It's no surprise that most cats dislike car rides. Unlike their canine counterparts, cats don't get to stick their heads out the window or take fun trips to the dog park. Instead, cats usually associate cars with a dreaded visit to their nemesis, the vet.
While it's unlikely you'll be able to teach your tiny tiger to love cars, you can help create a positive association and make your next car ride a more pleasant experience for you and Smudge. So, how do you train a cat to like car rides? Here are a few tips to make your next cat-friendly car ride a little easier.
"Unfurtunately", not all cats will learn to love car rides. Some pet parents may be unaware that cats can get motion sickness, which can be caused by stress and anxiety and could result in vomiting, diarrhea, and dehydration.
If you're worried about letting your cat roam around your car, consider placing them on a leash. You can also try feeding them in the car for a week to help them get used to being in the car.
By making your cat more comfortable during your travels, you can reduce the chances of motion sickness. If motion sickness is a real issue with Felix, contact your vet, who may be able to prescribe some medication. Do not give your cat nausea medication without consulting a vet.
Whenever traveling with a cat in a car, always keep them in their crate. Letting a cat loose in a car could distract you when driving and cause severe injuries if your little lion gets in an accident.
The main defining task is to crate train your cat, which will help them feel safe and reduce your cat's anxiety and stress.
It's also a good idea to let your cat familiarize themselves with your car so they feel at home. Consider letting your cat roam around your car for a while so they can scent the upholstery.
If possible, get your cat used to a car from as young as possible. Kittens are much more accepting than adult cats, making it easier to build a positive association. Crate training is also easier from a young age.
Placing the carrier for your kitten to explore, putting their favorite bedding in the crate, and putting catnip in the crate are all great ways of helping your cat adjust.
After you feel like your cat is used to their crate and your vehicle, it's a good idea to do a few practice runs to see how your cat reacts. Try driving around the block and turning your engine on and off.
These short runs will also help avoid a negative association with cars caused by only visiting the vets. If your cat stays calm, you can extend your journey a little. However, if your cat shows signs of stress, then take them home to avoid creating a negative association.
There are a couple of different training methods below, but you'll probably want to combine them for the best "pawssible" results.