Why Do Cats Hate Riding In Cars? (5 Reasons & Tips)

Do your cats get anxious when you try to take them on car trips? If so, you’re not alone.

Many cats don’t enjoy riding in cars, but there are some things you can do to help make the experience more comfortable for your feline companion.

In this article, we will explore the five key reasons why cats may not like being in a car and provide tips on how to ease their anxiety.

Key takeaways

Cats dislike car rides due to their innate territory-bound nature and sensitivity to change.
The unfamiliar environment and movement of a car can cause stress and anxiety in cats.
Negative associations, such as trips to the vet, can contribute to a cat’s aversion to car rides.
Proper conditioning, comfort measures, and gradual exposure can help make car rides less stressful for your cat.
Consult with a vet or a pet behaviorist for persistent or severe travel-related anxiety in your cat.

Why Do Cats Hate Riding in Cars?

Cats may not like riding in cars for various reasons, including lack of control, stress from unfamiliarity, motion sickness, negative associations with the car, and security and comfort needs not being met.

Tips for Travelling in a Car with A Cat!

To make the experience more comfortable for cats, it’s essential to prepare them for the trip, choose the right carrier, pack essential supplies, and use distraction tactics to keep them calm during the drive.

Additionally, providing cats with a safe zone, such as an appropriately sized pet carrier, can give them a sense of security while traveling.

Regular car rides, plenty of sturdy surfaces for them to perch on during the journey, and thick blankets on the back seat can also make the ride more comfortable.

Finally, take your cat on short pleasure drives to break the negative connection and associate it with positive experiences.

By planning and taking the time to make the necessary preparations, cat owners can enjoy a safe and stress-free car journey with their feline companions.

Let’s look into the five reasons for why cats hate riding in cars and the five tips for travelling in a car with a cat in more detail.

Why Do Cats Hate Riding In Cars

5 Reasons Why Cats Hate Riding In Cars

1. Lack of Control

Cats, by nature, like to be in control of their environment.

When they’re in a car, they have no control over where they’re going or how fast they’re getting there.

This can cause anxiety and stress for some cats and may lead to the feeling that they are trapped and unable to escape if something goes wrong.

By providing your cat with a safe zone “such as an appropriately sized pet carrier“ you can give them a sense of security while traveling.

2. Stress from Unfamiliarity

Many cats don’t enjoy riding in the car because of unfamiliarity. Most cats aren’t used to being in a moving vehicle and may feel overwhelmed by this change in their environment.

To counter this anxiety, provide your cat with regular car rides “even if they are just around the block“ so they can become used to the motion of the car and build a positive association with it.

Allow your cat some time to explore the vehicle before you start driving and make sure there are plenty of sturdy surfaces for them to perch on during the journey, such as a pet carrier or seatbelt harness.

3. Fear of Motion Sickness

Motion sickness is another common reason why cats may not enjoy car rides.

If a cat feels like they are overwhelmed in the car, they may experience nausea and vomiting as a result of their anxiety.

To counteract this, try to make the ride as comfortable for them as possible by using thick blankets on the back seat, providing plenty of ventilation and keeping stops short.

You can also try different calming techniques such as giving them treats or playing music that relaxes them.

4. Negative Associations with the Car

Cats may also have formed a negative association with the car.

If they’ve had an unpleasant experience in the past, such as a trip to the vet or groomer, they may think of these scary experiences when they get into the car.

To break this connection, take your cat on short pleasure drives instead of just going to the vet and make sure to associate it with positive experiences like petting, treats, and verbal reassurance.

5. Security and Comfort Needs Not Met in the Car

Cats often feel unsafe and uncomfortable in the car because their security and comfort needs are not being met.

Tight, enclosed spaces make cats feel vulnerable and out of control, which can be particularly stressful for some cats.

Additionally, the movement of a moving car can affect a cat’s balance, making them feel even more insecure.

To help ease your cat’s anxiety in the car, provide plenty of soft bedding to give them a snug feeling of security as well as something to grab onto during sudden movements.

5 Tips for Travelling in a Car with A Cat!

Traveling with your cat in the car can be a stressful experience, but it doesn’t have to be.

With the right preparations, you and your feline friend can enjoy a safe and pleasant car journey. Learn the best tips and tricks for traveling with a cat in a car here.

1. Prepare Your Cat for the Trip

Before hitting the road, it’s important to get your cat comfortable with the idea of being inside a car.

Start by slowly introducing your cat to the car. Encourage them to get inside and explore by offering treats or toys.

Allow your cat enough time to investigate and become familiar with the car before you start driving.

You may also want to consider purchasing a special travel carrier so they have their own safe space within the car.

