Rolling Down the Highways
RC travels with a harness and ID tag, in case he'd get out while we're on the road. If RC is traveling with only one adult in the car, then he's confined to his traveling case which is seat belted in place. So far, he has talked us out of keeping him in his carrier when we're sailing down the expressway as a family. There's no doubt we're taking a chance that we won't be in an accident with RC loose in the car. And, of course, there's also a possibility that RC will be the cause of an accident by getting in the driver's way. It is a serious risk and you should consider it carefully when making your own decision about traveling with your pet. We think we'll revise our methods in the future.
The passenger assumes responsibility for keeping RC out of the driver's lap ... and off the driver's headrest ... and out from under the gas and brake pedals. Initially, this was a full time job, but RC seems resigned to accepting the restrictions. Nonetheless, the passenger must stay attentive when RC is awake ... One time I caught him in the nick of time --- in a heart beat, he leapt from the floor board to my lap, clawed his way to my shoulder leaving bloody track marks and was headed for the driver's side of the car. An 18 wheeler had decided to pass us on the right hand-side, on a blind mountain curve, with horn blaring --- scary to say the least. Had RC made it to Mark, who was driving, before I grabbed him, it could have turned into a nightmare ... so think carefully about leaving your cat loose.
RC spends most of his time sleeping under the passenger's feet during the day. At night, he sits on the back deck and watches the traffic go by. When we first started traveling with RC, he seemed most comfortable when he could climb on something high, yet familar, in the back seat to keep an eye on everything.
We keep his litter box on the floor board behind the driver's seat (cutting off RC's ability to crawl under the seat and pop out entangled in the driver's feet) when we're driving a car or on the console if we're in the pick-up. He normally only uses it when we're stopped, but it's saved the day when some unexpected monster sped by. (Continue)
Whenever we both have to leave the vehicle, we try to take RC with us. Of course, when you travel as much as we do, there are times when RC can't join us. We keep these times as short as possible and take extra steps to insure his comfort.
It's difficult to appreciate how quickly a car's inside temperature creeps up when it's left parked. Even if you park in the shade, crack the windows for fresh air, and the outside temperature is only in the 60s or 70s, a car becomes a hot house for the furry member of the family.
We leave a thermometer hanging from the dashboard so we know the current temperature as we travel. If RC has to stay in the car by himself, we set up 2 plastic jugs filled with ice. We know it was hot when we return to the car and find a wet, but relaxed, cat who has snuggled up to the ice jugs to keep his internal systems purring. See Keeping Cool in Any Temperature to learn how to insure your pet stays comfortable while traveling.
If you want to travel with multiple cats in your car, learn how a fellow visitor, Beth, handles it. Amazingly, she always travels alone ... my hat's off to her for juggling all that responsibility so gracefully.
If you have specific questions about traveling with your cat in a car, see the frequently asked questions section.
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