All pet owners need to transport their furry children – to another location; to the vet or to another living space. Using a good quality cat carrier is the best way.
It is never a good idea to transport unrestrained pets in a car, especially cats. They move around a lot and can be a problem if they become stressed and uncomfortable. A loose pet becomes a furry projectile in case of an accident.
Whether it’s a short ride to the vet or driving across the country, driving with a cat is not often a pleasant experience with constant meowing that’s distracting.
I believe it is legal for a cat to ride in a car without a carrier as long as the cat is properly restrained and is not a hazard to the driver.
What you cannot do is to have a cat roaming around freely in the car such that your cat can go on the dashboard or in your lap or possibly where the foot pedals are.
Arrive Alive offers a hand guide to Road Safety and Traveling with Pets
How to Put your Cat in a Carrier
WikiHow has a twelve-step plan when the carrier is not your cat’s favourite mode of transport. Some cats scream and claw and bit – in fact do anything they can to prevent being placed in a carrier. (This advice may be a bit late for adult cats, but get your kittens and young cats used to the carrier. Don’t only use it for the vet).
Turn the cat carrier into a place of play, of safety and of comfort for your cat and then the transport issue won’t be so traumatic.
Choosing a Cat Carrier
We know that a cat that is otherwise perfectly agreeable can turn into an angry, hissing mass of claws and teeth in about two seconds flat when presented with a carrier. Using a good solid cat carrier is the safest way, with the lowest risk that your feline friend will escape and get lost.
You should get a carrier that is made for the purpose of transporting pets. Using a laundry basket or a box isn’t a safe way to move your cat from place to place; she probably won’t feel secure, and she could easily get lost or get in your way while you’re driving. (All four our stores carry a range of cat carriers).
Carriers should be large enough for cats to stand up and turn around in and should not smell like other cats. The carriers should also be good quality so that the cat will feel safe and comfortable.
Bringing a New Cat Carrier Home
In order to ensure calm loading and transporting of Mister or Mrs Fluffy in the carrier, it’s important that your cat feels comfortable and secure around and in it. Leave the carrier, with the door open, in a common living space that you and your cat use together.
It is easier to change cats’ negative feelings about carriers if the carriers become an integral part of their world.
Alternatively, you could place the carrier in one of your cat’s favourite places. Make it welcoming with the cat’s blanket of favourite toy inside and don’t fuss too much over the cat and the carrier- they will soon get used to each other.
Some experts recommend encouraging your cat to play around the carrier by dragging the object at the end of a pole toy around and on top of the carrier. Cats caught up in fervour of play will often chase their favourite toys and ping-pong balls into the carrier.
Preparing for a Trip in the Car
Most pet owners can attest that cats, unlike dogs, just don’t seem to enjoy the car ride experience.
If it is a short trip, under 6 hours, your cat will be just fine staying in the carrier the entire time. If it is a longer trip, especially if it is over a several day period, you may want to let your cat out of the carrier periodically to get a drink of water and use the litter box.
But the main issue is to get your cat used to the carrier – so buy a quality cat carrier and keep your furry friends safe and comfortable when transporting them.