2. Choose the Right Car Carrier

When it comes to selecting a car carrier for your feline friend, there are several different materials and designs available.

Choose the size that best fits your cat and ensure that it’s easy for them to get in and out of.

Soft-sided crates made from breathable fabric are best for car journeys, as they provide adequate air circulation and insulation to keep your cat safe and comfortable during the ride.

Here’s an example of a cat car carrier that will help ensure your feline friend is comfortable when traveling by cat, especially over long distances.

One for Pets Portable 2-in-1 Double Pet Kennel/Shelter, Fabric, Black/Royal Blue 20″x20″x39″ – Car Seat-Belt Fixture Included (Black)

$165.00

* Travel Carrier: Built-in straps that allow safe connection to a seatbelt; Easy to set up and fold flat in seconds; Pad cover is removable and washable
* Cat Travel Carrier: Pet carrier/dog carrier with multiple entrances; Interior hooks for hanging the hammock (Hammock is optional); Comes with an individual carry case for easy storage

The One for Pets Portable 2-in-1 Double Pet Kennel/Shelter is a versatile pet carrier that can be used as a kennel or shelter. It is made of durable fabric and comes in black and royal blue colors.

The carrier is designed for small dogs or cats and measures 20″x20″x39″. It includes a car seat-belt fixture to keep your pet safe during travel.

Customers who have purchased this carrier seem to be generally satisfied with their purchase.

They appreciate the carrier’s versatility and the fact that it can be used both indoors and outdoors.

The fabric material is breathable and provides good ventilation, which is important for pet comfort.

The carrier is also lightweight and easy to assemble and disassemble, making it convenient for travel.

One potential downside of this carrier is that it may not be as sturdy as some customers would like. Some have reported that the carrier can tip over easily or that the zippers are not very durable.

Additionally, some customers have found that the carrier may not be suitable for larger pets or for pets who are not accustomed to being in a carrier.

Overall, the One for Pets Portable 2-in-1 Double Pet Kennel/Shelter appears to be a good option for pet owners who need a versatile carrier for travel or for use as a temporary shelter.

It is important to note that this carrier is specifically designed for small pets such as cats.

This is just one example. There are plenty of options here.

3. Pack Essential Supplies for Your Cat and Prep Your Car

Before you hit the road, it’s important to make sure you pack all the essential equipment your cat will need while they’re away from home.

Pack enough food and water for their journey, plus some treats, just in case! Don’t forget to bring a litter box, litter scoop, and cleaning wipes.

Additionally, make sure that your car is suitable for carrying your furry companion by checking the air conditioning filter, temperature settings and clearing any clutter from the back seats or boot of your car.

4. Use Distraction Tactics to Keep Your Cat Calm During the Drive

Put a few of your cat’s favorite own toys in the car with them or stick a few pieces of catnip around their travel carrier.

Noise-cancelling headphones can also help to keep your cat calm and relaxed in the car if they are prone to getting alarmed by loud noises.

Finally, use aromatherapy to soothe your pet by diffusing lavender or chamomile essential oils around their carrier.

5. Planning is Key to a Safe and Stress-Free Trip With Your Cat in the Car

Taking the time to plan a safe and stress-free journey for you and your cat is essential.

Before hitting the open road, make sure to research your route ahead of time for pit stops, vet visits, or pet-friendly hotels.

Also, save an up-to-date copy of your cat’s health records just in case he needs any medical attention enroute.

Finally, triple check that his secured pet carrier is secure before hitting the gas pedal.

Final Words on Why Do Cats Hate Riding In Cars and Tips for Travelling in a Car with A Cat!

There are five main reasons why cats may not enjoy riding in cars, including lack of control, stress from unfamiliarity, fear of motion sickness, negative associations with the car, and security and comfort needs not being met.

However, with proper preparations, such as introducing your cat to the car, choosing the right carrier, packing essential supplies, and using distraction tactics, you and your feline friend can enjoy a safe and pleasant car journey.

It is important to be patient, provide plenty of reassurance and positive experiences, and make the car a comfortable and secure environment for your cat.

Sources:

  1. How to Travel With Your Cat | ASPCA Pet Insurance
  2. Travel Safety Tips | ASPCA
  3. 8 Tips to Help Cats Enjoy Car Travel (thesprucepets.com)
  4. How to Take a Car Trip With Your Cat (thesprucepets.com)
  5. 8 Tips For Traveling with a Cat | PetMD
  6. A Guide for Traveling By Car With Your Pet | PetMD
  7. How To Travel With A Cat | AKC Reunite
  8. Traveling with Pets | Importation | CDC
  9. Travel safely with your pet | The Humane Society of the United States
  10. Traveling With Your Dog or Cat | American Veterinary Medical Association (avma.org)

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