Stress-free travelling with your cat

Travelling with your cat can be a stressful experience for both your cat and yourself. Here are a few helpful tips to make the journey a much more pleasant experience. If your cat is very young it is worthwhile to getting them used to the basket/cat carrier as soon as possible. Making the basket more appealing with soft bedding and allowing your cat to have free access to it at all times, will help. Placing treats inside the basket will make it much more inviting and build up a positive association. The overall goal is for your cat to enter the basket voluntarily.

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Choosing the correct carrier for your cat

The correct cat basket/carrier can make all the difference. Cats should be contained at all times when travelling, even if walking to the surgery. Your cat should be safe and secure in a basket not wrapped in a blanket and carried. The most appropriate type of cat carrier is either a plastic box with mesh doors, or a wire basket with top opening door. The basket should be of strong, sturdy construction to prevent even the largest or most determined cat from escaping. Do not use a cat carrier that is made from cardboard; or wicker, as these can become worn and fall apart. Any basket that has broken latches needs to be replaced before your cat’s next journey. Cat bags are becoming more fashionable but are not suitable for large cats,  can easily be soiled, or have the mesh windows broken by an angry cat.

Car safety

Place the cat carrier in the foot well or on the seat. Ensure that the basket is level; use a towel if the basket seems to slope. When positioned on the seat, use a seat belt around the basket to prevent it from sliding around. Drive calmly and safely; try not to rush. Give yourself plenty of time to get to the clinic for your appointment. Loud music can cause unnecessary stress to cats, as can strong, overpowering car air fresheners. Ensure to remove any food and water from your cat least 2 hours before travelling; this should help with motion sickness.

Once you arrive at the clinic, refrain from putting the basket/carrier on the floor. Cats prefer to be up out of the way. Place the basket on the bench next to you, or use the cat shelf in the waiting area. Towels sprayed with cat appeasing pheromones are located on the shelf. Please help your self to one and cover your cat’s basket whilst you wait.

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