With summer right on top of us, many of us may be making our vacations plans to take advantage of some well-needed time off. However, since many of us consider our kitties to be part of the family perhaps the thought of not having the company of our beloved kitties is unbearable. In fact, some of us may be thinking about taking them along on their vacation.
If bringing your cat with you is included in your vacation plans, there will be several decisions you will have to make, depending on your destination, how far you will be traveling and what means of transportation you will be using. Since air travel with cats can be quite complicated, personally, I don’t recommend it. I think that traveling by car (if at all possible) is far simpler.
Naturally, you want to make your kitty’s “getaway” time as safe and secure as possible. I can’t imagine anything more distressing than losing a kitty while you are traveling. To help your kitty to have a fun and positive vacation experience with you, here are a few simple suggestions:
For a couple of week prior to traveling make sure that your kitty is “carrier-proof”. Leave the carrier open in an area that your cat enjoys. In the carrier place a favorite toy along with some tempting treats. When your cat seems comfortable in the carrier, close it and walk around the house with your cat inside the carrier. After a few minutes, release the cat and give her a favorite treat. After a few days of lengthening the time your cat is in the carrier, put her in the carrier and drive around the neighborhood. Always follow these short excursions offering her that favorite treat.
Take along a litter box with which your cat is familiar, litter, toys and her favorite food. It is a good idea to include some all meat and broth baby food just in case her appetite is “off”. In your “getaway bag” include paper towels, cloth towels, cleaning supplies, a First Aid Kit and a list of veterinarians in the area to which you will be visiting. Being prepared for emergencies certainly helps to prevent stress and anxiety should accidents or illnesses occur.
Also include health certificates, a rabies certificate and other pertinent paper work. Make sure that your cat is wearing an identification tag. If your cat is not accustomed to a collar or harness, several weeks in advance of the trip, get your kitty used to wearing them. On the ID tag, be sure to include a phone number where you may be reached. Consider microchipping your kitty, since it can help you to be reunited with your cat even while you are away.
Before making lodging reservations, make sure that any hotel or motel at which you plan to stay is “pet friendly”. You can find a list of “pet-friendly” by visiting Pets Welcome. Be aware that some facilities may require a “pet deposit” to cover any accidental damage to the room.
Never leave your cat in a parked car unattended, even if the air conditioner is running. If the engine stops running, the heated car becomes a death-trap. Cats who get overheated can quickly expire. Even though stops require a little extra planning, it is crucial. Always keep your cat in her carrier while you are traveling. There is hardly anything more dangerous to both the driver and a curious cat who is exploring under the pedals. Some cats love to perch on the rear window ledge; but this is an accident just waiting to happen.
You can feed your cat a very light meal a couple of hours before your departure. For your cat’s comfort, make several “pit stops” along the way, offering her the litter box during this time. Be sure to supervise her during the stop and be certain that all the car doors are securely closed.
With these few safety tips as a guide, you can expect to have a fun-filled vacation, with the added pleasure of your beloved cat accompanying you.
Since some folks do prefer leaving their cats at home while they are on vacation; in a future article we will be featuring a discussion on this topic.
What are your thoughts about taking your cat with you on vacation? Share them in a comment.
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