How To Get Your Cat Used To Traveling

To move your cats with any form of transportation you need to give them plenty of time to prepare well in advance of your trip. Cats are territorial by nature and find comfort in familiar surroundings. While you yourself are an object that your cat will find comforting you need to get them used to the items that they’ll be moving with to make the trip that much easier.

Make Their Carrier Home

Animals don’t like to be confined but can be conditioned to like just about anything, with the proper incentives. All cat owners should get their cats used to their carriers – even if they won’t be used often. Start them early since it’s more difficult to get an older cat used to new things. A good carrier is the Bergan Comfort Carrier.

You want them to feel comfortable so it’s easier to go to the vet, take a road trip, or even move to another country without unnecessarily stressing them.

  • Make the interior of the carrier comfortable – Place a blanket or something soft that doesn’t smell like any other pets you may have.
  • Make it familiar – No matter how soft it is or how many treats you put in your cat carrier (even if it’s a Bergan Comfort Carrier), if you plop your cat in for a 4-hour car ride without any preparation it’s not going to be a pleasant experience for you or your cat.

two cats in a carrier

Short Trips Around The House

You need to make every moving experience a positive one. Make it easy and set yourself (and cat) up for success each time. Once you’ve gotten your cat familiar and happy in their carrier, take them to a room in the house they don’t frequent too much. (You want somewhat unfamiliar surroundings.) Place your cat in their carrier and spend 5-10 minutes doing something like reading, listening to music, or watching some TV on your laptop.

Do this several times until your cat is comfortable just hanging out in the cat carrier while you do other things. Move on later to taking short walks around your neighborhood and then on short car trips.

Steps for Success

  • Do this around midday when your cat is naturally inactive.
  • Try to make the temperature comfortable.
  • If you will be listening to music or watching some TV, keep the sound reasonable and avoid things with sounds that will make your cat nervous (super loud, lots of explosions, etc.)

More Time

Cats need much more preparation for traveling. It’s a slow process that requires lots of patience and if you rush it or do other things to make the experiences negative you won’t be able to travel with your cat. Don’t make what should be a positive thing negative – teaching your cat to love something it’s learned to hate is extremely difficult – and it doesn’t have to be. Your cat can end up loving travel as much as you do if you get them ready early enough.

[photos by: someToast, HarlanH]

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The Ultimate Guide To Traveling Internationally With Your Pets: Part 1 | foXnoMad
September 28, 2010 at 06:31

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

natasa May 11, 2010 at 06:47

Well I think the secret is to teach the cat when she is still a kitten. With an older cat I find it almost impossible :(

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Anil P. May 15, 2010 at 13:55

Our older cat has taken some long haul flights and although it’s a bit more stressful on them after a day or two I find they fall into the routine. Then again, each cat is different so it does vary. Cars rides on the other hand can be much more difficult.

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Paul Morris February 29, 2012 at 12:55

Really found the ideas helpful,thanks

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Anil P. March 4, 2012 at 09:55

My pleasure.

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