by Dr. Kerri Marshall
Chief Veterinary Officer at BabelBark
Most people cringe at the thought of fighting to get their cat in a carrier for a trip – be it a trip to the veterinarian, the groomer, or to visit “Grandma” for a holiday. Instead of listening to a group of humans, let’s get it straight from the horse’s…er, cat’s mouth. Diesel the cat is the travel companion of a human named Beth. According to Beth, she and Diesel have traveled multiple times, through multiple states, to visit family and friends.
Babel Blog (BB): Diesel, welcome! It is such a pleasure to meet you, and we are anxious to hear your advice about traveling with a cat. Since our readers do not know you, please give us a little background.
Diesel: Thank you! This is such a thrill for me since most of the time people only talk to my “mom,” Beth. Beth is a wonderful person who has made it possible for me to travel. She didn’t fall into the old clichés about cats being difficult or untrainable. Her openness to traveling with a cat has been awesome for both of us.
BB: Wonderful! So tell our readers, how does one determine if a cat is suited to be a travel companion?
Diesel: Traveling is not for every cat – nor every human! Get your cat used to being in a carrier or travel bag and hearing traffic and other noises. Be sure to get your cat microchipped in the event of a separation. Also, prepare the equipment you will be using while traveling – make sure it is secure, comfortable, and safe. Don’t forget about the litter and water!
BB: I am concerned that my friend’s cat is not a good candidate; she is already older and set in her ways at home.
Diesel: No, don’t assume. Test the waters; let her explore the carrier, tell your friend to take her on a few short trips around town. My friend, Camilla, is a mature cat who just recently started traveling. Her companions worked with her on trips to the veterinary hospital and just expanded from there.
BB: When I travel, I know to watch what I eat, remember my medications, and get out of my seat and move around. It can be overwhelming to keep just myself on track! How can someone easily travel with a cat? We don’t always speak the same language.
Diesel: So very true about the language barrier. However, there are a few things any person can try. There are fitness trackers that can be attached to a pet’s collar that measure activity and can help you know how your pet is doing. There are apps that can keep you organized with medication reminders so your pet won’t miss a dose. Try these out before the trip and get comfortable with their use.
BB: What if there is a medical emergency while traveling?
Diesel: This is truly a scary situation for both pet and human. One time, while traveling, I accidentally got stuck in a tight spot and sliced my leg. It could have been a problem finding a veterinary practice, but I watched my “mom” use the BabelBarkTM app. I was really impressed with how easy it was to connect with our home veterinary practice and find pet professionals to help us out.