It is a well know fact—few cats like driving in a car. They are sensitive to the motion beneath them, a movement they have no control over them. It is a shame to have to leave the cat at home when you are gong away just for a weekend, just because they hate car rides. But you can teach your cat to enjoy a car ride; many have successfully done so.
It’s best to start young: Kittens generally adjust to brand new experiences and surroundings more readily than adult or senior cats, so begin the travel-training program as early on as possible. If your cat is past his/her kittendom, don’t fret: Adult and senior cats can still learn to submit to car rides.
If your cat already has complicatedness traveling in the car, consult your veterinarian to see if your cat could be getting motion sickness. Symptoms include drooling, vomiting nausea, and diarrhea. If you deduce that your cat is getting motion sickness, your veterinarian may suggest a medicine such as Dramamine to treat the nausea. Never give your cat medication without asking your veterinarian.
Practice by just getting in the car: Bring your cat along, safely secured in her/his carrier, out to your car; engine off. Strap her/him in with a seatbelt and sit close to her/him. If your cat is relaxed, give her/him a favorite treat. Replicate, slowly but surely increasing the amount of time she/he has to wait in the car until she/he gets treats. If she/he seems distress or tries to jump out, don’t give her/him a treat and repeat again with less time in the car. When you bring her/him back into the house, let her/him out peacefully and without fanfare.
Put into practice turning on the engine: After your feline learns that sitting in the carrier in the car is acceptable, try turning on the engine before giving out the treats… Add this to your schedule, rewarding composed behavior with treats and stopping when you notice nervous behavior.
Try driving around the block: Once your cat can stay unruffled when you have the engine on for a few minutes, try driving around the block and reward your cat with a treat. After she/he’s consumed the treat, bring her/him back inside and let her/him out to run free. If your feline did well on that short trip, replicate the method, little by little increasing the distance you drive and rewarding your cat for staying cool. Having a second person to give your cat treats while you drive is very helpful.
Drive around at different speeds and also around corners: Once your kitty is a natural at driving around your neighborhood, begin driving one exit on a highway and a tiny distance on a winding road. When you are in a safe place to stop, pull over and give your cat a treat if she/ he’s done a good job…
Give driving to your veterinarian’s office a try. You’ll find your cat may be able to tell where you’re headed simply from the twists and turns of the road. So get her/him accustomed to the route you take to and from the “doctor’s” office by following the same practice described above, rewarding tranquil behavior.
Regardless of your best efforts, a few cats may never fully get at ease being in the car. For those cats, you may want to consider finding a veterinarian within walking distance of your house, or finding one that does house calls. You can also find a good cat sitter that your feline trusts when you must be separated from your beloved feline.