Why Do Cats Hate Car Rides?
Most cat owners can confirm that taking a cat for a car ride is no fun. Cats, unlike dogs, just don’t seem to enjoy the experience. And while it’s impossible to say exactly why your beloved feline pet detests the backseat, some common features of cats can help explain their fear of four-wheeled locomotion.
The dislike of car rides on your cat can simply be an instinctive answer to a change in daily rituals. Cats, like many other people, are stressed in unknown or uncomfortable situations.
In addition, getting a kitten out of her home field, a world traveler doesn’t seem like a big deal to you, but for a creature who spends a lot of time maintaining its territorial boundaries, crossing over to the outside world can be frightening.
And while some cats really suffer from motion sickness, others who vomit or become incontinent when driving a car can just be nervous. Such psychogenic symptoms are not uncommon in autophobic felines.
Experts say staying calm can go a long way in making your pet feel more relaxed in a stressful situation. You can also try to have someone else do the driving while you sit in the back and talk to Kitty. Distraction is key to relieving a troubled pet’s fears.
Safety comes first
Hardly a cat can be found voluntarily entering its crate, after all, they associate the crate’s appearance and smell with unpleasant visits to the vet or car rides. Nevertheless, the cat should be kept safe while driving – and that is not only sufficient with a hard plastic crate, a wicker basket, or a stable textile bag approved for animal transport. As tempting as it is to have the cat’s collar, harness, and leash not dispose of it in order to protect against accidents with bodily injury. A cat running around in the car can also cause a life-threatening accident – this is how quickly the cat jumps on the headrests, the lap of its owners, or hides in the legroom under the accelerator… For transport, only a transport-approved crate or bag is suitable.
For the ride
Placing the cat safely in the crate is the first step to traveling safely in the car. To make it easier to create the cat, it is recommended to make it attractive to the cat. Instead of only using the crate for unpleasant visits to the vet, you can also place the crate in the living room a few days or weeks in advance. Valerian and catnip make the scent’s aroma attractive and allow the nervous cat to relax. Pheromone sprays such as Feliway and Felifriend have a similar effect. Use small treats and integrate the crate into your daily play sessions – this is how your cat learns to connect the crate to something positive. Once the fear of the big, unpleasant-smelling crate has subsided, you can even try to seduce your cat using a toy, lure a play rod or a treat into the crate. Important: don’t close the door and make sure your cat doesn’t feel stuffy in any way! Your cat should be able to leave the crate at all times.
During the ride
Of course, this does not apply to the actual day of transport… During the car ride, you have to put your cat in the crate safely and close the door so that he cannot escape. An old towel in the crate makes the stay more comfortable for your cat and absorbs any ‘accidents’. Because not only in nervous cats the bladder is occasionally unintentionally emptied … The car ride can often also be the cause of nausea and vomiting for the cat. In the car itself, the crate is attached to the seat. This ensures that the crate does not tip over when braking or accelerating, injuring the cat. Of course, you also want to avoid having to let go of your hand while driving to catch a falling bench…
To make the trip as comfortable as possible for the cat, you can briefly ventilate the car before transport. During the trip, all windows, as long as the temperature allows, must be closed in the car. Most cats are sensitive to drafts … Our cat’s hearing is also very sensitive, so ideally turn off the radio and stereo system. In unknown situations, you are the point of contact for your cat. Feel free to talk to your cat – this will not only relax the cat but also yourself as a cat owner.
Depending on how long the car ride takes, you should feed and water your cat while driving. The underlay may also need to be replaced once … In order not to let your cat escape, the crate and the car should never be opened simultaneously. Regardless of whether it is a ride of a few minutes or hours, it is best to put your cat in the crate, where he is guaranteed to feel safer than in the unknown car itself…
After the ride
Finally – exhausted! After the ride, your cat may feel a bit shaky. Perhaps the cat has vomited, but even if it is not, the cat prefers to brush itself in peace… give the cat the time it needs to feel safe again. Ideally, leave the crate stationary for several days in a known area for the cat, and repeat the exercises you have previously done with the crate.