#Caturday, May 30, 2015: Driving Miss Fluffy: Cats in Cars

by 1389 on May 30, 2015

in 1389 (blog admin), cars, trucks, and roads, Caturday

Car Talk has the story:

Car Talk is pleased to present two actual experts, who know what they’re talking about…for a change. Dr. Sip Siperstein and trainer Melissa McCue-McGrath will take your questions on all things animal and automotive. Got a question for them? Great! Share it with Sip and Melissa. Looking for other answers? Check Car Talk’s FIDO Zone.

Dear Car Talk Pet Gurus:

I have to move across the country. This is great because I’m getting my dream job. This is bad because I have a cat who hates traveling. Are there things I can do to help her be more comfortable on our 2,117 mile journey? (Yes, I’m counting each miserable mile for this poor cat! HELP!)
–Julie in Concord, NH

Dr. Sip: Many cats hate car travel, and for good reason! Unlike most dogs, who just love going on car rides, cats only travel when they’re either going to the vet, the groomer or when a family moves, which can all be pretty traumatic. If you were an adult human who had NEVER been in the car before, and we tossed you in a car, wouldn’t you look like a freaked-out-cat?

Road trips make me cat-ankerous!
Road trips make me cat-ankerous!

Melissa: Yup, your eyes would be super-wide, mouth agape, and thinking “holy *#^! I’m flying in a coffin on wheels….I’m going to die.” Then, when the cat gets to the vet, they are stabbed and handled by strangers. Every time they go to the crate, it ends up being quite traumatizing. Being proactive and acclimating cats to travel in the same way that we do to dogs can help significantly.

Dr. Sip: Hey! I take issue with your use of the word “stabbed.”  I am a most gentle vet.  On the other hand, it’s not unusual for me to get stabbed by my patients (meaning your cat’s claws), but once again, I digress.

Melissa:   True — you are bringing a single needle to a 20-Claw Cat Fight….

[Cats normally have 18 claws, five on each front paw and four on each hind paw.]

Dr. Sip: Point is, traveling with a cat can be so much easier than cat owners often make it. It just takes a little work in advance.

Melissa: In the words of pet trainers, veterinarians, high school health instructors and Boy Scout leaders everywhere: Be Prepared.

Dr. Sip:  Right. The first step would be to get your cat used to the carrier that you’ll be using. The ASPCA has a great tutorial on getting cats acclimated to the carrier. It involves tuna, time, and patience. You’re absolutely right. Fluffy the Cat shouldn’t only see the carrier 20 minutes before car/vet time. When I had to travel with my kitty, Lefty, I had her carrier out for six weeks before the flight, and fed her in it every day with one end open. She associated good things with that carrier. Regular cat carriers are one way to go.

Melissa: There are those regular hard carriers, and there are also soft options. Harder cases are sturdier and harder for escape artists. Softer ones are easier for the owner to carry and are just way more convenient. Whichever way you go, add a towel in the bottom for kitty’s comfort!

Dr. Sip: Bonus – if the cat pukes en route, it’s easier to just toss the towel away than it is to clean the inside of the carrier! For long rides, there is also this thing called a “cat tube”…

Melissa: Isn’t that just YouTube? It’s all cats anyway.

Dr. Sip: Different tube, but I do love that video where the cat is…

Melissa: Playing a symphony in B minor? (Remember, Sip, this is an NPR audience!)

Dr. Sip: Oh, right. Never mind.  Here’s an actual cat tube. You can get a short cat tube as a regular carrier, or a long one that goes the length of your back seat for long rides. You can put the litter box on one end and comfy bed at the other.

A cat tube.
A cat tube.

Melissa: This is genius! Do they come in “toddler?”

Dr. Sip: Hmmm. I’d run that by a pediatrician.

Melissa: The carriers should always be belted in, just like with dogs. Petbuckles.com makes a good system for strapping carriers down. Cat crates can sometimes be softer and smaller, so they can theoretically become a projectile in an accident. Making sure that Fluffy is secure in her crate, cat tube, or other containment system, and that particular containment system is belted in would be the safest possible option for kitties – regardless of how far you are traveling.

Continue reading…

The aforementioned YouTube clip is old but still fun to watch:

Classical Cats

Uploaded on Feb 16, 2007 by merwoman
Funny cats with classical music.

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