Tuesday, 30 July 2013

How To Travel Across the Country With a Cat

I've made it back to Ontario safe and sound! After a long 40 hour drive across Canada, with zero leg room, I'm back in Ontario. I wish I took some pictures to share with you the beautiful country of mine, but we didn't make many scenic stops. One of the obstacles we had to endure during out roadtrip was travelling with a cat. If you're a cat owner, you know how difficult it is to travel with a cat. Unlike dogs, cats don't spend their afternoons poking their head out of car windows. Cats don't like change, and being put into a car is something unknown to most of them. We discussed how we were going to travel with Duke, and most of our decisions were made during the trip. Here are some tips if you will be traveling with a cat.

Duke is lying comfortably on Mommy.

1. A (big) pet cage
I hated the thought of having Duke in a cage for forty hours, but in order to travel as safely as possible, it needed to be done. We purchased a medium-sized dog cage for Duke. Small cat cages would of given him no room at all, the dog cage was a little bigger, provided more air (especially in a packed car), enabled him to relax comfortably and had enough room for food (and later a litter box). When we would stop, we would let him out of the car for twenty minutes to stretch his legs. We felt bad having him in a cage for so long we attempted to let him out while we drove, but cats are curious animals and wanted to explore the whole car and jump on the driver's lap (not safe). As sad as it is to see your little guy stuck in a cage for a long period of time, it would be worse to have an accident because your little guy was jumping around everywhere. A pet cage is extremely necessary. 

2. A good music playlist 
Summer, what does music have to do with a cat? Well, it has to do with your sanity. Unlike dogs, cats aren't used to sticking their head out of the car window on sunny afternoons. Cats don't like change, and therefore are scaredy cats when it comes to driving. They will meow, this is inevitable. But the good news is, they won't meow forever. The first hour they will meow, and they will cry, and you will try and give them attention, and give them lots of treats, but it won't work. They are scared, because they are not used to driving in cars. After an hour or two, they will get used to the car motion and they will quiet down and relax. But for the first hour, you are going to need a good music playlist to try and drown out the sound of the meowing. 

3. A litterbox (in the cage if possible)
Referencing back to the first tip, we got a bigger cage for Duke so he could move around, but he pooped everywhere in the cage. By the time we found a safe spot to pull over and clean his cage out, he got it all in his fur. After this disturbing incident we decided to put the litter box in his cage. This makes it much easier to clean out. We cleaned it out as soon as he went to the bathroom so he wouldn't be sitting in his own filth. It saves you, and the cat a lot of time cleaning up. Trained cats are also hesitant to go to the bathroom without their litter box, we realized this is a big reason Duke was meowing so much because he had to go to the bathroom and he didn't know where to go. Just make sure to clean it out asap! 

4. Treats!
Give your cat treats. Especially if they have been a good boy/girl. They aren't used to driving in cars, or being enclosed in such small spaces. They deserve one!

5. Give them love
Let them out of their cage once in a while, lots of kisses and petting. Duke calmed down a lot after the first time we let him out, he realized we didn't hate him and this wasn't punishment. He was such a good kitty on the trip!

6. They need exercise
Again, they are not used to be enclosed in such small spaces. And even though cats aren't as active as dogs, they need to stretch and walk around just as much. Being in a cage for as long as they may be isn't fun. 

Overall, we thought Duke would be meowing the entire way, and we would need to invest in top of the line ear plugs. He was actually the most amazing kitty. Of course during the first hour we thought that's what the rest of the trip would be like, but it was the complete opposite! Sometimes we were like "Duke, Duke, why are you not meowing, are you okay?" and we would stop to make sure he was alive because he was so silent, but he was just relaxing and being a "bro" as Paul would say. 

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