By Carole C. Wilbourn
Copyright CATS ON THE COUCH
Available at the Humane Society of N.Y
Even the most domestic of cats can become a world traveler. It's
possible, and painless, once you know how.
Does your cat panic on car trips, howling all the way? Once you
arrive at your destination, he probably goes into hiding for the
duration of your stay. It isn't unusual- cats generally don't react
very favorably to traveling. But, with a little know-how vacationing
with your pet can be relatively painless. Ready to go?
If you're planning a long trip (four or more hours) your cat may
need oral sedation. Should you decide on oral sedation, give your cat
a trial dosage before you go to be sure it's effective. For cats
with queasy stomachs, Dramamine is often advisable. Check with your
A rabies vaccination will also be necessary. A vaccination against
respiratory viruses and a current distemper booster is a good idea.
Do not feed your pet for at least four hours before departure on
a empty stomach is better than an upset one. Water is ok.
What to take
• A disposable cardboard litter box or plastic pan and plastic
litter box liners, plus scoop and litter.
• Food, bowls and catnip.
• A carrier, with your identification on the outside. A wired
carrier is best because it allows air to circulate. Line it with
strips of newspaper in case your cat has an accident.
When you go by car
• Set up the litter box in a convenient area.
• Keep the car as cool as possible
• Should you decide to let your cat out of the carrier,
leave the car windows open a crack. Some cats feel safer inside
the carrier and won't come out.
• Never leave your cat in a hot car.
Once you arrive
• Before you bring the cat inside, set up the litter box
and water bowl in the bathroom.
• Open the carrier inside the bathroom then close the door
and let your cat venture out at its leisure.
• Once at home in the bathroom, your cat is ready to explore
the rest of the place. Tour only one room at a time or the newness
and vastness will be overwhelming.
• You can give your pet some catnip and a light meal 3 to
4 hours after arrival.
• Don't be startled if your cat goes into hiding. It can
take a few days for a cat to adapt to a new environment.
For outdoor excursions
• Make certain your cat is familiar with the inside of the
house or room before you allow him to go outdoors.
• Even if he's tattooed, provide him with a collar and identification.
He may also need a flea collar or medallion.
• At first, accompany your cat on short strolls, using a
kitty harness and leash. It's important for a cat to familiarize
itself with the immediate area under your supervision. Then when
he's on his own and perhaps panics, he'll know where to hide or
how to return home quickly.
• Don't permit your cat to stay out after dark. Feed him
at sundown, he's sure to come home for meals.
• Before entry is permitted into some states and most foreign
countries, cats must receive certain shots. Check the United States
Department of Agriculture booklet entitled "State and Federal
Health Requirements," which lists domestic and Canadian requirements.
When traveling to foreign countries, your travel agent or airline
can provide you with the information you need.
• Many hotels permit cats in the rooms. But the management
may ask you to sign an agreement holding you responsible for any
damage caused by your cat.
• Be sure your maid knows about your cat. Maids often leave
a door ajar while cleaning and your cat may exit.
If you fly
• Some airlines insist you buy their regulation carriers.
• Always attach a label to your carrier with your identification
• Some airlines will allow one pet per cabin if the carrier
can fit under the seat in front of you.
• Make reservations well in advance or your cat may have
to travel as "excess baggage" in the cargo or luggage
• A direct flight is best-there's less chance your cat will
be transferred to the wrong plane.
• Carry your cat's carrier to the boarding area and ask an
airline employee to see that your cat boards the plane.
It has come to our attention, that many airlines are prohibiting
pet travel if temperatures are too high or too low. Also, they are
limiting the number of pets in baggage or charging extra fees. Double
check with your carrier about these possible restrictions and problems.
Don’t be surprised.