Traveling with Your Cat

Traveling with your cat

At some point in most pet owners lives, it becomes necessary to travel with your pet. Unfortunately for cat owners, most cats are not inclined to enjoy the travel experience. This handout will explain some tips for keeping your cat comfortable and helping them tolerate the travel experience.

Cats tend to naturally be highly territorial animals. Unfortunately, most travel destinations do not tend to lend themselves to be known and comfortable territory for your cat. On top of introducing them to new surroundings upon arrival, your pet has likely also been confined in a travel carrier for the trip. This confinement may also be stressful to your pet as many cats do not like to be confined to small and non-familiar spaces. This combination of lack of familiarity with their surroundings and control over their surroundings tends to make travel an overall stressful experience.

Your cat may come to tolerate the travel experience with time. However, unless a cat was introduced to travel as a kitten, it may never come to enjoy excursions away from its familiar territory. In order to lessen the stress during a big trip and prepare your cat for the travel experience it may be helpful to practice some of the following tips:

  • Introduce your pet to their carrier in familiar and comfortable territory. This will help combat the negative association that your cat may have developed by linking the carrier to undesirable outcomes, such as the vet or kennel.
  • Make the carrier as familiar and friendly as possible. Line the carrier with a favorite blanket and include a special treat or toy to entice your cat to spend time inside.
  • Introduce your pet to short, frequent car trips with pleasurable destinations.
  • Include treats, toys or other special items to ensure that your cat associates positive experiences with the travel excursions.

Choosing an appropriate travel carrier will play a large role in how comfortable both you and your cat are with traveling. Aspects of the carrier should be chosen with the animals comfort, your ease of transport and any outside regulations, such as the airlines, in mind. Some things to consider for your comfort are the way the cat is put into the carrier, such as top, side or front entry and whether the carrier has soft or hard sides. The ease of cleaning should also be considered. Most plastic shell and wire mesh carriers are easy to wipe clean, whereas, some cloth luggage-type carriers require machine washing. It is also ideal for the carrier to have a separate bottom tray to hold an absorbent pad to keep fecal matter away from your pet. If your cat prefers to be hidden from view, then a covered, enclosed carrier would be ideal. Whereas if your cat prefers to view what is happening around them, then perhaps a wire mesh carrier would suit.

girl with cat

However, before purchasing any carrier, check with your preferred mode of travel and accommodations to make sure that your ideal carrier also fits their guidelines and regulations. Some general guidelines to follow for purchasing a carrier to be used on an aircraft are that the walls of the carrier should have adequate ventilation (preferably three sides); the walls of the carrier should be strong enough to prevent it from being crushed; the carrier must have sturdy handles; an attached water bowl must be present and the cage should allow the animal to stand up and turn around easily.

Basic Tips for Airline Travel with Your Cat:

  • Determine all airline regulations for acclimation, carrier specifications, baggage liability, and vaccination records several weeks prior to flying. Bring all pertinent veterinary records and other documentation to the airport with you to avoid delays.
  • Schedule a direct flight if possible. This will minimize the chances of a delay and of your pet having to wait in inclimate weather to be loaded into cargo.
  • Have your cat examined by its veterinarian before the trip to determine its suitability to fly. Your veterinarian may recommend a mild sedative for cats that may be overly stressed during their travel.
  • Some airlines will allow passengers to travel with small pets in coach and first class. Inquire as to this possibility and the regulations well before arriving at the airport.
  • Make sure that your pets carrier is well marked with permanent identification, including your contact information, flight number, destination and destination contact information.
  • Consider in advance all food, water and medication that you may need for your cat and be sure to pack it in an easily accessible location.

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Puppy Care

Congratulations! Bringing home a new puppy is fun, but it is also a huge responsibility that lasts its lifetime, which can sometimes reach 12 to 18 years or longer. The first six months of your puppies life are the most critical and establishes his health and behavior for the rest of his life.puppy You, as the puppies advocate, must ensure he is protected from disease with a series of vaccinations and effective monthly parasite control. Thousands of inadequately vaccinated puppies never make it to see their first birthday because of diseases such as parvovirus and distemper. Thousands more will die from heartworm disease from the bite of one single mosquito, and even more may succumb to intestinal parasites, such as hookworms, even before they even reach 2 months old.

