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Tips to Acquaint Your Cat with the Carrier

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As many Pet Parents know all too well, traveling with a cat can be a chaotic, emotional experience. PetSmart’s Director of Veterinary Services Robyn Jaynes, DVM, offers tips on making your next trip – whether it’s across the country or across town – a little less painless.

 
Using a Cat Carrier
  • Get the carrier out days in advance so that the cat has time to get acquainted with it on her own terms.
  • If your cat normally sleeps on bedding of any kind, place that bedding in the carrier. The familiar scent helps to create a safe, comfortable environment.
  • When placing your cat in the carrier, put her back end in first. You might find it easiest to turn the carrier up on its end and carefully lower the cat, leading with the hind legs. Having a second person to guide the legs through can help with more fidgety felines.
  • Trim your cat’s claws a few days before packing her into a carrier. This can help to minimize scratches.  
 
Traveling Long Distances with a Cat
  • Make sure your cat is up to date on all vaccines, and have copies of her medical records on hand.
  • Your cat should have a collar, current tag and a microchip in case she happens to break loose.  
  • Be sure to label the cat carrier to ensure easy identification and prevent any accidental mix-ups.
  • Consult your vet about medications for calming anxious cats and getting a current health certificate. You should do this at least 10 days in advance of your trip.  
  • If you’re traveling by car, take frequent breaks to let your cat use the litter box.
  • Begin booking pet-friendly hotels well in advance of your trip. (They’re not always so easy to find.)
 
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