Should I Feed My Cat Before a Road Trip?

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Road tripping with cats can be extremely pleasant and enjoyable, especially if your cat is used to traveling. However I was left unaware when a friend of mine asked, if he should feed his cats before or after the road trip, so I did a little research and heres what I’ve learned.

Should you feed your cat before a road trip? Well it depends. If your cat is easy going with no digestive issues, no motion sickness and is potty trained you may go ahead and feed them 4-6 hours before the trip, however if your cat is sensitive to movement, with a weak gut and isnt potty trained than you should hold food and provide snacks throughout the trip provided you have a litterbox.

There are several ways to help prevent messy situations from occurring when traveling, but before you decide on the right choice of action you must understand they type of cat you are dealing with. As the cats owner you should know the cats reaction to traveling, behavior, health issues or dislikes.

This general information will help on the correct course of action. Normally there are three options to choose from depending on the nature, anxiety levels and characteristics of your feline.

1. Feeding your cat before the road trip.

2. Feeding your cat after the road trip.

3. Feeding your cat through the road trip.

1. Feeding cat before the road trip

Feeding cats before a roadtrip is an option and can work pleasantly well under some conditions. Normally it’s not preferred to feed cats before a road trip since they are prone to poop/defecate and urinate on the journey which can be messy.

But you can use this method if your cat,

  • Is comfortable with the surroundings of the car.
  • If your cat is litterbox trained and is comfortable using the litterbox inside the car.
  • Your cat isnt subject to motion sickness, vomiting and nausea or other related issues.
  • Your cat doesn’t have any digestive issues.
  • Cat must have an healthy gut without any infections.
  • Isnt sick or have diarrhea

I also say if your travel plans clash with your cats meal times always put your cats needs first. Your feline is most probably used to their routine and each meal time, if you have to disrupt this routine they will be able to sense a change and might not react well since they will be hungry and very grumpy.

When feeding your cat before the road trip always feed a normal sized meal with water. You should feed your cat about 4-6 hours before a road trip to allow the food to properly digest incase the road trip tends to be turbulent.

If you road tripping long distance and you decide to feed your cat before the trip, always make short stops after every 2-3 few hours of driving. Jump of the car in a safe place. While your feline is leashed give them some breathing space and time to adjust, urinate or poop.

If your road trip is particularly shorter, you will be fine as it takes cats about 10 to 12 hours to digest foods. However to prevent any accidents always carry a portable litterbox or use pet diapers for non trained cats.

2. Feeding cat after the road trip.

Some people hold food from their cat during road trips since they cant deal with the mess or maybe the cat isnt properly trained, however this only works for shorter road trips that are under 5 hours.

With this method of feeding, normally the last feed must be 12 hours before the travel. So the food is already digested and the next meal is required but you only feed on arrival.

Reasons for not feeding cats before a road trip,

  • Cat isnt potty trained.
  • Cat is sick or health reasons.
  • Motion sickness, nausea and vomiting.
  • If your cat has anxiety your cat may get stressed out and defecate.
  • If your cat isnt used to traveling in a car. The new surrounding can make them scared and fearful. Cats poop when they scared.
  • If your cat has disruptive behavioral issues.

When road tripping long distances you cannot hold foods as your feline will be very hungry and grumpy. A grumpy cat is like the worst thing ever especially when driving.

However if you decide to not feed your cat before a long road trip always provide some snacks and water. This will help the cat from being hungry and grumpy, while still providing some sort of nourishment while traveling. If not your cat will have to wait till the entire trip ends just to get a meal. This will result in your cat getting agitated.

3. Feeding your cat through the road trip.

For me, my travel plans and my cats meal times always clash, therefore I always choose this option. I choose to feed my cat throughout the road trip or whenever I do any sort of travel.

This option allows me to monitor the amount of food that my cat ingest over the full duration of the road trip. The aim is to provide some sort of nourishment to keep them going but not too much to make them full.

I arrange a few containers of half a handful of kibble or small servings of cat food. Depending on how far we heading. I feed accordingly so that I can keep them wanting. Some may say its cruel, but I’m trying to get the best result. That said I also carry a portable litterbox incase of any unforeseen incidents.

Feeding your cat throughout the trip is much safer in my opinion, since the cat isnt digesting full meals but rather small amounts several times. Your cats gut will not be overloaded with food so the waste produced takes a longer to fill up. But this isnt always the case as sometimes it can happen.

When feeding your cat while road tripping you can follow these simple tips.

  • If your cat gets motion sickness I suggest you dont use this method of feeding since nausea and vomiting is associated with motion sickness.
  • It’s good to get some calming meds or motion sickness meds incase the cat gets overwhelmed by the constant movement of driving and feeding at the same time.
  • This method of feeding doesn’t work well for all cats. Preferably those cats that are used to traveling and dont get traveling sickness.
  • When feeding your cat while traveling, always go for easy to feed quick meals.
  • Snacks and chewy bites are perfect since they are dry, quick digesting and cause little to no mess.
  • Provide proper hydration throughout the drive.
  • Carry a portable litterbox just incase.
  • When driving long-distance allow for regular breaks and give your cat time to relax and breath.

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