How many times have you seen cats hanging out with their owners in public places? Not very often, right? Well, there must be a reason why (or a million). Cats love their own territory, so getting them to travel with you can be harder than filming “Mission Impossible.” But some cats are extremely curious and outgoing, and they love exploring with their humans. Just keep in mind there are certain things to be done before you take your best friend with you on vacation. Let’s dive right in.
If you’ve never traveled with your cat before, ask yourself “Do I really wanna do this?” Cats are territorial and like their routine, so it might be best to just leave them home with a family member, a friend, or a good neighbour. Your call. You know what’s best for your own pet. But if you really can’t live a few days without your furry baby, then get ready for work before you pack your cat and go. Here are some very important tips directly from our Cat-Editor in Chief, BUBU THE CAT
First of all, consult your vet about whether you should take your cat with you or not. Also discuss your trip in detail, like how many hours until you reach the destination, how long the whole trip will be, if it’s by air or by car, how the weather is where you’re going…Don’t neglect any detail. Everything matters, especially if you’ve never traveled with your cat before. (And even if you guys did travel together before and you know your furry pal loves it, you should still keep reading. This is for you too. Maybe you’ll learn something new.) So if the vet says it’s ok to take your pal away with you, then make sure you have all medical records and vaccinations requested by your destination, while also keeping in mind the method of transportation. Most airlines usually require a health certificate issued within 10 days before the departure. If your cat doesn’t have health insurance now it’s the best time to insure him. If you travel abroad, your cat most likely needs a valid pet passport, needs to be vaccinated against rabies, has a microchip, and possibly even more, depending on your destination. Do a thorough research!
If you plan to travel by air, I would highly recommend you do a lot of research on your own and see what airline carrier might work best for you. Also, it’s better to call before you book your flight. You need to be 1000000% sure they accept pets, and you have to let them know in advance that you are flying with a cat. Also specify you want to have your cat next to you, not in cargo. DO NOT HAVE YOUR CAT IN THE CARGO AREA!!! Ask them what kind of carrier you need, the size limit, medical requirements, fees, ask them everything you need to do in order to get your cat safely and quickly through the check-in lines. I can’t stress enough how important it is that you do your homework and know everything you need to do, so you can get through this phase as quickly as possible. This is the most stressful part for your cat if you travel by air, so do it right.
If you travel by car, it’s easier, but longer. If you choose to travel this way, then the size of your carrier doesn’t matter, therefore choose a larger carrier, big enough for your kitty to be able to move around and stretch. It might help if you let the carrier around your house a few days before the trip, so your kitty can explore it and get used to it. (In our case that doesn’t work because Bubu hates any carrier no matter what. Even though he loves to travel, the first part of the trip is a nightmare, especially the moment I have to get him inside the carrier). But it might work for you.
When you book your accommodations, make sure they are CAT-FRIENDLY! Not just pet-friendly, but CAT-FRIENDLY! Believe it or not, most of the pet-friendly hotels accept only dogs. I still can’t wrap my head around that, but no matter how much I explain to them that Bubu is a cat, so a pet, so why not bring him to their pet-friendly hotel, their answer is still something like: “Sorry, we are pet-friendly, but we only accept dogs!” As dumb as that sounds, we just have to accept, move on, and look for CAT-FRIENDLY hotels. I promise I’ll soon make a list of cat-friendly hotels for you guys to try when travel restrictions are over. Btw, when you book your accommodation, check also if there are any emergency vet locations in the area.
So remember: First do a thorough research on:
if it’s ok to take your cat away with you
check with your vet as well, and have all the medical records and vaccinations
check with the airline carrier
cat-friendly accomodations only!
Also, remember to get a harness, if you want your furry baby to join you on a hike. (Preferably, buy the harness at least a week before the trip, so you have time to practice and he can hopefully get used to it). You might wanna check out this article if you need help choosing the right harness.
Now that you’ve done all that, and you are just a few days away from your trip, it’s time to pack. What to pack for your little pal though?
food. I would recommend getting food for the entire trip, especially if your cat eats a specific food type, or a certain brand. Don’t count on what you might find in the local stores
its own bowl for water
couple of small, easy to carry toys, to remind him of home
a blanket. I would throw the blanket in the carrier, so your kitty feels warm and cozy while traveling.
Try to follow the same routine in the days prior to the trip. A day before your trip, pamper your baby a little more than usual. The day of the trip, act totally normal. And make sure you feed your cat about 3- 4 hours before the departure, that way the food has time to settle so your cat won’t get any discomfort.
And now enjoy your trip!