Last August, I moved across the country from San Diego, California, to Springfield, Massachusetts. The move was the best decision I’ve ever made, but there was one detail that stressed me out for weeks prior — how my furry companion, a very large cat with severe anxiety, would handle the trip. As a result of this move, I have a better understanding of how to travel with even the most panicky cats. Here are 5 tips to help you bring your own treasured pet on a road trip!
Get A Dog Travel Carrier for the Trip
My cat is huge — about 20 lbs and 22 inches long. So there was no way I was transporting him across the country for days in a regular cat carrier. I personally went for a heavy-duty fabric dog carrier for medium-sized dogs. This gave him space to move and I was also able to put his litter box and food in there without the two being too close. Not all cats are this large, though, so a smaller dog carrier may work instead. But you should always make sure they have the essentials in there with them and enough space.
Get A Natural Calming Supplement
Cats are known for their unwillingness to travel, no matter how calm they are inside your home. If necessary, vets can provide you with prescription sedatives, but there are alternatives. I got my cat some melatonin chews that helped him feel at peace during a stressful time. However, there are plenty of natural supplements that won’t make them feel drugged out but will still make the trip easier for everyone.
Give Your Cat a Flea and Tick Treatment in Advance
When traveling, you’ll need to stay in pet-friendly hotels, and depending on where you’re going, there may not be many to choose from. This, in turn, means that every traveler with an animal that has passed through that area has stayed in the same hotel as you will. If you don’t treat for fleas prior, there is a very good chance that when your cat hides, they will catch fleas. My cat got a flea infestation after our trip because I didn’t treat him for fleas close enough to our travel date. So make sure your trip is in the safety window for the treatment you use!
Book Hotels Early
Again, depending on where you’re going, there may be very limited options when it comes to hotels that allow pets. Making your hotel reservations in advance ensures you’ll have a room you can bring your cat into. If possible, ask for rooms that have a base around the bed so your cat cannot get under the bed. This makes leaving in the morning way easier since you won’t have to pull him from under the bed.
Give Your Cat Lots of TLC
While most humans enjoy the thrill of traveling and relocating, your cat is likely going to be miserable the entire time. When you’re in hotels, give them lots of treats and their favorite foods if you can get them out of their hiding spot. When you finally arrive at your destination, do your very best to make them feel like this is their home and they’re not going to have to leave any time soon.
If you’re preparing for a long-distance move, or even just considering one, I hope that these tips give you an idea of the type of planning you need to do in order to make it as painless as possible for everyone involved. It may be rough to transition your cat to their new life in your new home together, especially if they have pre-existing anxiety problems. But with your love and care, they will adjust in no time. Before you know it, you’ll be off to a great start in your new life, with your faithful furry friend by your side!