Cats find travel very stressful. It is a good idea to carrier train your cat so that any trips you take are not too overwhelming. To train your cat, you should keep the carrier in full sight in your home, so that the cat is not afraid when they see it.
Next, you should reward the cat with treats in and around the carrier, allowing them to freely go in and out of it. Soon, you’ll be able to shut them in the carrier for short amounts of time in the home, and gradually increase the time, for example, 5 minutes, 10 minutes, 15 minutes. Give treats and praise the cat when they are in the carrier. When they remain calm and always relaxed in the carrier, you can then take them out for short walks up and down the street, again increasing the time and distance very gradually. Then you may introduce short car rides.
The aim is for the cat to always stay calm. If they begin to show signs of stress, the process should be stopped. Try lining the carrier with a towel to make your cat comfortable, and so they have a familiar scent of home whilst travelling.
Preparing to fly
On top of carrier training your cat, there are some other things you can do to prepare them for flying, including playing airplane noises on the TV, and using pheromone sprays or herbal calming solutions.
On the day of your flight, you should prepare:
A harness and leash – in case you need to take them out of their carrier
Training pads – to soak up any mess
Food and water – the food should be taped to their carrier
Medical records/microchip details
It is best not to feed your cat 4-6 hours before the flight, as feeding them may contribute to motion sickness.
Young kittens and cats with health concerns, however, may have to be fed, and this should be discussed with your vet.
Flying with your cat can be daunting and stressful, but sufficiently preparing will help both you and your feline friend!
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