How to travel with a cat?
Cats attach easily to familiar places where they spend most time in. That is why they might not feel very confident when travelling. Whether it is your car or a transport company vehicle they are travelling in, cats may need special equipment and some training beforehand.
There are three important phases of cats travel to plan carefully: Before, During and After a trip. The article is structured accordingly, to give you tips on every stage of your cat journey. In the next paragraph I will provide you with some extra information on the EU regulations you need to be aware of when transporting a cat within the EU.
BEFORE: Familiarity is a key
Our feline friends feel safe and comfortable when they already know every angle of a room, especially when in one of them there is its favourite carton box waiting for them to slide into (or maybe not the favourite one – they all are so tempting!).
This is what our cat expert Vanessa Morgan from travelingcats.com emphasized when asked for advice:
Let’s try to sum it up in a few bullet points:
- To get your cat accustomed to the car environment, motion and smell take it for a few quick rides (around 30 min). The earlier you start the better! The most sensitive and the best time for kittens to get used to new things is in their first 6-7 weeks. Don’t worry if your cat is older – better later than never 🙂
- For the trial rides remember to use a cage you plan to use in the future – you can put inside your cat’s favourite blanket and toys to make the experience more pleasent.
- Leave the travel cage for your cat to explore it the night before the ride
- If you know your kitty is sensitive and experienced nausea in the past you can consider going to vet to discuss possible medical options like meds to help your cat manage anxiety or motion sickness
- Before the actual ride remember to feed your cat a few hours before the ride and provide access to the litter.
- Trial rides are great for recognizing any obstacles that may arise in the future. Just spot it and prevent it!
DURING A TRIP: Safety and Comfort
We asked Vanessa about things to care about when our feline friend is already in a car:
Here are other aspects to take care of:
- When at home, place your cat in a travel cage/carrier with a blanket inside so the cat does not feel the transition betweet “familiar environment” and “I-dont-want-to-be-here environment” 🙂
- You can cover the cage with a blanket so the kitty stays calm, instead of nervously looking at what’s going on outside.
- If your cat tends to escape the cage you can leave the harness on. Whenever your cat decides that staying in one place is simply too boring, you can grab it a lot easier.
- Stops are super important – give your cat time to strech and walk a bit, especially when its a long ride.
It’s crucial to get this part right. With a too small or too big, poorly ventilated cage our plan to make the travel experience easy is doomed to failure from the start. Take some time to choose the cage that suits your cat needs best.
- Favourite blanket and toys inside
- If it’s big, consider getting another smaller carrier inside – cats feel safer in a smaller space
- On winter, place an additional blanket or a pad inside
- Do not leave it loose, strap it with a seat belt so it doesn’t move in case of sudden shakes
AFTER: Good Memories
When you arrive at your destination , do not forget to reward your cat with some delicious treats or play in his favourite cat game. Whether your final destination is a hotel or your grandparents’ flat or vet’s office try to make this experience as happy as possible to preserve good memories (yes, the latter might be the most difficult to achieve). Remember that your cat will make an association between the ride and what comes afterwards.
According to the EU regulation (Click here to read the full document):
- Your cat must have a microchip inserted (some countries accept a tattoo). Microchip must be compatible with standards ISO 11784 in order to determine the name and address of the owner of the pet, using the reader ISO 11785 compliant. Since 2012 animals are marked by the implantation of a transponder, which is an identifying device that uses Radio Frequency Identification technology.
- Your cat must be vaccinated against rabies.
The vaccination is valid after 21 days, counting from the day when the primary vaccination was given to the cat which is 3 months old (or above). Subsequent vaccinations, performed regularly, every year become valid on the same day when the vaccination is done. It is important to know that the date of administration of the vaccine cannot precede the date of inserting a microchip.
- Your cat animal must have a passport with the details of the authorised vaccination against rabies, issues by an official veterinarian.
Having a pet passport updated is crucial when travelling because all the treatments and tests your cat had are supposed to be listed there. Check if your vet issues pet passports, and if not, ask for the nearest who does.According to one of the transport providers, there might be some unnecessary complications when crossing the EU boarder through Eurotunnel. During the microchip check – if problems occur – transport provider is obliged to leave a cat until one returns to its home country. Therefore it might be best to make sure that we possess all the necessary documents before the procedure begins!
Pet transport companies: cost & examples
The decision is up to you – for sure you will be fine when transporting your cat yourself. Though if you prefer to get it done by professionals, here is the average price for such service and exemplary transport auctions:
The average cost of pet taransport within the EU territory (eg. UK – Poland) vary between 80 -210 GBP.
Below you can find a handy list of exemplary transport auctions realised with Clicktrans:
Cat transport from Oxford to Swindon
Cat transport from London to Warsaw
Cat transport from Katowice to London
Feeling more confident? So, what’s your travel plan?
Any cat lovers here? Vanessa from @TravellingCats shared with us valuable tips&tricks for safe cat travels 🙂 https://t.co/7G3QIu0ymq pic.twitter.com/rTjJasMVL4
— Clicktrans (@Clicktrans_com) October 7, 2016
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