Cat Travel Tips

Gators and Gatos: How Gator Wrestling Taught Me the Best Cat Travel Tip Ever

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Let’s face it – the prospect of traveling with a cat is not exactly a fun one. From the yowling to scratching and occasional peeing, even the most even-keeled cats can have a freak out.

Add in a scaredy cat like Henry-etta, and you’re lucky to make it to your destination alive – let alone sane.

As a lifelong wanderer (aka military brat), I move a lot. I travel even more. In the past 2.5 years since I adopted Henry and he relented because I have catnip and food, we’ve driven across the country 4 times.

Cat Travel Tips

  • From Albuquerque, NM to Atlanta, GA and back,
  • From Albuquerque, NM to Washington D.C.,
  • From Washington D.C. to Atlanta, GA  and back(not cross-country, but still a long trip)
  • and then from Washington D.C. to Seattle – with a 10 day detour in Wisconsin and a 4-day side trip to Ann Arbor, MI.

Henry is not a good traveler. But after our first trip together, I learned several must-have tips I’ll never go without again. And now? They’re yours to use to your advantage, too!

In the past, my favorite cat travel tip was to use a calming treat, but our latest and longest journey gave me something even more effective…

It looks like this:

Cat Travel Tips

What? A blanket? How does this help?

Maybe you’re thinking I put a blanket that smelled like me in the car. Nope, well, yes, but that’s not what helped. Henry DID have his favorite microfiber blanket in his crate, which is very soothing, but you need a second blanket for this trick.

Treat them like ‘gators.

This stroke of brilliance came from my father, who watches a lot of alligator wrestling shows on TV. The people in the shows always cover the gator’s eyes with a towel, and then tape it down. I do not recommend taping a towel over your cat’s eyes – in fact, please do not do this.

But, think about the concept.

The towel over the gator’s head calms it down. They use blinders on horses for similar reasons. Placing a cover over a bird’s cage helps them calm down and sleep, too.

There’s a tradition of covering stressful sights to soothe otherwise freaked out animals.

On the trip from DC to Atlanta, my Dad took a towel, and placed it over the yowling Henry’s crate. Within minutes, the incessant crying stopped.

Calm Cat Travel
I always recommend putting your cat carrier in the backseat. However, in this picture, you can see that I play with fire. Keep it safer than I do!

I could not believe it. I even laughed out loud – there’s no way that a gator-wrasslin’ trick helped my little cat.

But it did! Sure, Henry was drugged with calming treats and yes, he had his favorite blanket, but this removed one element of the scariness that helped him calm down for good.

I thought it was a fluke, but it worked from DC to ATL and back, and then on our mega trip across the country from DC to Washington. This trick works for Henry about 90% of the time (hey, sometimes he’s just plain MAD).

Cat Travel

Now I know that, in addition to my arsenal of cat travel tips, covering the crate with a blanket is a sure-fire way to soothe a harangued Henry.

What are your favorite cat travel tips? Have you tried this one? Tell me below!

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2 thoughts on “Gators and Gatos: How Gator Wrestling Taught Me the Best Cat Travel Tip Ever”

  1. McDonald’s lol no I find they like it if I meow back like, ‘I know sugar, this is a weird car’ but man I will totally try the alligator trick! That makes so much sense!

    1. Yes! We talk to them, too. Henry likes a soft and sweet voice and an occasional finger through the cage holes for face-rubbing. The blanket serrrriously helps, so definitely try it on your little demons. 😉

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