5 Tips To Keep Cats From Meowing On The Plane
Planning to move to a new city or visit relatives with your fur baby? Then be prepared to accommodate your cat’s physical and emotional needs! Most cats will not appreciate air travel, and there is a good chance you will be bothered by lots of yowling on board.
But, even if your cat is not used to traveling, there are some tips you can follow to make the air travel less excruciating for you both. The key is to prepare weeks before your flight, so that you have enough time to train your cat and to purchase all the things you will need. Remember that cats are very unpredictable; a sweet and happy cat might turn into an aggressive one when brought into an unfamiliar environment.
How to keep your furball calm
Your cat is likely going to hate the experience on the plane. The change in air pressure during takeoff and landing can be uncomfortable enough for humans, so imagine how much worse it is for our sensitive furry friends who do not understand why it is happening. If you have to travel with your cat due to a relocation or a long vacation, there are ways to help alleviate his anxiety and fear.
1. Train your cat to like his carrier
Does your cat freak out at the sight of a carrier? You are not alone. Most cat owners get frustrated at the sight of their cat hissing and swatting at anyone who tries to force them into a carrier. And, if your cat hates his carrier, it will be all the more challenging to travel with him on a plane.
So, if you have plans to move to a new city or take a long vacation somewhere, it is best to make preparations ahead of time that include training your kitty to get used to his carrier. Start slowly by leaving it open near his play area. Let him explore and go inside whenever he wants to. When he starts feeling comfortable inside, try taking him on short car rides until he gets used to traveling.
2. Stop using positive reinforcement
Having a noisy cat inside the plane can be bothersome to other passengers, not to mention a little embarrassing. It might be tempting to give your pet attention and treats to stop him from meowing, but this can actually be counterproductive.
The best approach is to stop using positive reinforcement when your cat shows undesirable behavior, such as being too noisy. Wait for a little while until he stops meowing and then reward him with treats right away. Your cat will soon understand the logic of getting rewards when he stays quiet.
3. Use pheromones to calm your cat
Pheromones are natural chemical messages released by cats through special glands found in their tails, cheeks, paw pads, lower ears, and certain other body parts. One of the many uses of pheromones is for territorial marking, which is why, whenever your cat smells this scent, he immediately associates it with a secure place such as home.
Vets highly recommend using synthetic pheromones to help lower anxiety in cats. The presence of the familiar scent is known to have a soothing effect on our furry friends, making them feel safer in a new environment. Here are some of the top recommended products:
4. Provide treats or water
Meowing can also be a sign of a hungry or thirsty cat, so go ahead and give your pet some water and a few tasty treats. Do not give him too much water and food during long flights, however, or you will have to deal with a disgusting mess later on.
5. Give your cat attention
You should only do this if it is otherwise impossible to silence your distressed cat. Giving your kitty attention is a form of positive reinforcement, and you do not want your furball to think that he can always get what he wants by meowing. Make sure to train him well when you are no longer traveling so that your future trips will be smoother.
Should you place your cat in the cargo space?
Traveling can cause your cat’s stress levels to shoot up, which can cause frustration for you and other passengers. If you do not want to deal with this, then the best solution might be to put your pet in the cargo area. Most airlines have this special place for pets so you can fly at ease and not bother anyone else.
Another perk of using the cargo space is that you can travel with a larger crate that has enough space for a small bed, litter box, and bowls. Your cat might feel safer and more comfy here, rather than being cramped in a smaller carrier – especially during a long-haul flight.
The only downside of using the cargo area is that it can be expensive. If you want to choose this option, make sure to coordinate with your chosen airline ahead of time.
What to prepare before the flight
Flying with your fur-buddy requires some extra time to prepare. To maintain your sanity and make the trip enjoyable for you and your cat, here are some things you need to prepare for the long trip:
- Your cat’s health certificate
- First aid kit for your pet
- Pet bag that contains all the essentials
- Travel crate or carrier
- Toys to keep your cat entertained
- Portable litter box
- Delicious cat treats
- Leash and harness
- Cat collar and tags
- Feeding and water bowls
- Cat bed
- Pheromone products
Can I sedate my cat for a flight?
The answer is no. Some reputable sources might suggest sedating your cat to keep him from being anxious during the long hours of travel. However, based on recent research, this could have dangerous consequences to your cat’s health.
Sedating your pet can greatly affect his brain function as the medicine causes confusion and balance problems. Your cat will not be able to process or think normally, causing him to worry and panic. Aside from the altered brain function and stress, tranquilizers can slow down the heart rate, reduce body temperature, and worsen any existing respiratory problems. If you truly love your furry friend, you do not want any of these to happen!
Thankfully, there are safer ways to deal with the stress of traveling with your furball; we have discussed these tips above.
Traveling with your cat can be stressful, especially if he is not accustomed to it. As much as possible, you do not want your pet to be a nuisance to other passengers – remember, not everyone on board is a cat lover. Yowling and meowing during a flight are just some of the signs that your cat is distressed. Thankfully, though, there are some things you can do to lessen your pet’s discomfort and make the whole experience less stressful.
Importantly, never forget to visit your vet ahead of time. Have your furry friend assessed by the vet to be sure that he is healthy enough to fly. Sedation should be your last option if you really need to fly your cat and your vet advises you to do so.
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