Traveling and the Outdoors with your Cat

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When planning a trip, cat owners have to choose between leaving their pets at home or bringing the feline members of the family along. Traveling with pets can get a little complicated, but with preparation it can be an enjoyable experience for all involved.

"Sometimes when a cat becomes anxious she will stop eating and drinking and may develop diarrhea."

Motion Sickness and Anxiety

Travel is exciting, but for pets it can also be anxiety-inducing. If you have never traveled with your cat before, be prepared to deal with the issues that commonly arise. Motion sickness can be a problem for cats whether they travel by car, airplane, boat or train. Several over-the-counter motion sickness remedies are available. Consider taking a trial run or two on winding roads to see if these products keep your pet sufficiently comfortable. If not, your veterinarian can prescribe a stronger medication. If your pet gets nervous in the car or in new situations, having a product with you that helps relieve anxiety can also be a real vacation saver.

Sometimes when a cat becomes anxious she will stop eating and drinking and may develop diarrhea. Bring along your pet's regular food and treats from home so that she does not have to deal with a diet change on top of everything else. Nutritional supplements are a safe way to treat mild cases of diarrhea. Include a few doses in a first aid kit that you pack along with you. If your pet has a history of stress-induced diarrhea, your veterinarian may be willing prescribe some anti-diarrheal medications before you leave.

Restraint and Identification

Use a crate when traveling with your cat to keep her safe, comfortable and away from the driver when the car is moving. Make sure she wears a well-fitted harness and keep her on a leash if you are going to walk her outside. If your cat is not used to being leash walked, practice at home or plan to use her crate to carry her from place to place. If you can safely do so, let your cat out of her crate every few hours to stretch her legs and use the litter box.

Update your cat's identification tags and microchip information before leaving on a trip. If you will be traveling with a cell phone, include this number so that you can be contacted if your cat escapes while you are away from home.

Traveling To Different Climates

Even if fleas, ticks and heartworms are not big problems in your home town, you could very well be traveling to a location where they are. Remember, hotel rooms can harbor fleas year -round, and it takes just one bite from a heartworm-infected mosquito to transmit this potentially fatal disease to your cat. Talk to your veterinarian about starting a heartworm preventative if your cat is not already on one of these medications. Safe and effective flea and tick preventatives are readily available. Your vet can also help you pick the right one for your cat.

Cold temperatures pose the risk of hypothermia if you don't adequately protect your cat. Keep her indoors with you whenever possible. If she does have to be in an unheated environment when temperatures are low, insulate her crate by placing a thick layer of foam on the top, bottom and sides and put a lot of bedding inside for her to burrow into if necessary. Make sure that she also has adequate access to unfrozen water.

Heat can be just as dangerous as cold. Never leave your cat alone in the car. Opening the windows does not prevent heat from building up to dangerous levels inside the car even when outside temperatures are relatively mild. Make sure your cat has adequate access to clean water and shade to help her cool down during hot weather.

The above is provided for information purposes only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of any condition. This information does not cover all possible variables, conditions, reactions, or risks relating to any topic, medication, or product and should not be considered complete. Certain products or medications may have risks and you should always consult your local veterinarian concerning the treatment of your pet. Any trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

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