How should I feed my cat when we are traveling?

Traveling with a cat is entirely different than traveling with a dog. While either pet hates a disruption in routine, cats are different in that they can become easily frightened. Anyone who’s ever tried to deal with a spooked cat knows how daunting it can be. They’ll run, hide, scratch and bite and will possibly experience digestive problems or other health issues.

The best thing is to be completely prepared on every issue and keep completely calm. Make everything seem as routine as possible. While food is one component of preparation, you should plan ahead on all counts, because if she gets too upset, there will be a domino effect that will affect her appetite and eating.

The first thing you want to do is to turn your cat carrier into a castle. Cats can be pretty finicky about their environment, so make it as inviting and appealing as possible. Make sure the carrier is big enough for her to move around in; dog carriers often work well. Then make sure she has a soft, warm and comfortable bed; you can easily make your own by covering a small pillow with some fabric. Then, keep water and food in the carrier, but do cover it when traveling so you can avoid spillage. Finally, perhaps you will even place one of her favorite toys, objects or even an article of your clothing,

Second, make sure your cat is safely zipped up in her traveling bag before you load the cat food, water and littler box—and then put it out immediately when you arrive at the hotel or motel.

Other things to note:

• Have a plentiful supply of your cat’s favorite food and water and cat litter. If you use homemade food, rather than commercial, be sure it can’t spoil by packing it in freeze-dried ice or a big thermos tote bag.
• Call the hotel/motel to be sure they accept cats.
• Update shots as needed.
• Use an approved carrier
• Use identification on your cat.
• Be sure there’s an emergency veterinary clinic no more than an hour from each destination and note the office hours.
• Talk to your vet before traveling. He or she may well suggest an anti-anxiety medication or a slight sedative so she sleeps through the travel—and that will affect when and how much you feed. You also need to discuss any necessary medications and health certificates.
• If you’re traveling by car, make sure she’s securely zipped in her carrier.

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