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Traveling with cats is not easy. Your cat may not like to be cooped in an automobile for hours at end; the motels on your route may not be willing to enable cats as guests; you may be disallowed entrance into states that insist on vaccination certificates for pets. You therefore need to plan in advance before taking your cat out on a 500-kilometer drive. This will not only make your life easy, but also that of the cat.
The planning must include some training for the cat. You must get the cat acclimatized to cars by taking her out for long drives in a carrier that will be her home during long drives. This will mean encouraging the cat to sleep in the carrier, and then taking it on increasingly longer drives. You may even consider consulting a veterinarian if you find the cat is too fidgety or anxious when going in a car.
You also must make sure that the cat does not wander away, and gets lost during stops. For this, you need a good harness with an ID tag that mentions your name, address, phone number as well as contact information of your veterinarian. As an extra precaution, you should leave your itinerary with your veterinarian so that you can be contacted in case your lost cat is found. Tattooing and micro chipping are added advantages.
You should stop frequently during the drive to give the cat a chance to stretch its limbs with its harness and leash. Cats should never be allowed to wander freely inside an automobile, especially not in a running vehicle. Kittens will be more comfortable in their own carrier if it has a blanket and their favorite toy. A carrier made of a sturdy metal crate with a solid bottom is ideal for long drives.
You must also remember to carry sufficient supply of cat food and water. In warm weather a large thermos flask filled with ice-cubes is an added advantage. Food and water need to be packed in separate dishes. Other items to carry include toys, bedding, litter pan, scooper and litter disposable bags.
If need be, you should ask your veterinarian to give a mild tranquilizer just before you start off on your journey. This will soothe the cat's nerves, and make its journey more comfortable. You too can concentrate on your driving instead of getting frequently distracted by angry scratchings and protest meows.