The majority of dogs relinquished to animal shelters is usually because of behavioral issues, such as dog aggressiveness that results in a dog bite, the inability to house train or unruly and destructive behavior. These are natural tendencies in dogs, and it is your responsibility to learn the how the dog thinks and use the natural, instinctive pack leadership skills to effectively modify both you and your dog’s behavior and solidify a great and rewarding relationship with your new puppy and family

Puppy proofing your home is another safety precaution you must establish. There are several hazards to young puppies you must look out for, such as electrical cords, toxic houseplants, foods that must not be fed, and toxic substances that need to be secured. Providing a safe haven for your puppy, such as a crate, when you are away, will keep him out of trouble and will also hasten house training.

There is so much more that I want to share with you that I have developed a series of newsletters and videos to help you take great care of your puppy and then well into his senior years. Register for my puppy care newsletter and you will also get some bonus e-books.

Recommendations for Puppies

Age 2, 4, 6 weeks of age

* deworm for hookworms and roundworms
* check for other intestinal parasites such as coccidia, tapeworms, whipworms and giardia

6-8 weeks of age

* Wellness Examination (WE) Check eyes, ears, heart, lungs, teeth, and other structures.
* DHPP (Distemper, Hepatitis, Parainfluenza, Parvo, )
* Parasite Check
* Dewormer
* Start Heartworm preventative
* Start Flea medication
* Behavior counseling (crate training)

12 weeks

* Wellness Exam
* DHPP #2
* Bordetella #1
* Leptospirosis #1 (4 way)
* Dewormer
* Heartworm and Flea medication

16 weeks

* Wellness Exam
* DHPP#3
* Rabies
* Lepto #2
* Bordetella #2
* Heartworm and Flea medications

5months and older

* Spay or neuter
* Blood profile to screen for congenital problems prior to surgery
* give heartworm and flea medication every month all year round
* feed high quality pet foods, avoid generic brands
* Start getting your pet used to brushing teeth while they are young.

10months old

* parvo booster
* bordetella booster
* parasite check


* Wellnes Examination
* Rabies
* Leptospirosis
* Bordetella
* Heartworm (Erhlichia and Lyme) test
* Parasite Check
* Lyme booster
* Giardia booster
* If pet has received 2 Rabies Vaccinations exactly 365 days or less in a row, then pet may go to a Rabies injection every 3 years. If the two vaccines are more than 365 days apart, then they must get another vaccine within the year.
* Pets age 7 years for every 1 calender year. Physical exams on a bi-annual basis are a good way to screen for health problems before they become major.

Dr. Debra Garrison
Dr. Debra Garrison

Dental Health Care for your Pet

Caring for your dog's teeth

Your pet’s dentistry will improve your pet’s health by removing the plaque, tartar and bacteria inside of your pet’s mouth. You will notice better breath.
When your pet comes in the hospital for his/her dentistry, we will examine your pet for any other underlying problems and we recommend a complete blood count and blood profile to screen the internal organs for any problems. Your pet will then be sedated and an IV catheter placed to administer fluids to maintain blood pressure and medication administration during the anesthesia. Your pet is on an oxygen machine with inhalant anesthesia and monitored by a pulse oximeter. The mouth is then examined for tumors and the extent of dental disease. Dental radiographs can be taken to examine the roots and problems beneath the gum line. The teeth are then cleaned with an ultrasonic scaler. Very loose or severely infected teeth are extracted. Deep periodontal pockets are then infused with an antibiotic gel. The teeth are then polished with a special paste, treated with a flouride foam and finished with Oravet dental sealant. Your pet is also given an antibiotic injection and depending on the severity of dental disease and any extractions a post-operative pain injection. Your pet will be sent home with a follow-up round or antibiotics, and if necessary, pain medication. Oravet is also recommended for you to apply to your pet’s teeth weekly to reduce the amount of plaque returining to your pet’s teeth. Home dental care is vital to maintain a healthy mouth.
Home dental care includes daily brushing, special chews such as CET and Greenies, dental diet, oral rinses, and Oravet. Please ask our staff for suggestions that both you and your pet will accept.