.

Check and doublecheck before opening the carrier. When you arrive at a hotel room, do a sweep of the room—twice—to look not only for anything you don’t want your cat to get hold of but also for hiding places.

Travel with food and litter. While it takes up some space, it’s much easier to travel with your cat’s food and favorite brand of cat litter rather than shopping for it at your destination (or, worse, finding yourself having to buy a different brand.)

Microchip your cat. Even if your cat wears a breakaway collar with a tag, it pays to have your vet place a permanent microchip in your cat in case she should be lost on a trip. It’s also a good idea to create an ID tag with your cell phone number or the address and phone number at your destination.

Carry the scent of home. Your cat’s favorite blanket, added to the cat carrier, is a comforting scent of home in a new place, whether that’s the carrier, hotel room, or a new home.

Prepare for the unplanned. It only takes a few minutes to prepare a list of emergency veterinarians at your destination and along your route. A compact cat first aid kit also helps with minor issues along the way.

A little pre-trip preparation can make your next getaway with your cat a successful—and most importantly—a safe one for both you and your cat.

About the Authors: Paris Permenter and John Bigley are professional travel writers and the authors of over 30 travel guidebooks. The husband-wife team recently authored DogTipper's Texas with Dogs, a full-color guidebook on the most dog-friendly destinations in the Lone Star State. Paris and John publish CatTipper.com; Paris also hosts the weekly Dog Travel Experts radio show on Radio Pet Lady Network.



46 comments:

  1. My resident cats don't travel much - my vet comes to the house and I haven't moved in over 10 years. I do have carriers set up in case of a mass evacuation though.

    I did travel last year to Blog Paws with a foster kitten and she did great. Though she had almost more stuff than I did. I would recommend a harness and leash as well....she adjusted and it gave me an extra sense of precaution getting her in and out of her carrier in the car and into the travel crate. (plus she was on it to wander Blog Paws)

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  2. oh - and do you follow the Itty Bitty Kitty Committee?? Their youngest Wylla goes all over with them. Start them young :)

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  3. Yes, we hear that starting them young makes a huge difference!!

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  4. These are all great tips. Although I don't travel with my cats, there's always the possibility of an emergency.

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  5. Those are great tips!!!
    Especially as I contemplate whether or not I'll be bringing Waffles to BlogPaws.
    ; )

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    1. thought of you the instant I posted it :)

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  6. Yes it would be wise to start young! Those are great tips!

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  7. Yep, those are goodies, even though we don't get out much.

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  8. Great tips for the kitties. Have a fabulous Friday.
    Best wishes Molly

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  9. Cat carriers? Uh, we don't use those. My cats are harness and leashed trained;-)

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    1. that' catabulous, but many vets (like mine) will only allow cats there that are in carriers (because they treat cats and dogs)...for many cats, the carrier is actually a comfort, but that is great that you don't have to use one.

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    2. Hmm. My cats's vet doesn't care whatever we use a carrier or not! :-)

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    3. Well, that's great!! If God forbid there is a natural disaster or emergency situation though, it wouldn't hurt to have carriers around for their safety. Harnesses and leashes are great but don't offer a sense of comfort, protection or privacy in the event something unexpected were to take place. Just a thought.

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    4. Yeah, like that's ever gonna happen. But you're right, in fact we do have two carriers.

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  10. Terrific article! I would add: leash train your cat. We've done this with several of our cats, which has allowed us to even accomplish a cross country move. We've gotten some strange looks, especially when traveling in our RV and staying at campgrounds: dogs on a dual leash with one human - the other human with a dog on leash in one hand, a cat harnessed and leashed in the other hand. :-)

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    1. My Angel Bobo LOVED going outside on his leash, tried it with Cody who as ZERO interest so we just don't push it.

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  11. Great advice - now my human just needs a cat who will travel with her! Ain't gonna be me!

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  12. Good reminders. I've written about travelling with my cats and their flying debacle on Petfinder.com. Each form of travel from cars, RVs, boats or planes has their pros and cons.

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  13. Excellent, thoughtful advice. I took a cat on a holiday only the once. Spend ages trying to get it out of a tree near Okanagan Lake, B.C.

    Penny's alleged human,

    Gary

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  14. My peeps don’t travel and neither do I. TW leaves the PTU out the week before I go to the vet cos she had a friend who’s a vet tech who told her to do it. I’ll sleep on and in the PTU but won’t go into it for nothing when they want me to.

