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Holidaying with Cats

More and more West Australians are holidaying with their pets around the state and even across the country. Many pet owners just can’t enjoy their holidays without their best friends and so dogs, cats, birds, guinea pigs and rabbits are seeing more of Australia then they could possibly imagine. What must they be thinking the first time they feel the motion of a moving vehicle or see a truck drive past for the first time?  Just imagine it!

Far more accommodation options are being made available for those that travel with their pets.  Caravan parks across the country have always welcomed pets and now B&B’s and holiday houses are making their accommodation available to them as well. Of course, some people are simply moving home and so their animals are moving too and so for them, travel is simply a means to an end.

The restrictions on pets at various accommodation places differ. Some caravan parks do not allow pets during school holidays and usually not inside their own cabins and on-site vans. Holiday houses that accept pets will sometimes restrict them to outdoors which won’t suit cats. All places will expect the owner to clean up after the cat and keep it contained at all times. Always contact the destination before departing to find out their restrictions and policies.

Visit the list of great pet-friendly campsites and accommodation across WA on the Better Pets and Gardens website. These have been recommended by our customers so we know they are good. If you have any that you would recommend, please email us at info@betterpetsandgardens.com.au .

Always ensure that your pet has a collar at all times. This should have an up-to-date ID tag with the animal’s name, your name, address and phone number on it. Some travellers find editable tags useful as these can be changed regularly to record the address of their accommodation and also mobile phone numbers if different from the ID tag.

For travellers and those shifting to a new area, micro-chipping is essential for cats and is, in fact, now mandatory in WA. If the pet is found wandering, these can be scanned by any local council and most vets and the owners contacted immediately. Just ensure that the contact information is up to date at all times.

PACKING FOR CATS
Just like us, cats need a travel bag. Cats will need their beds, toys, litter tray and also grooming brush. It is important to keep them well groomed to reduce the amount of fur floating around the confines of the car or van but more importantly, to reduce the incidence of fur balls. Cats will also appreciate a scratch pole and may even like a cozy igloo bed in which to escape from the noise of fellow travellers.

Cats can be traineCat_leadd to use a lead providing this starts when quite young. This comes in handy when travelling as it allows them to get a bit of exercise and some fresh air and also provides a bit of stimulation. To find out how to train a cat to walk on a lead, check out our “Keeping Cats Indoors” fact sheet on the Better Pets and Gardens website.
A pot of pet grass or cat grass is great for dogs, cats and small animals that travel. It provides much needed minerals and vitamins, is good for their digestion and, in the case of cats, helps with fur balls. And, above all else, they just love to chew on it.

HEALTH AND SAFETY ON THE MOVE
Consider taking your pet to the vet for a health check-up before travelling to ensure that their vaccinations are up to date so they stay healthy throughout the trip. Make sure that they have been recently wormed and treated for fleas and ticks as they will be out and about meeting other pets and wandering through areas they’ve never been before.

Always carry plenty of cool, fresh water and offer it often. Non-spill water bowls are available and are perfect for cars, boats and motor homes.

Pets can become car sick just as humans do. Make sure that they have adequate ventilation by keeping the airconditioning on. Leave time between feeding the pet with a light meal and travelling to reduce the risk of an upset tummy and provide him with plenty of opportunities to take a break from the moving vehicle.

For any cat that is travelling in a cage or a carrier, always make sure that they are not sitting in the sun coming through the window. Glass magnifies the sun’s heat and may cause great stress and even prove fatal.

Provide all pets with plenty of exercise. Just like us, animals that don’t get enough exercise will gain weight, become stiff in the joints or feel a bit agitated. Cats are easily amused with string, balls and other toys.

Where possible, avoid changing the pet’s diet and feed times from what they would normally have at home. This is important for their routine as well as their health. Pack them some appropriate treats and carry them in the car or van so that they can also have a snack throughout the day.

Often when we travel we tend to eat junk food but we all know that after a while this results in us feeling sluggish and tired.  Animals are just like this. Don’t be tempted to feed them on sausages from the nearest road house or the left overs of the kids’ hamburgers as these are incredibly high in salt and oil and may cause them to get an upset stomach or have excessive thirst. Let’s face it, a cat with an upset stomach is the last thing you need when cooped up in a car or caravan.

In the case of cats, take their normal cat litter tray when travelling. A hooded tray with a filter is perfect as it helps keep the area clean and free of odour. Cats will know that their usual tray is where they are to go to the toilet and will feel comfortable doing so. Use a good quality litter that soaks up any odour and clean it immediately after the cat has used it.

NATIONAL PARKS AND RESERVES
In Australia, domestic animals are banned from National Parks, Nature Reserves, Aboriginal areas and state recreation areas. They have the potential to damage flora and harm local fauna.  Even the smell of a domestic animal will cause problems for local animals within the area.  Check with the relevant governing body before visiting.

PET CARRY CONTAINERS
Usually it is necessary to keep a cat secure whilst travelling in a pet carry container. Cats can be unpredictable and if allowed to roam around the vehicle will become a hazard to everyone within it.

Better Pets and Gardens carry a wide variety of containers to suit all animals. Rigid plastic pet crates are strong but light weight and easy to clean. They are well ventilated and leak proof and whilst camping, double nicely as a little hidey hole for a cat.  Canvas carry containers are also available now and are fantastic for camping or when a light weight container will do the trick.

Carry bags are available for cats. These can be made from all number of materials including canvas, leather or fabric. Whilst these are terrific it is important to ensure that the animal does not overheat and that they have adequate ventilation.

Within the pet carry container, a cat must have enough space to turn about normally, to stand and sit erect and to lie in a natural position.

A pet pack should be the following size:

 

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