Stress and anxiety can be a familiar experience for many cats when travelling. Most cats will associate travelling in their cat carrier with a visit to the vets or a stay in the cattery, which can lead to anxiety during travel. Seeing your pet stressed can cause extra worry for a pet owner.
No owner likes to see their cat distressed and there are signs to look out for if your cat is feeling anxious, which include:
- Excessive vocalisation
- Aggression and scratching
- Excessive grooming
To ensure the journey runs smoothly and to help with your pet’s anxiety, here are some positive things that you can do to help reduce stress for your cat whilst travelling:
Use a cat carrier
Picking a suitable cat carrier is key. Make sure you get one that is secure and big enough for your cat, so that they feel comfortable. As they could be in the carrier for a while ensure it’s strong and easy to clean, in case they have any accidents.
Secure your cat in the car
Don’t be tempted to let your cat roam free in the car, as this could be a distraction whilst driving. They could also easily escape if a window or door is opened. Secure the cat carrier in the car using the seatbelts, if the carrier is moving around it might cause further stress to your cat.
Microchip your cat
In case your cat does escape, make sure they are microchipped or have clear identification.
To get your cat used to their carrier before the journey, you could leave it out in the house and use treats to encourage them into it. Soft bedding and catnip might be good incentives to encourage them into the carrier. You could leave it out a few days or even a few weeks before your journey.
Leave plenty of time before your journey
Put your cat in their carrier in plenty of time before the trip. If you try to get them in at last minute, this might cause extra stress.
Get your cat used to the car
You could introduce your cat to car travel gradually. Take short journeys first and gradually build up the length of the journey. Always follow the trip with treats and rewards so that they associate car trips with good things. If you start getting them used to the car as a kitten, this could help for journeys later in life.
Use a blanket
Cover the carrier with a blanket, as this might help give it a den-like feel. You could place a familiar item of your clothing in the carrier to help reassure your cat.
No food before travel
Try not to feed your cat an hour or two prior to the journey to prevent any travel sickness or any other accidents.
Consider using nutracalm, which has a unique formula specifically developed to naturally help to reduce stress and anxiety for cats and dogs.
If you are worried about your cat and the impact of a journey, consult your vet who will be able to advise the best solution and advice for your pet’s needs. Ask your vet for more information on additional ways to help your pet and how nutracalm can help.