Australians are a restless lot! Nearly half moved home in the last 12 months according to the most recent Census Data Whilst not everyone who moves has a cat, if you do you may find they are not as great at travelling as you are! (By the way, if you are thinking of getting a cat, and know that you will be on the move, please first consider how that may impact your cat!)
Even though it can be difficult, having a cat should not stop you from relocating even just temporarily. But of course, if the move is permanent, then doing so is much better than just leaving leaving the problem with a rescue organisation. Remember their resources are limited, so as a responsible pet owner it’s best if you can take your lovely fur pal with you.
But cats are very territorial, and don’t really enjoy being moved around so you need to take that into consideration, and planning is the key.
The trick is to get your feline friend used to travel. While bringing your kitty to weekend vacations might be too much, you can still train it to get used to being out of the house as much as possible. You can do this through frequent car trips to the vet or a groomer, or to longer visits to friends and family. The advantage this brings, of course, is that the cat gets used to its carrier and will be conditioned for travel. And when you have a move or a months-long trip up ahead, you know your pet is no longer a stranger to travel.
Here are some more tips to make going on a trip fun for you and your feline friend.
If you move often or like to stay in different cities for months at a time, then you should ready your cat for a life on the go as well. Planning ahead is knowing what the regulations are when it comes to traveling with a pet. This might entail having updated vaccinations or having a chip or a collar that complies with rules on bringing in kitties interstate. Of course this also applies if you are travelling internationally. If moving across borders you will need to find out months ahead of a move if there are other requirements like quarantining a pet. Remember too, if you plan to bring your kitty back to Australia there are stringent quarantine rules – even Pistol and Boo couldn’t escape Australia’s strict quarantine rules!
Train Your Cat
Cats are not normally as used to having a leash and a harness like dogs are. However, a traveling feline pet needs to be comfortable with this because when you take it out of the carrier outdoors you need to make sure they are secure and will not run away.
Getting your cat used to its carrier is also important. First, you need to choose one that fits your cat. Second, you will have to work on making your kitty comfortable inside it. Feline companions are not as trained or eager to be in a carrier so you should train your cat as soon as possible or you should give yourself a lot of time to practice. Let your cat freely explore the carrier by leaving it open on a sofa or a chair. Gradual training is perfect for slowly reducing your cat’s resistance or anxiety to traveling and to the carrier.
Make It Comfortable For Your Cat
Using a cat carrier is a must, and if it is the same one you use for shorter trips, then your kitty is already used to it somehow. You can make your feline friend less anxious by bringing their favorite toys in the carrier as well or by putting familiar things and scents from home. If you have more than one cat, you can put them together in a huge carrier so that they have company.
Traveling By Car
Keep It Safe
Always travel with a carrier in the car, keeping it in the backseat and securing it with a seat belt. Letting your cat loose inside the car while driving is a very bad idea, as you might get distracted or the kitty might run under the car out of fear or anxiety.
For a car ride, it is a good idea to install a big water bottle like in a hamster cage in the carrier. Your cat might not understand instantly but after a while, it will catch up and be much happier in the car.
Make the Ride Calm
An anxious cat is no fun to have in the car so it is important to keep your feline friend calm. This is not easy, but if needed, you can also get some mild kitty sedatives from your vet especially in the first few times. Moreover, you should avoid switching on the car radio because the noise can make your cat even more stressed.
Traveling By Plane
Choose the Right Airline
The best way to travel with your cat by plane is by bringing it with you into the cabin. Unfortunately this is not allowed on flights from or within Australia, but many overseas carriers do allow dogs and cats in the cabin. So make sure you choose an airline that allows that and make arrangements as early as possible. Make sure you comply with all the requirements of the airline, that your carrier is airline-approved and a health certificate from your vet will be very important as well.
Find out more about Australian Quarantine requirements here.
There are many organisations in Australia that will help you with the arrangements for moving your pet overseas, including quarantine arrangements (which can be in Australia or at your destination) and ensuring all the arrangements are in place and your cat’s move can be as stress-free as possible.
Be Ready For Emergencies
Bring extra towels for accidents in the carrier and plastic bags to be able to dispose of these soiled towels. Cleansing wipes are also a must so you can quickly clean up when needed.
Your kitty is not born loving travel, but that does not mean it cannot learn to tolerate it. The key is to training your cat very early on and making the trip as comfortable as possible. This way, you can always have your feline companion with you wherever you go.
This article has been kindly provided by Jenny Spiers, a mum of 3 and a true animal lover with 3 dogs, 2 cats and a parrot called Charlie. Heading up the content for MyPetNeedsThat.com amongst a busy family schedule, her goal is to try help people all around the world become responsible pet owners.