Are you dreaming of traveling with your cat? Do you crave taking your cat on short hikes and walks with you? If so, you’ll want to make sure your cat is first a “travel cat.”
How do you tell if your cat is a travel cat, you ask?
First, Your Cat’s Purrsonality
The first step in finding out whether or not your cat is adept to travel is by observing his or her personality.
Not every cat’s personality is the same, so some will not enjoy traveling while others can’t get enough. We are very fortunate to have our Yoda, who, petit à petit became a world traveler.
Ever since Yoda was a kitten, he had a desire to wander. We believe it’s this personality trait that enabled him to become the travel cat he is today.
Here are some questions you can ask yourself when figuring out whether your cat is a travel cat.
- Does Your Cat Scare Easily?
- Does Your Cat Love to Meow at Doors or Stare Out the Window?
- Is Your Cat Curious About Everything?
If your cat scares easily, it will be harder to train him/her to be a travel cat. The great outdoors is not short of sudden noises, so it’s important to expose your cat to new sounds and things slowly, and preferably, during kittenhood.
Next, if your cat constantly meows to be let outside, or is curiously gazing out the window, chances are your cat wants to get out and explore. This desire will help you when it comes to putting on the leash and harness.
When we were training Yoda to wear a harness as a kitten, we associated it with the “reward” of “going out”. Now, at 4 ½ years old, Yoda knows he is going outside or on an adventure every time I hold up the harness. He will actually go to the door and wait for me to put on the harness, and then will lead us outside as I open the door. This came from months/years of practice, so practice patience if you wish to have a travel cat!
Third, if your cat is curious about everything, it’s a good sign that behavior will continue even on your travels.
Second, Your Travel Style
Your cat has limits of travel, just like you.. Make sure to keep this in mind when you consider the type of travel you do. Some cats are able to sail the world, while others are extremely quiet plane travelers (like Yoda!).
A good way to tell if your cat could be a traveler is by testing out his or her reaction to the car. Take short trips with your cat that’s not to the vet. By doing so, you can introduce positive car travel slowly and observe if your cat is nonchalant or is totally not okay with traveling.
I say “positive car travel” because most car trips are when kitty has to go get shots or a surgery. Cats remember what the car means (car = vet = fear/pain), so some cats just hate the car. But, if you can show your cat that the car also means fun, parks, adventure, etc., then you can slowly train a travel cat.
Despite your efforts, patience, and training some cats will still get car sick. Traveling is not for every cat, so make sure to keep your feline’s safety and comfort a priority.
Other cats might constantly meow of fear from the unknown. Similarly, do not try to force your cat into any travel situations. (Remember, the purpose of training your cat to be a travel cat is so you don’t have to leave your cat at home alone).
And some cats, like Yoda, will just curl up and sleep in the car. Once we established that Yoda was a-ok in the car, we stepped up our game and traveled with him by plane. To our delight, Yoda was fine and dandy (in both cargo and in cabin).
It is best to limit plane travel as much as possible, though, especially traveling via cargo which can be a very stressful place for pets. However, in cabin can be a seamless journey for your cat, if he or she doesn’t mind sleeping for a few hours under your seat.
Third, Your Patience
Having a travel cat is not entirely dependent on your cat, believe it or not! A cat might be pre-disposed to be more curious and adventurous than others, but it will be your job to sharpen those skills for traveling.
It took many hours and cat treats to train Yoda to properly walk on a harness, get used to the outdoors, or to sleep in cars or on planes. But the key is patience. And also baby steps. Do that, and you’ll be closer to having a travel cat than ever before.
Author Bio: Brittany and Paul are the meowsterminds behind Fluffy Kitty, a blog inspired by Yoda to help cat parents take better care of their beasts. They have lived in six countries with Yoda and are currently residing in Mexico.