5 Tips for Driving with Cats
Cats are lovely pets to have at home. They’re warm, cuddly, and they provide us with affection especially when we need it the most.
At one point or another, a time will come when we need to transport our cats to and from another location using some form of transportation. Maybe we need to take them to the vet for their health checkups and treatments. Quite common for many Malaysian ‘cat parents’ is also having to transport them over long distances when moving to another town or state or simply when it’s time to balik kampung and there’s no one to take care of the cats on their behalf.
Travelling in such a way can be quite stressful and scary for cats who find themselves suddenly taken out of their comfort zones. The noises and vibrations that come with riding in a car can overload their senses, which is why responsible cat owners need to be mindful of their pet’s wellbeing.
Here are some tips to make the journey just a little bit easier on those beloved cats.
Identification and Tracking
First and foremost, ensure that the cats are carrying some form of identification. This is crucial in the event that the cat gets spooked and runs off or if an unfortunate car accident takes place and the cat goes missing.
Much like how we carry our Identity Cards with us at all times, cats should also be wearing something like a collar with your contact details, for instance. Some pet owners go as far as microchipping their cats, which means asking a veterinarian to implant a tiny device under the cat’s skin so that other vets with scanners can scan them and obtain your contact details if they find your lost cat. Or, if you’d like a less invasive and potentially more effective way of tracking your cats there are GPS tracking cat collars available on the market as well.
Adequate breaks and supplies
Depending on the length of the car ride, be it just a few minutes to the neighbourhood vet or for hours to reach the other end of the country, be sure to carry the appropriate amount of supplies. Cat food, drinking water, snacks/treats, something comfortable for the cat to lay on; all of this matters in keeping them comfortable throughout the duration of the ride. A litter box may also be necessary for the cat to use every few hours, so be sure to take breaks throughout a long trip!
Keep in carrier
This is one tip that some cat owners may take for granted. Regardless of how long the car ride is, be sure to keep your cat in a proper animal carrier. Some cat owners tend to let the cat run around the car or even sit on their lap throughout the trip which can be quite risky.
Doing this could be quite dangerous, not only for the cat but for the driver as well. Remember: cats are not able to fully understand what is going on around them when they ride in a car. They could sometimes start to panic when they see things or hear loud noises, or they could get a little hyper and run around the inside of the car looking out all of the windows. This is dangerous for the driver because it’s distracting them from keeping their eyes on the road.
This is why using a proper animal carrier is a good idea. The animal will feel safer because they have a place to ‘hide’ during the trip, and the driver can focus on driving because they know that their cat is secure.
Secure the carrier
Once you have a carrier to transport your cat with, be sure to secure the carrier itself! There are quite a few ways to do this, the easiest would be to place the carrier on the floor so it doesn’t fall if you make a sharp turn or press on the breaks a little too hard. Alternatively, you could also place it on one of the passenger seats and secure a seat belt around the carrier. Needless to say, drivers should never put their pet carrier inside the boot of the car because it lacks oxygen and can sometimes get quite hot inside there for any living being.
Never leave them unattended
Last but not least, never leave the cat unattended in the car. On longer journeys when the car’s occupants take a break at a rest stop along the highway for example, it’s easy to forget that there’s a living creature in the car. This is dangerous because a parked car under the hot Malaysian sun can heat up very quickly and create an unhealthy environment for the cat inside the car, potentially causing harm to it.
For many people, a cat or even a dog is considered more than just an animal, they’re considered to be a proper member of the family. With this in mind, it is more than worth it to take the necessary precautions to keep them safe and comfortable at all times, especially when driving them in your car!