Cats hate car rides, they are territorial animals that can’t stand it when you change their habits and like to be in their territory. And you are probably wondering how to calm down a cat in a car?
There are many solutions to help you travel with your dear four-legged friend. Here we go for an overview of all the solutions available to travel with your cat in all tranquility.
How to calm a cat in the car? Understanding his nervousness
It’s totally normal for him to be nervous, it’s new to him, it’s moving fast, it’s spinning, it’s shaking, all of which generates a state of panic. Cats love the stimuli of their environment and hate the new especially when it is so hectic.
It is also important to understand that your cat is in her box and therefore cannot move, which will amplify her stress level.
So, how do you go about it?
You can calm your cat down in the car, there are many ways that will allow him to be totally comfortable.
1- Choose the right transport box
The choice of box is important because your cat should feel comfortable and safe when travelling by car. Choosing a high quality box with durable materials will ensure your cat’s safety.
Also take a wide model in which he can move and stand, he will feel freer and therefore less nervous. The more space the cat has, the less danger it will feel.
You can also choose a cat carrier, as long as it offers enough space.
The choice actually depends on the personality of the cat, a hard carrier is better if he tends to get restless for example as he will scratch and attack the fabric.
If it is a cat that does not move when stressed, a soft carrier may be more comfortable for it.
2- Getting him used to it at a young age
A cat that has been used to traveling since its youngest age will naturally be more accustomed being more adaptable when it is young. With age, they are less and less adaptable to new things.
Try to get him to go in willingly, for example with food he likes, then leave him inside for a second and offer him a second reward. The cat will associate the car with a reward, and if it has since it was very young, it will come in a car.
3- Get him used to it step by step
When the cat is used to riding in the car in his box, then he may begin to travel by car. Put him in the box for a few minutes, without moving him.
Then begin by taking short trips of 5 or 10 minutes, observing his behavior, to see the progress. Make the first few trips at a moderate pace, then go gradually and avoid trips at high speeds or with many turns.
The idea is to get him used to being in his carrier from time to time at home, by putting food he likes in it for example, it will then be totally familiar with the cat. The idea is that he will associate it with something pleasant so that he will feel comfortable in it on every car journey.
4- Offer him an adapted environment
Start by bringing water and food that he likes and give him some when he is agitated to calm him down. Be careful, however, not to overfeed him or he’ll get nauseous. The goal is just to give him a familiar food that he loves to comfort him. An easy-to-digest food is a must in the car.
Make sure the temperature is temperate, with heating in winter and air conditioning or an ice pack in winter. Cats are very sensitive to temperature changes and this can increase their anxiety when cats are in the car.
Give him some exercise, if you can play with him while someone else is driving that’s fine but be careful not to move him around too much, as he stays in a box and can’t move easily.
Finally, avoid smoking to keep the air healthy, cats hate unhealthy air and will react badly to it.
5- Stay close to your cat
If you can, when you are not driving, stay close to your cat, it will comfort him because he will have your familiar smell close to him and showing him affection will inevitably reassure him.
Talking to him will already relax him, the best being to stroke him if possible.
6- Anti-stress products
Pheromones can reassure, as they generate familiar smells that manage to calm cats. You can spray them in the car to calm him down.
You can also offer him soothing food supplements.
Finally, some essential oils will help him to be calmer.
7- Sedatives as a last resort
If nothing helps, especially if your cat is elderly, then the vet can prescribe sedatives to keep him completely calm during the journey.
8- Managing visual stimuli
If the scenery is moving very fast, your cat may be afraid, so it is essential to cover the box to keep him from panicking.
It is sometimes necessary to prevent him from seeing, and combined with pheromones, this will make it much easier for him to reassure himself.
9- Listen to classical music
Classical music sometimes helps to calm cats. Avoid aggressive music that will excite him even more. Soft and melodious sounds are to be favoured so that your cat’s mind becomes relaxed.
10- Drive carefully
The more movement there is, the more stress your cat will experience. If possible, give your cat a smooth, jolt-free ride.
11- Don’t leave him alone
If you are traveling for long hours, avoid leaving him alone during breaks and air out the car while you take a break, which will be very pleasant for him.
Calming a cat in the car; The final word
To calm a cat during a car ride, it is essential to get the right habits right, because if they are in place, then the cat will be able to travel without being stressed.