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  15. We don't travel with our peeps, though the mom does leave one carrier out all the time. We'll sleep in it on occasion. But the peeps have friends who travel all the time with their 2 cats and the cats do really well. Great post!

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  16. Great tips! All of our cats were adopted as older adults, and unfortunately traveling is not something they seem to enjoy.

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  17. Those are reall great tips! Have a PURRFECT weekend! xoxo Roxy & Tigerlino

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  18. Great post. Even if you never travel with your cats, these tips may become vital in an emergency.

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  19. I agree with researching places to stay. We did that when moving back to Florida from South Carolina. I found several pet-friendly hotels along the highway in southern Georgia and northern Florida. Then, when we were ready to stop, I called the closest one (to make sure there was a vacancy) and we went there.

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  20. Very useful tips! I am used to travel a lot with Eirwena, and with a good organization it goes always well.

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  21. some great tip's,Rabbits as a rule don't travel well my first two bunnies hatedit even short journys,but Speedy just settles down and goes to sleep and will even eat too,xx Rachel

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  22. Great advice! Thank you to Paris and John for sharing it! One just never knows in today's upside down world, what can happen, so always a good idea to have a game plan...

    Purrs from the Zee and Zoey Gang!

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  23. Wonderful tips today! Thanks for sharing!
    It is always a big question whether or not to bring our pets with us. And I think if people use these tips things can go a lot smoother!
    ((Husky hugz))

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  24. Thank you so much for sharing!! I'm already working on making sure our four-month-old kitten Lucky sees his carrier as a FUN place!

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    1. Paris you are most welcome!!! With you as his Mom I have NO DOUBT he will think it is fun!!! Sooooooo happy for you!

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  25. Hi Paris and John. Those are some great tips. I only travel to the vet too. Going to try to leave my carrier out and make it comfy and see if it helps my one cat. He had a bad eye and we were going weekly to the vet, sometimes more for a long time so he is terrified of the carrier now. He sees or hears it and he freaks out.
    Sue B

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    1. Sue Hi! Nope this isn't Paris or John but the carrier tip is one of my faves. With my first cat (Bobo), I NEVER left it out and the minute he saw that carrier come out he would take off and hide under the bed. MANY vet trips were cancelled as a result lol. With Cody, I have ALWAYS left it out (and still do). I keep a blanket in it, I leave the door open, I have even given him treats in it. He uses it to rest and relax in and since he sees it out every day he never knows when a trip to the vet is in his future :) It is one of the best tips ever!

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    2. Thank you so much. Garfield gets so stressed out going to the vet. This is so helpful.

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    3. Sue you are welcome!! Please let me know how it goes and remember, keep the carrier out ALL of the time!!! Make it all comfy cozy, leave the door open....eventually Garfield will like it!

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  26. Great post and tips. (None of the kitties here present or past have ever liked travel.) I have never tried leaving the PTU out though. Haven't tried Feliway either.

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  27. PS: Inca is beautiful...only the 2nd one I've come across after my Inka.

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  28. I went on a cross country trip with a cat in a car once. The tips are all good. It was before the internet, so I could not research where to stay. It was hit or miss, as I drove down the highway. Some places I sneaked the cat inside! I did not get caught! One thing you should not try which I did. I decided to let the cat outside at a rest stop, and hitch him to the car bumper like a horse. He got loose and was walking around the parking lot meowing, but I quickly scooped him up, and did not try that stupid thing again!

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  29. Those are some great ideas. We have one more, and we know someone this happened to. Check and make sure your carrier is secure, and all the clips, bolts or whatever are tight. A friend had their cat in the carrier when it came apart. They were away from home and did find their cat, but it was very traumatic for them and their cat.

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  30. OMC, you would NOT want to be here when the Human gets me in that PTU. It is Not Pretty. My idea of a good trip is napping in the back porch instead of the living room, MOL!

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  31. Great tips, although leaving the kitties at home in someone's care is always to be preferred. I do know a few cats though that got used to traveling.

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    1. Vanessa to be honest, I'm with you. I can't imagine traveling with Cody unless I had to

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  32. Great tips if ever I am that brave. My kitty brats are little hooligans :)

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  33. Great post! Been reading around for tips on this. Thanks for the info!

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