Car rides with cats can be very frustrating for you and also frightening for your cat, however there will come a time where you will need to drive with your cat. Maybe you need to go the mall or even to the vet, therefore its important to keep your cat safe within a carrier and it must be secured properly to the cars seat.
1. Make your cat comfortable with car travels.
Cats aren’t very versatile when it comes to change, with different places and surroundings, its takes them time to adjust. They certainly love routine and normal daily living, therefore it’s important to prepare the cat before any travels or road trips.
A simple way to prepare the cat for car travel is
- Allow the cat to enter the car and roam about. This will make the cat more comfortable with the surrounding and will therefore relax since no danger is seen.
- Familiarise the cat with the different aspects of the car like the movement of the window wipers, the hooter, radio and noise of the ignition. This can be done stationary within your garage.
- Once the cat feels a little free you would notice they tend to be more curious. Allow them some alone time just to figure things out.
- Setup a bed or carrier in the car for the cat to sit. You can also use a pouch that hooks on the window.
- Go for short rides around the neighborhood to see how the cat will react.
- Be patient and give the cat time to adapt.
2. Choose a safe carrier that’s rigid.
There are alot of carriers that have all sorts of features and are really good. For car travels I suggest you go for the rigid plastic or metal framed type of carriers since it’s more strong incase of an accident it will protect the cat.
The material types of carriers or the backpacks wont be so effective in keeping the cat safe in a car since the outer covering is soft. On impact the cat will get smashed or the seatbelt will loosen.
The firm exterior on the other hand will allow for tight grip and the handles on the sides and top for the carrier will ensure the seat belt holds firmly.
It’s also important to choose an approved carrier that is up to standard yet affordable, you dont want to make a bad choice since your cats life is at stake, especially in a unpredictable place like a car.
The next thing is to make your cat comfortable within the carrier. Place a soft blanket inside the carrier to provide some comfort. You can also had a little water dispenser and a toy to keep kitty entertained.
3. Get cat carrier seat belts.
Yes! You heard right there are seat belts specially designed to secure pet carriers within a car. These seat belts allow for more support and grip so that the carrier can be safe incase of impact.
The Blueberry Pet Essentials seat belt is made of nylon which is lightweight yet durable. The straps come in a variety of colours and lengths. Preferably I’d choose the 25-inch one which gives enough room to adequately wrap around the carrier firmly.
These seat belts keep your cats carrier safe and anchored unto the seat, away from distracting or jumping on the driver, and from roaming and pestering passengers. Your cat is then restrained yet comfortable inside the vehicle.
This will give you peace of mind knowing your furry friend is taken care of in case of an accident. Get the Blueberry pet seat belt, conveniently from Amazon.
4. Choose either the backseat or floor.
Pet owners are always debating about the safest position to place their pets carrier inside a car. For me their are two options which is fairly safe under certain conditions.
When choosing where to place your cats carriers it should be placed in respect to the carrier size, carrier type, car size and type.
The two positions I would recommend is at the back seat or the back floor between the two seats. Both places have their own pros and cons so the choice ultimately is yours.
This is a good place to keep your cat safe since its situated in the middle of the vehicle. This would be okay in case of front or back smash. However the sides of the car is still exposed so danger is also present.
You could place the carrier in the center of the back seats. So in case of any side dangers your pet will be fairly safe depending on the severity of impact.
On the other hand if the impact comes from the back or front your cats carrier might be ejected out through to the front of the car, if the carrier isnt placed tightly.
Luckily you can use the car seat belts to hold the carrier firmly in place. Modern carriers have loops on the top and sides so that the seat belts can be put through.
To add extra safety use the carrier seat belts that are specifically designed to hold your cats carrier even on impact.
This option isnt very common but i feel that it could be equally safe. Positioning the carrier on the backseat floor between the two seats will allow the cat to be protected from the back, front and the sides.
This position is safe but it’s difficult to secure the carrier in this position since the car seat belts dont reach that far. You could use pet carrier seat belt straps that might help.
So to sum it up the backseat provides a little more safety since the carrier is at a position to be secured.
After some research it appears there is only one group testing pet carriers in accidents. Centre for pet safety, which is a non-profit organization. There are no standards or regulation and the level of testing is nowhere near as complete as human crash testing.
The current level of testing is not about the pets survival but about the crates and other determining factors. Many of the crates tested, broke during testing. With crash dummy pets being fully or partially ejected.
However there isnt a place or carrier that is one hundred percent safe.
5. How to secure the carrier using seat belts.
Now that you know where to position the carrier and you have the necessary straps it’s time to secure your pet. Once kitty is inside the carrier add few toys and some snacks. When the cat is comfortable and well rested, lock the carrier. The carrier or cage will have two clips on either sides or a gate like structure that must be sealed.
