From King of the Jungle to King of the Road

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Despite your desire to be with your cat, it really is best to leave him at home when you travel. Traveling can cause stress and other problems for your cat as you remove him from his familiar kingdom. Still, most cats will usually adapt to traveling if they are introduced to it as kittens. Even a cat who is an unwilling travel companion can enjoy the trip a bit more if you take some simple steps.



Get a secure cat carrier. Make sure it is strong, with good ventilation, and leaves enough room for your cat to stand up, turn around, and lie down comfortably. Introduce your cat to the carrier before the trip, so he can become comfortable with it. Leave the cat carrier open in an accessible area in your home and the curious cat will be lured into exploring. You can encourage exploration by tossing a few treats into the carrier. In no time your cat may be comfortably napping in it.



Start small and plan ahead. Try taking your cat on regular, short car trips to familiarize him with the car and the travel carrier. Repeating this process, increasing the length of the trips. Try an overnight or weekend outing with your cat before you plan a faraway trip. And make sure you research the hotels and sites you want to go to on vacation, to make sure that pets are accepted.



Never allow your cat to roam around the car out of the carrier — this is dangerous for you and for the cat. Never put your cat in the trunk of the car, and do not leave your cat unattended in the car at all. He can quickly be overcome with exhaustion and heatstroke in hot weather (even if the outdoor temperature is fairly moderate), and in cold weather he can catch a chill.



Pack water from home and bring your cat’s regular food to avoid stomach upsets. Bring your cat’s food with you at all times so you can feed him at his regular time. Keep fresh water available at all times. Bring along his litter box, food and water, grooming tools and favorite toys.



Verify that your cat’s ID tags are current. Your cat should wear a collar at all times with tags showing your name, address, phone number and a place you can be reached while you are on your trip.



To be prepared if your cat does become separated from you, bring a recent photograph and written description of your cat including name, breed, sex, age and any other pertinent information. This will help ensure your cat’s quick and safe return.

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