Q: Hi Jen, and thank you for years of helpful tips. We are headed out in our Airstream and have two baby kittens that we would like to travel with us this fall and upcoming winter. We have not had traveling cats before but these two are so gregarious we thought now is the time to get them used to going with us, and avoid needing a house sitter!
Thanks in advance,
Sara & Joe B.
A: In all the years of travel, I’ve always been impressed with people who are successful having house cats/RV cats. I have interviewed folks with cats and asked them what their best tips have been so that I could share with readers. I love this community! Here is my collected shortlist of ideas to consider for your meow mix.
Start the cats young with traveling in a crate large enough where you can attach a water bottle and a feed station. Some cats enjoy riding at the height where they can look out the window and others enjoy the privacy of a little cave or a crate with a towel covering part of it for shade and shelter. Always keep a harness on your cats and get them used to wearing that harness as though it were part of them. In time, you will be able to desensitize enough that leash training is fairly simple with the use of food motivation, a favorite feather toy, or laser pointer. The more curious your cats, the easier this entire process will be. Be sure that your cats have all vaccinations and wear an ID collar with a current name and contact phone number in case they escape the harness. The neck collar can provide necessary contact information. Have your animals micro chipped and keep the information up to date. Inside the RV, situate a kitty condo or cat perch and make that station fun and interactive to avoid boredom and give your cat a safe, high space to feel comfortable. Sprinkle that area with cat nip to ensure kitty utopia.
Always travel with your animal inside your tow vehicle and in a pet safe travel carrier or seatbelt harness. Invest in a pop-up style, fully enclosed mesh covered playpen where your cat can enjoy the great outdoors without escaping. I recommend setting up this play station inside your living room at home, so it is a familiar space for your cats to hang out wherever you set it up. Thanks for reaching out and, of course, please spay and neuter!
Q: I have a rescue dog that regularly gets constipated when we travel and who is a very picky eater. “Annie” is about four years old and I’ve had her for a little over a year. At home, the dog is much more relaxed but she seems nervous on the road, and decreases her water/food intake. The vet says this causes the majority of our issues. I give her kibble. I’ve never had this type of trouble with a Labrador before but here we are, writing into an advice column. Thought you might have ideas to help hydrate and make happier a dog who doesn’t love to travel.
A: Hello, Art! First of all, thank you for opening your heart to rescuing a dog in need. While I don’t know the details of your situation, I know that shelters are overrun with animals looking for their forever homes, let alone one who has the desire to make it their travel companion. Don’t give up! If there’s any way to travel shorter distances and stay a little longer in order to help your dog settle in a bit that is something I would recommend. Also, look into adding something like Stella and Chewy’s bone broth to your existing kibble. Feed in small doses to try and not waste any product and to keep your dog interested in the meal that is being presented, at least while you are out on the open road. Open Farm also makes a small, single use type bone broth that might be more conducive for traveling in case you don’t have a refrigerator or you’re using a small cooler. The Primal Bone Broth is frozen when purchased and needs to be used quickly and must be refrigerated, just like the Stella and Chewy product. My dogs love the Stella’s Stew because it has chunks of meat in it where others do not. This product has been very helpful to entice a finicky eater to take a bite and the bone broth properties offer gut soothing hydration that only nature can provide. The Stella & Chewy’s “Stella’s Stew” is human grade, comes in a recyclable package, and is free from garlic, onions, and legumes.