Once your cat is safe within the carrier, use the car seat belt to secure the carrier to the seat. You can use two of the car seat belts to secure the carrier from either sides. With the cat carrier seat belt, you can pass the straps through the loops on the top of the carrier or on the sides and attach it to the car seat belt.
A clever way to keep the carrier even more sturdier is to adjust the front passenger seat by putting it more back so that the back of the seat can hold the carrier from behind more firmly in place.
Now that the carrier is safely secured, you can also line the inner sides of the carrier with cushion or styrofoam so that on impact the cat will not get injured since the cushion effect will lessen the severity of the force.
When doing this remember to leave some room for air to flow in.
6. Cover your cats carrier.
This technique is used to create a soothing and relaxing environment for the cat within the carrier even when traveling or if you in a place that may be new to the cat.
Cats are driven by instincts and they are aware of anything that doesn’t suit their daily routine. This means that if you decide to go out for a drive or even for a holiday your cat will pick up on the change of scenery making them feel uncomfortable and stressed.
To provide an escape for your cat, it’s good to cover the carrier with a thin breathable cloth. This simple technique provides a safe haven for your cat. Little kitty will feel more relaxed and at ease.
The covering provides a barrier from the surrounding, therefore what your feline dont see wont hurt them.
If your cat has any phobias or suffer from anxiety this might be your saving grace and it will allow you more freedom.
7. Maintain good temperature, speed and atmosphere inside the car.
While driving you are faced with many different factors such as, temperature, noise, sun, air etc. Its good to keep a cool temperature especially because your vehicle most probably is parked in the sun.
When riding with your feline, remember to keep the car parked in the shade so that the tempreture inside will be comfortable for your feline. This is very important if your vehicle dont have airconditioning.
If you are fortunate enough to have an AC in the car switch up the Airconditioning to room temperature of about 75 to 78 degrees farenheit. It doesn’t have to be precise you just want to make sure your feline is comfortable and not dehydrated, especially in summer.
It’s also important that you keep a serene environment inside the car. It’s cool to speak and interact but dont blast the music to a point that kitty starts to panic and hyperventilate. Also be considerate since cats hear at a higher pitch than of humans.
You also want to keep a good driving speed that abides by the law and is safe. Remember that the same speed that you would drive with a baby on board is about the same speed you should be driving with your cat.
When taking rides with your cat you need to maintain good ventilation. Keep the windows open so that there is a good flow of fresh air. It’s not good to smoke or vape inside the car as this could make breathing difficult for the cat.
8. Use a sedative or relaxer.
Some cats are very sensitive and docile. They are affected by any change of environment and are very fearful. This will make it impossible to even go on a short ride in the car.
The best is to either leave the cat at home or if the situation doesn’t allow that use a good sedative or relaxer.
There are many natural relaxers and sedatives that you can buy over the counter and you can administer it without the need of a vet. You can use,
- Catnip, which a herb that soothes cats, relieving their tension.
- Chamomile, used by humans in tea, which contains antianxiety properties that is just as effective in cats.
- Gebapentin, is safe yet effective treatment for cats to help reduce stress and aggression and increase compliance especially when traveling.
- Melatonin, which helps with sleep. Get it on Amazon.
But before you decide on any sedative, consult with your local vet.
9. Pack a safety travel kit.
No matter how prepared you may be, you cannot be certain that everything will go well. Cats are very unpredictable, one day they may be okay with travelling the next day they may totally freak out.
To make sure you prepared for whatever your cat throws at you, you need to put together a safety travel kit. This kit must be carried everywhere you go or you could just leave it in the car.
This kit must include:
- Sedatives and relaxer
- First aid kit
- Leash and collar
- Motion sickness meds
- Disposable bags
- hygiene wipes
- Copy of medical records
- Pain relief meds
This kit is very helpful especially if you heading out for a long-distance road trip.
10. Give your cat assurance
Cats are very affectionate animals, however certain things your cat will not be comfortable doing but because your cat trusts you they are willing to do just about anything.
Therefore it’s important to not neglect your cat in any way or form. Always speak to your cat with sooth comforting words. Cats are really smart and they can pick up on emotion and the tone of your voice.
They also feed of the energy you exude. Always keep the environment serene and free, try not to put your feline in a difficult position that might cause them to react in an aggressive or uncontrolled way.
Cats are sensitive to touch, a few strokes on their head or a little cuddle could greatly help in making them feel your presence, this ensures them that they are safe, since they seek safety from you.
- Can I let my Cat in the Car Without a Carrier ? Yes you are allowed to ride with cats without a carrier, but it’s not advised since it’s dangerous and the cat could be a distraction to the driver. The main concern arises in the case of an accident and there is no protection for the cat.
- Why are Car rides stressful for Cats? Car rides are very stressful and frightening for cats since they aren’t familiar it as we cats like routine. The sound of the engine, the motion and the swift movements associated with driving are some of the things that may make them anxious and fearful.