Let’s get something straight. Scratches is not the name of my cat. Scratches are what I had on my right hand and left shoulder moments after I left the house with my now 1-year-old tabby cat, Joey.
Good thinking on my part for packing a first aid kit. Poor thinking on my part for not making sure I clipped his claws before we left.
I should back up a little. I was leaving en route from Kankakee to Wilmington so my boyfriend could drive us to Sedalia, Mo., for a wedding. Why not leave him at home, you’re wondering? Well, I love that little rambunctious troublemaker, and we’ve never spent a whole day apart, let alone three.
Weeks before we left in mid-May, I purchased a pet carseat and set it up in the car, packed with his food, water, a couple toys and my iPad set with YouTube videos of birds in order to keep Joey calm. I thought it was a layup.
Wrong. It was a blocked shot. Maybe 10 minutes after I got him in the car, hand and shoulder bleeding and all, he was panicked and crying up a storm. The stress mixed with seeing his little face in distress, knowing there was nothing I could say in order to put him at ease, caused me to cry.
After wiping my useless tears away, I somehow got him buckled into his seat, by way of his handy harness that I also purchased on Amazon. The six-hour drive to Sedalia was fairly quiet from Joey. He watched his birds and even slept in my lap for a little bit.
At the Best Western State Fair Inn in Sedalia, he was very calm, using his litter box correctly, eating and drinking as normal and even sleeping in our bed, snuggled next to Nick, upside down, on his pillow. I was a little jealous of Nick.
Getting him in the car on the way home was a breeze, but he gave us hell for at least an hour and a half, crying very loudly. I almost cried again, but I prevailed. Getting home and watching him get readjusted might’ve been the best part of the entire trip. Much love to the new happily married couple, of course.
If you’re thinking about traveling with your panicky kitten or cat, here’s a few tips on how to get through it:
• Don’t. This isn’t a joke. Think about all the stress you wouldn’t have to put yourself through. Have them boarded at a place you trust or find a reputable pet sitter to check in on your furry loved one.
• If you have to take them with you, make sure that their claws are clipped. That way, you can save your Band-aids for less embarrassing cuts and scrapes.
• Bring plenty of treats. Treats are incentives and training devices. In this instance, treats will be your best friend.
• Get a harness and a leash. Sure, it might look stupid, but you don’t want a lost pet.
• Be patient with your pet. Shed a couple tears if you have to, but remember that they’re just a (mostly) defenseless animal who’s putting their trust in you to care for them.