1. If you’re only travelling
If your cat is travelling with you by car or train, they need a transport box. This must be ventilated and large enough to stand upright, lie down and turn around in. Plastic boxes or kennels are popular as they are stable and easy to clean. Some cats don’t like transport boxes, and in this case we recommend a container you can put your pet in from the top, or special nylon travel bags. If you’re travelling by car, make sure that the box can be firmly secured. Your insurance is not liable if you cause an accident because your pet has not been properly housed! If you are travelling with cats by train, ideally take your pet with you to your seat in their transport container. Don’t leave them alone in a draughty luggage car.
If you’re travelling by plane, you need a transport box that meets the requirements of your airline company. This must be stable, waterproof, escape and injury-proof, ventilated on two sides and large enough to stand up, turn around and lie down in. Food and water has to be able to be provided on longer flights. Some airlines let you take smaller cats (up to around 5 kg) on board and stow them under your seat. You need a hand luggage-sized transport box (approx. 20 x 40 x 55 cm) if you plan on doing this.
2. If you’re only going to the vet….
A pet transport box is the best and safest way to transport your cat to the vet. Do not carry them in your arms or on a leash like a dog. Risk that they will break free and run away in panic is too great. Get your animal used to the box. Many cat owners only get the box out of storage when it is time to go to the vet and as a consequence, an anxious cat associates this with something bad. Integrate the container into the cat’s everyday life. Either always have it in your home, filled with cosy blankets so that your cat can seek it out as a place of retreat, or start ‛box training’ several days before the vet appointment. First, lure your cat into the box with a toy or treat. If this works, take the next step and close the door and reward him or her again with a treat. The aim is to get the transport box to smell like your cat and for your cat to associate it with a positive experience. Take the cat in the box with you when you go driving, so that they develop a feel for the car. You can also practice examining your cat’s face, mouth, ears and paws from a young age. Having a cat accustomed to such contact can only be an advantage.
3. If you’re moving to a new place
Depending on temperament, cats will hide when the moving boxes start piling up and no piece of furniture is where it used to be. Or they make their protest known. They attack the open boxes, getting under the feet of their human companions who are working so hard and cause them to trip and generally putting themselves in life-threatening situations. The very sensitive amongst cats will stick to their person come flood and high water, whine softly and seek out body contact. Choose a room to be cleared last or which needs little dismantling. Put the cat’s favourite bed in that room together with a food bowl and a water dish and the litter tray. Now pack up everything and ensure that the cat furniture (cat bed, cushion, scratching post, other bowls, toys, food)is the first thing to be unpacked in the new home. It is imperative to use the old and familiar cat things, do not use new ones. Your feline will need a sanctuary after the move where he or she can relax. For the actual move, put the cat in a carrier. In the new home, allow the cat first to explore the furnished room with the familiar cat items. Only when your new home is ready and the cat cannot disappear or get hurt, allow him or her to explore. Stay with your cat in those first scary moments, and encourage her to play with the familiar furry play mice or balls. Observe your cat closely: Is the cat’s body relaxed or is the cat clearly tense? If the former is the case, offer some really tasty treat, if possible at the future eating spot. In the latter case, sit down quietly on a chair and radiate peace until your little bundle of nerves has calmed down somewhat.