As a minimalist, I can pretty much give up anything if needed. My space, gone. My living room set I just bought, goodbye. My library, gone again. Okay, the library one hurt a little bit, however, my point is I’m willing to give up just about anything. Anything but my family. And I consider our cats part of the family. I love them to the moon and back. They’re my babies. It breaks my heart every time I hear of another traveling family giving up their kitty thinking a life of travel isn’t possible with cats. And this is not true. Traveling with cats isn’t as hard as you may think. In fact, if you prepare both you and your cat and plan accordingly, it can be whether easy. I’ve put together this guide to help you realize just how easy it is to travel with your kitty.
“Time Spent With A Cat Is Never Wasted!”
Prepare for travel: Most cats prefer to have their paws on the solid ground. The idea of zipping down an expressway, at 70 mph doesn’t sound thrilling to them. Toss in honking horns, the sound of wind and the radio, chances are your kitty is going to be stressed. That is why it’s important to slowly introduce them to this lifestyle.
The Car: Secure your kitty into their pet carrier and place them and yourself inside the car. Chances are they’re going to meow like crazy and shed a ton of fur. At least ours did. Once they’re calm, give them a treat and take them back inside. Repeat this process daily gradually increasing the time. Once you notice them getting used to the car, its time to move to the next step.
Noise: Now that your cat is familiar with the car, it’s time to get them used to the noises a car makes, like a car engine, and radio. This step is a repeat of getting them familiar with the car. All you need to do is start the engine during their time already, in the car. Then the radio. Once they’re comfortable, reward them with their treats and move onto the next step.
Movement: This is the big step! Because as I said before, cats prefer their feet on solid ground. I’d suggest starting with a shorter distance, like around the block. Increasing, the distance over time. Also, don’t forget to give them their treat after each trip.
Now that your kitty is used to the car it’s time to get them used to one more thing. The leash.
I guess leash training your cat isn’t a must in order to travel, but think about the looks you’ll get when people see you walking him. Trust me you’ll get looks. We got plenty while waking our kitty in Orlando. Plus kitties love to sniff out and see new things, and leash training is very possible. So why not let them have some adventure too?
How to leash train your cat.
Introduction: Remember all the treats you gave your kitty while getting them used to the car. We’re going to be doing this again while getting them ready for their walk. The first step to this is placing their collar or harness next to their food dish and let them sniff it out.
Put it on: Place the collar/harness on your cat and see how they react. If they start freaking out, simply take it off, and reward them with a treat. Keep repeating this step until they are used to the collar/harness. Remember patience is the key in this step. It’s normal for your cat to refuse to walk or do the crouch crawl until they are used to their collar.
Leash Time: Now that they’re used to their collar, its time to attach the leash. The key to this is once again, food. Place a treat or can of food a few feet away from your cat. Now, walk them to that treat, while on the leash. Keep repeating this process, placing the treat further away each time. And when they are ready, take them on their first adventure, outdoors.
When taking your cat for a walk don’t let them walk you. I simply hold the leash firm and wait for them to backtrack when they try to go off course. This may take some time to let the cat realize they can’t go wherever they please. They will learn through.
Once your kitty has gotten used to both the car and leash he is ready to go on some outdoor adventures. Let’s get him some gear.
Collar: When we were leash training our cat we tried and tried getting them used to a harness. We tried all different styles of harnesses. I even coached one, thinking it wouldn’t be as stiff. She simply refused to wear a harness. We failed miserably. After spending too much money, on the different harnesses, we resulted in a basic collar, that works great.
Litter box: Unless you plan to toilet train your cat, you’re going to need a litter box. While living in our RV, we went through several before making a homemade one out of a storage tub. It looked something like the one below. This box was perfect for keeping the litter inside the box while driving down the road. Now that we’re using Airbnb for our travels we had to downsize to the smallest box possible
Pet Carrier: When we were RVing with our cats we had a basic, hard-sided pet carrier. It was very similar to this one. It worked, however, it took up too much space when we weren’t traveling. Now that we’ve downsized even more we had to get something smaller that served more than one purpose. We’ve used this cat backpack for about a month now and love it. It works great for both traveling and hiking.
Some other things to note.
– Don’t let your cat roam freely at the different RV parks and neighborhoods your visiting. It’s not safe, plus it drives other people crazy when your cat is disturbing theirs, peeing and clawing up their things, and meowing at their door because they smell another cat inside. Keep them with you or in the RV at all times.
So there you have it, You are now ready to take your kitty on some adventure. Happy travels.
Do you travel with your cats? If so let us in our your tips and tricks in the comments below.