Top Tips for Road Tripping with your Cat

Many of us have not-so-fond memories of that time we took kitty to the vet – possibly a 20 minute car ride of meowing and distress. It would be easy to think that road tripping with your cat could be a nightmare. But with a bit of preparation it doesn’t have to be. The following guide will make sure that you and your kitty are ready for an amazing trip together full of fun and adventure!

Your vehicle, your castle

Your kitty needs a secure place to hang out when you’re driving. It’s not only for yours and your cats safety but it is also law in many places. Keep your cat safe when road tripping A cat carrier is perfect for RVs as well as cars. It also means you’re prepared if you need to take them to the vet or into boarding. Many RV travelers will put their carrier in a cupboard or under the sink in a position that even when parked, the cat can access it along with their food/water. It’s their own little chill out zone!

Make your vehicle and carrier a happy place.

Introduce kitty to their carrier. Put their favourite blanket inside and place it in a room they are familiar with. Now let them investigate and reward them with lots of pats. When they climb in it’s time to give them a treat! Continue this for as long as possible. If your vehicle is parked in a driveway, open the doors and see if you can entice them in with some treats. Give them as much time as possible to explore. If your kitty can’t safely get to your vehicle, use their carrier to get them inside so they can explore it. Remember, the idea is to associate the vehicle with good things, not the loud and scary thing they may already know it as. Another town, another adventure

Clicker training

By now your cat should be comfortable in their carrier and in your vehicle. What if I told you there was another way to increase their confidence? It’s now time to learn about clicker training. Clicker training is a great way to build a bond between you and your cat and increase their confidence. It involves using a clicking sound to communicate desirable behaviours to your cat. Read how to clicker train your cat here

Leash Training

Leash training with a harness is important so that you can keep kitty secure in places where it’s not safe for them to roam. Getting your cat to wear a harness is easy if you follow these steps. Introduce the harness in a familiar environment. Place it on the floor and let kitty sniff and investigate it, and of course, make it a positive experience by giving them a treat and encouragement. Road tripping along the coast with Willow Right before meal time, put the harness on. Let them eat with it on, then take if off as soon as they are finished. Repeat this for a week or until you can see that they are comfortable wearing it. Now it’s time to attach the leash. If you have completed the target training with your clicker, use the target to walk them across the room, then give them a treat. Soon they will follow you wherever expecting that treat! Remember: Never drag your cat! Not only could it hurt them, it will break the trust they have in you.

Get out on the highway

Okay maybe not just yet! Let’s take kitty around the block a few times and see how they go. Return home in time for a treat and some pats. If all went well it’s now time for a longer trip.

I can see my van from here

Plan your destination

Find a place to visit which isn’t too far away. A quiet park or reserve is ideal. Somewhere that’s away from noisy roads and crowds. Remember to check that the location is pet friendly.

Stop for Breaks

If you’ve got a longer drive ahead of you stop every 30 minutes to check on kitty. Make sure they are content and not stressed. Give them a treat and some cuddles. Exploring with your kitty

Know your cats business

It’s really important that your cat isn’t put in a position where they have to ‘hold on’. This can have a serious effect on your cats kidney health and must be avoided at all costs. Make sure they have had toilet time before you leave. Remember the ‘leave no trace‘ principal. Ensure you clean up all waste as you would for a dog. Feline fecal matter is highly dangerous to native wildlife and agriculture due to the transmission of toxoplasmosis and Sarcocystis. Take a litter tray with you. If you have somewhere in your vehicle where you can set one up, even better. Tip: For a travel tray, use a shallow plastic container with a lid. Your vehicle should be your cats safe place when road tripping

Hydration is key

Make sure kitty has access to their water bowl. A great idea is to cut a circular whole in a small plastic container and place in their carrier. This will stop any splash as the car is moving. It’s unlikely that they will feel comfortable drinking whilst the car is moving so make sure you have those breaks. Splash proof water bowl for road tripping cats

Time for an adventure!

You’ve arrived at your destination and now it’s time to explore!

Take things slow

Open up their carrier, then put their harness and leash on. Let kitty take their own time getting out. Give them as much time as they need to get used to their surroundings. Keep the doors open so kitty can return to their ‘safe place’ if they get scared. Tracking collars keep your cat safe when traveling

Get a Tracking Collar

Whether you choose to let your cat off-leash or not depends on many things. Is the area safe for cats? Are there dangerous animals or plants? I certainly don’t recommend it on your first few adventures. In fact, many adventure cats always stay on leash. It’s just the safest option. Either way, it’s important to consider that if they do wander off, a tracking collar can ensure that you find them again quickly. Read about tracking collars for cats PROMO CODE: If you buy a TabCat at remember to use code VANCAT5 to get 5% off. Tip: Never let your kitty roam unsupervised. Using a tracking collar is no substitute for actively supervising your cat outdoors. Please consider your cat’s safety and the environment/wildlife before you let your cat off leash. Road tripping cats should wear a tracking collar

Most importantly..

Now I’m only going to say this once, so here goes.. Have fun! Enjoy your time with your best friend outdoors. Watch their curiosity as they explore a new place. And most of all, be patient with them.

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Have you gone on an adventure with your cat? Let us know how it went in the comments below.
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