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Pet Travel Tips From the Editor's Cat

Le petit chat, Michelle, sums up what every kitten needs on a long road trip.

Alors, c'est Michelle.

Editor Julie Pendray (JP) is busy this week, so she has asked me to write this column. In fact, if it goes well, I might become a regular! There's no payment yet, except perhaps salmon treats.

So, I'm named Michelle now (formerly Aspen as seen at the cage in the window of Sonoma Home.) JP says it has to be pronounced Mee-chelle as in The Beatles' song..."Michelle ma belle, sont des mots qui vont tres bien ensemble."

She was practising her rusty high school French with a friend, when she turned and looked at me and said, "Michelle, ma belle? Comment ca va?" and it stuck. So, goodbye Aspen, hello me.

What do I know about travel? Not much except going in the car from a local Sonoma farm—where I was born—to a foster home, via Pets Lifeline, to Sonoma Home and then home with the editor. Let the adventure begin!

JP and I were going to settle in nicely until the spring, but a family birthday awaits us out of town. I get to see my new adopted family! So, we're hitting the road for Thanksgiving!

We thought there might be others like us out there, so JP asked me to write these tips. Here goes:

  • Make sure your pet is healthy like I am to make the journey and be comfortable.
  • Get her used to the car before the trip by driving her around as often as you can. (You might see me in Sonoma this week!)
  • Ensure she has a micro-chip identification and a tag with your name and phone number on it. Carry a photo of her.
  • Make sure her vaccinations are up to date. (I have to get my 4-month-old rabies shot when I get back. Yuk!)
  • Use a pet carrier, so your kitty is safe and not distracting the driver. Put a seat belt around it in case of an accident—you don't want her thrown around the car.
  • Remember a litter tray in the carrier.
  • Bring toys. Don't give them all at once. Cats love surprises!
  • Let us outside to stretch along the way. You know how we cats love to stretch. You can use a harness and leash to keep us safe while we "do our thing."  Note to self: bring baggies!
  • You might find some natural calming drops made for your cat or dog (ew - did I say that "d" word) so they can relax along the way. Some pet stores have them or search online.
  • Dander? Who has dander? If anyone in the car is allergic to cats, consider an antihistamine for the human and try a pet spray that might reduce the irritant of shedding.
  • Before the trip, brush your cat or dog to reduce shedding.

Then take a deep breath, relax, have fun.

Bon voyage et bon courage.

P.S. We got our supplies at The Granary in Sonoma.

How's that for my first column?

JP says to remind you to leave your own tips in the comments. (Editors love it when readers comment. Don't tell her I told you that.)

Michelle xx

Keri Brenner November 18, 2012 at 05:58 PM
Tres bon!
oceana profond November 18, 2012 at 07:03 PM
elle et tres adorable!
Julie Pendray November 18, 2012 at 07:26 PM
Mais oui. :)
Julie Pendray November 19, 2012 at 02:03 AM
Today, she successfully used the calming drops & the carrier & went on a 20-mile round trip OK. I let her play in the carrier with a new toy before we left & she walked in on her own. I even discovered her in it tonight taking a nap! These are good signs. I gave her little breaks on the excursion. We parked, she climbed out & explored the car, turned her nose up at the litter box & went back in the carrier. No driving with roaming cats for me! It's really important that a cat doesn't get under your feet or distract you when driving. Bon voyage to all travelers out of and into Sonoma this week.

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