On the road again: Traveling with cats
By Ann Gillett, Rockledge, FL
Traveling with cats may seem unconventional, but for those of us with feline companions, it’s a journey filled with love and occasional challenges. This article shares insights and tips based on years of experience, offering guidance for fellow cat enthusiasts.
The early days: Beagle and cat companions
When our journey began, my husband and I faced the challenge of transporting a beagle and a cat from Virginia to West Virginia. Surprisingly, placing them in the covered bed of our truck proved to be a harmonious solution. Since then, we’ve continuously had cats, bringing both joy and heartache, especially when they cross over the Rainbow Bridge.
Leash training and traveling etiquette
Our feline friends are essential members of our family, prompting us to keep them restrained on leashes during outdoor excursions and car travels. Early training instills contentment within restricted areas and encourages leash walking. The sight of us walking our cat(s) often raises eyebrows, but we’ve embraced this unconventional practice.
Pet-friendly adventures: Overcoming challenges
Embarking on vacations to timeshares and various accommodations, we’ve encountered challenges in finding pet-friendly lodgings that welcome cats. Despite the increasing acknowledgment of travelers desiring to bring their pets, some establishments still discriminate against feline companions. Our persistence has led us to pet-friendly rooms, typically on the first floor for dog owners’ convenience.
Travel essentials and responsibility
Preparedness is key when traveling with cats. We always carry a litter box, food, water bowls, a scratching post, and familiar toys. A large sheet under the litter box ensures a clean departure, despite paying pet fees. Occasionally, room changes become necessary due to lingering odors or damages from previous pet occupants.
Feline behavior on the road
Our cats exhibit unique behavior patterns during travel, such as coming to the front seat periodically or standing at the window when near familiar destinations. Nicky, in particular, has been a seasoned traveler since the age of three months, finding comfort in his carrier during the entire journey.
Memorable moments: beaches and Bass Pro Shops
Not all destinations suit every cat’s taste. Nicky’s dislike for the beach in Ocean City, Maryland, and his amusing encounters at the Bass Pro Shop in Springfield, MO, highlight the individuality of feline preferences. Nevertheless, Nicky thrived at Vacation Village in Williamsburg, VA, relishing the opportunity to explore a backyard on a leash.
Responsibilities and cat-proofing
Traveling with a cat adds responsibilities, including monitoring outside temperatures and taking precautions at rest stops. Having a large enough vehicle to accommodate a litter box is advisable, and keeping a collar with a name tag and leash ensures control during travel and when exiting the vehicle.
A Journey for us
In the end, it’s clear that our cats, though perhaps preferring the comforts of home, embark on these journeys “for us.” As we share our experiences with Nicky, it’s worth noting that these travel adventures have been consistent across all the feline companions who have been part of our family throughout the years.