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Although cats are generally homebodies, they can be good travelers if they become accustomed to traveling while they are kittens. If your plans include being away from home for an extended period of time, you may find it more convenient to take your cat with you. The trip can be pleasant for you both if you take some precautions.

Always make sure the cat is in good health before a trip. If necessary, take him to the veterinarian to make sure and to get any necessary inoculations.

Purchase a carrying case, if you don't already own one. They are available in many sizes and styles at pet stores and at some veterinarian offices. The case must be strong enough so the cat cannot claw or chew his way out of it, and it must have enough air holes and space for the cat's comfort and health.

If you are traveling by car, several short trips before the long trip might help the cat become accustomed to a long one. Never let the cat loose in the car. It is just asking for trouble, but you can talk and comfort the cat while on the road. If the trip is by car but less than eight hours, there is no need for a litter box. An old metal lid or cardboard box kept in the trunk will work for longer trips. You can also purchase disposable litter boxes. Water is always required, but food may be held back for short trips. Harnesses are available and the litter box can be kept in the trunk. Never let the cat loose in a strange place without a restraint. There is always a chance the cat might become frightened and escape. Before travel check to find out if cats are permitted in motels and hotels. If not, offer to pay for damages. Never leave any pet locked in a car.

With railroads and airlines, check for regulations about traveling with a cat before leaving. Cats are sometimes permitted in a compartment with you on trains, however, usually it is required that they be kept in a carrying case in the baggage car.

Airlines normally require cats to be kept in carrying cases in the pressurized luggage compartment. Flying is usually easier because of the speed of flight. Non-stop flights are preferred and reduce the possibility of a mess-up in baggage delivery when planes are changed in multi-flight arrangements. Also, avoid peak travel times when more mistakes can be made. Avoid traveling when it is extremely hot or cold since the cat may have to wait, unprotected, for personnel to move it out of this discomfort.

It is advised you insure your cat. Insured, your cat is more likely to be treated as a valuable animal by airline personnel and be delivered to you with more care and promptness. Do not try to tranquilize your cat unless you and the veterinarian have decided previously on the proper medication and dosage. If there is a mistake and your cat is not delivered, immediately contact airport personnel since your cat might have been misrouted or left on a different loading dock. When traveling out of the country, be sure to check on necessary inoculations and quarantine rules. It may not be a wise decision to travel with your pet under some circumstances.

If your cat is very old or very young, discuss travel with you veterinarian before making plans.

If the trip is short, it may be wiser to leave the cat at home. For a day or two, enough water, food, and litter can be left for the cat. Beyond that, a pet sitting service might be your option or boarding at a reputable boarding facility.