Dear Porky and Buddy,
Last week you talked about dogs in cars and that was all well and good, but what about cats in cars?
I would love to take my cat, Bernie, to Florida with me in the winter, but if I even put him in the car for a few minutes to take him to the vet he howls the whole time as if I was torturing him.
If there a way to get him to enjoy or at least tolerate car trips.
I hate leaving him with a neighbor every winter.
As far as Bernie is concerned you are torturing him. You are taking him out of his normal territory and then subjecting him to the horrors of the veterinarian’s office. Apologies to all the vets out there, but you know what we mean.
Cats like routine and they like to maintain to their own little territory.
To persuade Bernie to like or at least tolerate car trips you have to work toward meeting those needs.
You want him to learn to associate cars with fun, happy familiar experiences within what he thinks of as his territory instead of just trips to the vet.
It will take patience and time, but you can do it.
First, we are assuming that you always put him in a carrier to take him for short trips.
But, for longer trips you will need a larger carrier big enough for his food and water, his litter pan and a nice comfy bed.
Set up a carrier like that now in your house that he can just use and get accustomed to.
It may help to fashion a cover of some sort so he thinks of it as a nice little hideout area.
Even though he’ll be inside a crate, it’s helpful for Bernie to experience positive things about the car before you ever start out on a trip.
So make the car part of his territory by allowing him to be in the car uncrated and with you for short periods so he can get his scent in the car and claim it as his own.
Place his bed or blanket inside the car on the back seat before you start.
That way, his scent is already inside.
Repeat these brief car visits a couple times a day for several days.
Once he’s calm in the car, feed all his meals in the car for a week, or offer very high value treats that he gets at no other time.
If he is more motivated by a special toy, let him play with that in the car. He should learn that good things in life happen when you’re near the car.
Once Bernie accepts the car as part of his territory, place him in his special carrier, set it on the back seat and start the car.
But don’t go anywhere yet.
Do this over and over as many times a day as Bernie can tolerate until he seems to be used to it.
Each time, as soon as you let him out of his crate, give him a treat or play with him.
When that seems to be going well, after you start the car, back the car to the end of the driveway and stop.
Do this two or three times in a row, always letting Bernie out and rewarding him after you return.
Continue increasing the car trip time by small increments.
Make every car trip upbeat and positive so the experience makes the Bernie look forward to the next trip.
The process may seem like it takes forever!
But it works.
And if it doesn’t work, here’s the reality, you have a great neighbor whom Bernie likes and apparently considers just an extension of his territory, so that is not a bad solution.
You may miss him, but we would guess that he doesn’t miss you.
He’s a cat after all.
And speaking of cats in cars, now you can donate your car, boat, truck, RV, Jet Ski or snowmobile to OCHS and receive a tax deduction.
This no cost, no hassle process begins when you contact our fundraising partner, Donation Line LLC at 877-227-7487.
Make sure to ask for us by name or our extension #3141 or you can go to www.donationline.com and just search for the Oswego County Humane Society and fill out the online form.
It’s fast, painless and a good way to honor the fond memories of your vehicles and the pets who enjoyed them.
And you get that rusty heap full of hair balls out of your yard.
The Oswego County Humane Society provides spay/neuter services and assistance, fostering and adoption of animals in urgent need, humane education programs, and information and referrals to animal lovers throughout Oswego County.
Located at 110 W. Second St., Oswego, NY.
Phone: (315) 207-1070.
Email: [email protected]
Because People and Pets Are Good for Each Other.
The Oswego County Humane Society provides:
Information and referrals.
Fostering and adoption of companion animals in urgent need.
Adoption assistance to families.
Help with spay/neuter and placement of free-roaming cats.
Humane education programs.
We do not operate a shelter.
We receive no government funds and no funds from any national organization and depend upon the generosity of individuals and businesses for operating support.
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