Monday, June 27, 2011

International Traveling Feline

I originally wrote this post several years ago. But with our impending car and ferry trip from Bellingham to Powell River, I thought it would be a good time to share again for all my cat lovers.

I was really afraid when it was time to move my cat Stick Tail from Pomona to Bellingham. But the flight on Alaska Airlines, including a transfer in Seattle, went without a hitch (Flying with My Cat). Stick moved in with Mom and adjusted almost immediately to his new surroundings. Now they are inseparable (Stick on the Job).

The next challenge was taking Mom and Stick north to Powell River by car and ferry (Driving with My Cat). I was afraid Stick would try to escape, so I started out using his carry case. He voiced his complaint quite vociferously. I shouldn't have worried, he's such a fraidy cat.

The last leg was up the lake to our float cabin (Stick on a Float). The boat ride's his least favourite part, too noisy and bouncy. The up side is he has a blast exploring the cabin and float structure, and once he even got over to the sheer rock wall (Hole in the Wall Mountain Cat).

Now, the trips to and from Bellingham are pretty commonplace. Stick doesn't have to ride in the carrier and there's no need to use a relaxer any more (he really hated the taste anyway). In the back seat of the car he has his blanket (crocheted by Mom, of course), litter box and water dish -- a home on wheels. But where does he choose to sit? On top of the carrier - go figure.

Stick still gets car sick, but we are prepared. We carry towels and baggies to take care of the mess. Cats are like humans, they can get car sick too. After he has cleared his stomach, the rest of the trip is pretty enjoyable for Stick.

Here are some things I've learned while traveling with my cat:
  1. Purchase a carrier that gives your cat plenty of room.
  2. At home, open the carrier for non-threatening exploration.
  3. At home, put some catnip in the carrier to make it attractive.
  4. Put your cat in the carrier for short periods of time.
  5. Take your cat on several short practice drives.
  6. Research airline and border crossing requirements.
  7. Carry your cat's original rabies immunization certificate.
  8. Get an additional Health Certificate for airline travel.
  9. Check with your vet or pet store about anxiety remedies.
  10. If you are traveling early, limit or skip your cat's breakfast.
  11. Use the carrier for initial car trips and all airline trips.
  12. Allow your cat to get out of the car carrier after acclimated.
  13. Use a leash or harness if needed to hold or catch your cat.
  14. Have a passenger hold your cat for about 20 minutes.
  15. Have a towel handy for car sickness or shedding hair.
  16. For long trips, have water and litter available.
  17. After arrival, hold your cat for about 20 minutes.
  18. Close bedroom doors before releasing your cat.
  19. Take your cat's own dishes, toys and litter box, if possible.
  20. Remember, cats are more adaptable than you may expect.

Happy traveling, cat and all! -- Margy


  1. Great post! I'm going to include this in my simple living news update next week.

    Traveling with animals isn't always simple, but taking the steps you mentioned in this post helps a lot! :)

  2. Yes, moving cats and car sick kitties is something I know a bit about having moved a fair bit with our two boys, Wales to London and then Toronto. Great post.

  3. My cats hate car rides and they toattly freak out when we take them to the cabin. What a brave kitty you have.

  4. My son is sad today his kitty he has had for 15 years went to kitty heaven yesterday .
    I met Mary Beth in Fairhaven and we had a very nice visit.
    Looking forward to our coffee time.

  5. Is Stick a hoot or what! Loved the Stick on the Job, Stick on a Float and esp. Hole in the Wall Mtn. Cat...whew! He looks so pretty sitting on his carrier, obviously to get a better view.
    My husband's cat (she only barely tolerated me) Domino (seems very much Stick-size, only had white chest and paws), came to Switzerland with us when we lived there 20 years ago. She adopted to the surroundings fast, didn't try to run off, and perfected the mouse stare on the farmers field. She died 15 years ago. Great travelling tips!