Home » City Council, Community » Harley McGuire Tips for Kitties Galore

Harley McGuire Tips for Kitties Galore

Harley McGuire, Star SedonaEye.com Paws Up Columnist

Harley McGuire, Star SedonaEye.com Paws Up columnist offers his feline pals tips on adapting to travel

Sedona AZ (April 19, 2014) – “Hey there,” writes SedonaEye.com Star Four Paws Up Pet Columnist Harley McGuire this week. “Here are a few pointers about traveling, this time for my kitties galore pals which aren’t as easy to travel with as my dog pals ‘cuz you cat pals are all about the stylin’!”

When it comes to human pets, dogs travel with their loved ones most often. In fact, dogs account for over 85% of pet travelers. This makes sense ‘cuz most dogs are happy adventurers. They love car rides and can’t wait to hop in and out anywhere, whether it’s down the street to the park or halfway across the country on an extended road trip.

Cats, on the other hand, are not so keen on traveling by car. That’s right, feline pals, fess up! One reason is a difference in temperament – cats are just not as adaptable and adventurous as dogs. Another is the fact that the bulk of the feline travel experience tends to involve going back and forth to the vet. Ouch! Not so thrilling!

When out and about with your cat pals follow Harley McGuire travel tips for a safe and fun trip!

When out and about with your cat pals follow Harley McGuire’s travel tips for a safe and fun trip!

There are times when cat parents do need to transport their furry felines by car, and the prospect can be stressful for everyone involved. Moving particularly poses a big quandary, especially if the move is long distance. Cat parents are understandably apprehensive at the thought of putting a terrified Fluffy in the car and traveling for hours on end. There are also times when cat parents would simply like to include their pals in daily travels, but aren’t sure how best to keep them comfortable and safe.

To help ease your mind and to make traveling with your cat a better experience for both of you, here are seven Harley McGuire steps that can effectively prepare your pet for car travel:

Pet Carrier Training: You should always use a pet travel carrier in the car. The carrier should offer enough space for your cat to stand up, turn around, and lie down comfortably, and it should have proper ventilation. To get your feline used to a cat carrier, place it inside your home with the door open, and put some enticing items like kibble, toys, or catnip inside. Allow him to go in and out of the carrier at his leisure until he feels comfortable being inside.

Familiarity is Comfort: Cats are highly sensitive to the environment and very protective of their territory. Making the car part of the cat’s territory is a good way to help him adapt to car rides. Start by placing a towel or blanket with your cat’s scent on the seat of the car. Then take your cat into the car with you and close the doors. Let him explore, rub around, and spread his scent around the car. Repeat this for a few minutes each day, gradually increasing the time you spend in the car as you go along.

Harley McGuire fans are kitties galore!

Harley McGuire fans are kitties galore!

Positive Reinforcement: Once your cat feels calm and comfortable in the car, begin feeding him in the car every day for at least a week. If your cat isn’t particularly food-motivated, let him indulge in some play or catnip instead. Associating the car with good, happy things will help make your cat a better traveler.

Introduce Carrier in Car: Once your cat sees the car as his territory and the source of good things, you can introduce him to the idea of being inside the travel carrier in the car. Place your cat in the carrier, and put the carrier in the back seat or cargo area of your vehicle, making sure that the carrier is secure and away from airbags. Then, turn on the engine. Don’t drive anywhere – just let your cat get used to the noise and vibration. Do this at least three times a day until your cat gets used to it. Make sure to reward my cat pal for his patience as soon as he is let out of his carrier.

Short Rides: Once your cat is used to the car and engine, it’s time to get moving. Start by driving up and down the length of your driveway a few times. When the ride is over, take your cat into the house and reward him with play time and treats. When you feel he’s ready, extend your trip and drive around the block. Continue taking drives with your cat, gradually increasing the length and duration of the ride each time, and taking care to reward him after each new step in the process. Be sure to take things slowly listen to your cat – he will let you know if he’s not comfortable with the speed of the “car training.”

Harley McGuire fans, Chip and Dale

Harley McGuire fans, Chip and Dale, prefer life at home

Calm Energy: Your cat can sense your energy. If you are feeling hyped up and stressed, he will too. It’s very important for you to stay calm, relaxed and unhurried throughout the process.

Potty Breaks: If you’re traveling a long distance, you’ll need to consider the issue of potty breaks for your cat. Some cat parents have their cats harness trained, which allows them to walk their cats at rest areas along the way. If your cat is not harness trained, it is probably best to keep your drive time down to 8 hours at most. ‘Cuz when ya gotta go, you gotta go!

“You know your cat best, so this time could vary. Helping your cat pal become more comfortable traveling in a car definitely takes some time and a lot of patience, but if you go slowly and stick with it, you’ll be rewarded with a pleasant journey that you’ll both enjoy. Safe and happy travels, my kitties galore!”

If you need travel help with your cat pals, visit my pal Kim Salerno’s TripsWithPets website for a directory of pet friendly hotels and accommodations across the United States and Canada, as well as airline and car rental pet policies; pet friendly restaurants, beaches, and events; a user-friendly route search option; pet travel tips; pet travel supplies; and other pet travel resources.

For the best in Arizona news and views, read www.SedonaEye.com daily!

For the best in Arizona news and views, read www.SedonaEye.com daily!


  1. Buster says:

    Hey Harley McGuire, you’ve been pretty quiet lately about your own ‘ventures? Still sulking ‘cuz of your rejection at the groomers?

  2. Well, Buster, my pal, it’s like this. Ma and I still pretty much do the same ole, same ole which ya’ll have heard bout and so it’s sort of boring for all of you but still fun for me. We do our walks and once in a while lunch which I ‘specially love with Auntie “C” and Mom promises we will see her again soon and it will be OUR treat. But yep, when I started doin’ my writin’ the idea was for my pals to share their problems and ask for my advice, and seems it somehow got twisted. But it’s a good thing to be sharing Kim Salerno’s great tips, don’t ya think?

    As for the dumb grooming, phew, it’s just a relief for me. I didn’t like any of them anymore than they liked me. Mom’s back to taking care of it just like in the good old days!

    How do you like the latest photo of my kitty kat pals Chip n’ Dale? Pretty “Kool Kats” wouldn’t ya say? Yesh!

    Harley McGuire

  3. Chip'n Dale says:

    Harley, if mom had a ’57 Chevy we might consider being quiet in our cages for a road trip, even to the Vet! Until then, we love it at home.

    Hugs and Hisses – C’n D

  4. Liked this on Facebook.

  5. Great info and passed this on to my cat pals & their parents

  6. Fabian, Nikki & Mojo, my California “buds.” You just nevah, evah let me down. Thank you!
    Harley McGuire

Leave a Reply

Copyright © 2008-2017 · Sedona Eye · All Rights Reserved · Posts · Comments · Facebook · Twitter ·