How to travel with a cat, part one: how to begin

Not many do so. Most people travel without pets of with a dog. Which, I’ll admit is a bit easier. But of course much less fun 😉

Here you’ll find some information on how to travel with a cat, based on our personal experience.

THE RIGHT ATTITUDE

Not just the cat’s but also yours. But lets start with the cat.
First it is import that your cat doesn’t mind/ can get used to/ really likes travelling in a camper. It is different from travelling in a car by the way, I’ll cover that part next.
The cat also needs to have a bit of an adventurous side. If your cat is perfectly happy to lie around on the sofa all day and hates action and new things, he’ll probably won’t like to travel. The cat has to be a bit flexible to when it comes to changes. It also helps if your cat doesn’t mind to get picked up, which is more often necessary when you travel. If you need a bandage every time you pick up the cat you might want to reconsider travelling with it. Last but not least, your cat should enjoy your company.

Like I said, your attitude matters too. You’ll need to take your cat’s needs in to consideration. You cannot just park the camper in the sun and lie on the beach all day unless it has air-conditioning that also works when parked. And even then your cat will get bored at some point. Most museums don’t allow pets. Your cat most likely isn’t interested in a shopping trip unless it is to the fish market. Your cat will probably prefer a quit place with lots of green to walk around in, a tree to climb etc. It doesn’t mean you can’t go to the beach or a museum at all. It is just a balancing act between your needs and those of the cat. If we do spend a day exploring a city, we make sure that evening or the next day(s) are “Binkie friendly “. Meaning camping places with lots of green where he can do what he wants and when. You may also have to alter your plans to fit in a visit to the vet. Or to find a dry cleaner when your cat threw up all over the duvet (try washing a duvet by hand).

If you take your cat on a hike, don’t expect to cover the same distance you would without a cat. It is bit like going on a walk with a toddler. And of course the cat supplies take up space (less clothes for you) and money (less new clothes for you).

TRAVELLING IN A CAMPER

It is different from being in a car. There is more space and the cat can move around freely. It wouldn’t be fair of course to keep the cat locked up in a travel basket all day. But make sure your cat has a safe place where it enjoys being. If your cat hates being put in a travel basket and complains all the way to the vet in the car, it doesn’t necessarily mean that he hates being in a camper. So you’ll just have to try it out. Now don’t throw your cat in the camper and start your world travels. First let the cat get used to being in the camper. Preferably park your camper on the driveway, open the door and let your cat explore it in its own pace. Spend a night in the camper with the cat. Reward the cat often. Go for short drives, returning home after an hour, an afternoon, then a weekend. If all goes well, Bon Voyage! If your cat hates it, don’t take it along anyway. If you’re constantly worried about the cat being unhappy , cleaning up vomit because the cat keeps getting carsick, you won’t have much fun either.

WEARING A HARNESS AND WALKING ON A LEASH

You’ll often be in a new place and you don’t want your cat to get lost. So get it used to wearing a harness. We use the Treponti Liberti, which so far has proven the best choice. Most comfortable and the safest harness we’ve found. Your cat may disagree, then try another one. Try it out at home, again giving your cat time to get used to wearing one and reward it often. Don’t be discouraged if the first time you put it on, your cat “crashes” to the floor like you’ve just given it a leaded vest to wear. Leave it on, reward the cat and wait until the cat starts to walk around in it. If the cat panics, take it off and try a collar first.

If you consider going for walks with your cat, get it used to walking on a leash as well. This will take quite some time. It is best to start this when your cat is still a kitten, but older cats can learn too. Reward all efforts, don’t push it when the cat gets scared, just take it slower. Plan the practice session when your cat is naturally active. You wouldn’t want to be woken and dragged to the gym at 3 am either.

Part 2 you can find here.

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