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Pet cat in a semi truck? Sounds crazy, but a lot of drivers have them. Cats offer pro drivers excellent companionship without all the hassle of making a bunch of extra stops.
I’ve seen it quite a bit over the years.
Drivers that choose travel on the road with a cat, which surprised me when I saw them with a variety of different drivers over the years.
As they told me, it just takes a bit of pre planning and being aware that your cat is on board your vehicle.
Is it stressful for a cat to travel?
There’s no doubt –
Traveling for cats doesn’t come natural to them.
Do you find it stressful to travel? Or better yet, do you find some aspects of travel stressful? Even as a pro driver, chances are, you do.
We are creatures of habit. We want things to be routinely, simple, calm, and safe. It is innate in us.
Anything that would change what we are accustomed to has the potential to raise our stress level.
Our pets are no different.
Traveling with Cats
Cats prefer the safety of their home. They hate being cooped up in small spaces and prefer to roam around their environment to explore their surroundings.
But that does not mean that you cannot take your cat to travel with you when you head out on the road.
Just like you and me, cats can travel anywhere. You just need to prepare your pet for travel.
Here are three simple tips you can do to prepare your cat to travel:
- Choose a good carrier for your cat. This is the first thing you need to do if you plan to travel with your cat. The type of carrier that would fit your cat would depend on how you plan to travel with her. The important thing to note is your cat should be comfortable in the carrier.
- Acclimatize your cat. Your cat needs to get use to traveling with you. You can take your cat on drives like shopping, going to the dentist, visiting the gym or even on long distance drives. Doing this will get your cat familiar with the hum and drone of your vehicle engine.
- Place things your cat is familiar with particularly those that that have your cat’s scent on it like his bed, feeding bowl, and blanket. Your cat is a creature of habit and the first thing she would look for in a new environment is the thing that is familiar with her.
Your idea of travelling should not just extend to yourself but to your cat as well. You want comfort and ease, so does your pet.
Pet cat in semi truck, a few extra tips
The first trip my cat and I took did not go as smoothly as I planned.
Having no experience traveling with a cat, I found myself wanting to turn around and take the cat back home before we even reached our destination.
It’s important in your pre travel planning to be patient and not expect good results with you cat right away.
The pre-travel practice went well for my cat and I but this is due mainly to me being able to control the environment and the situation.
A real long distance drive where anything and everything could happen is an entirely different ball game.
Like any other activity, my cat needed an adjustment period.
The adjustment period depends on how well your cat adapts to new environment and situations. Some take as fast as two hours and others longer.
A kitten will take less time to adjust than an adult cat would. While an adult cat set in her ways is more prone to stubbornness, it will really depend on the particular cat.
I’ve had experiences moving that required transporting the cat in a truck where the cat did just fine without a lot of drama.
That is not to say however that you cannot do anything. You can take steps to help your cat during their adjustment period and possibly hasten the process.
Here’s few tips to help make your cat comfortable and keep them safe.
- Indulge your cat. I take my pillow with me whenever I travel because it gives me comfort. You can indulge your cat by doing the same. Bring her bedding and place it inside your vehicle. It may sound funny, but cats love to cuddle and finding a familiar place where she can cuddle herself up will give her a sense of calmness.
- Bring her favorite snack. A well-fed cat is a happy cat. Although you can buy snacks for your pet on the road, it does not guarantee that you can buy the food that she actually eats.
- Clean litter box. A clean litter box is important. Your cat will not use the litter box if it is not clean. I am sure you do not want to find cat poop on your dashboard or on the seat of your car. Make sure that your cat’s litter box is clean if you both want to keep smelling fresh.
- Take time to pet your cat. We know that cats are cuddly and clingy. Take time to pet them, reassure them that although things may look different you have not abandoned them.
- Pit stop walk. Being cooped up can drive you and your cat crazy. If you find yourselves at a pit stop, allow your cat to get out of the vehicle to get some fresh air. You can use a leash, (if your cat is used to it) and take her for a walk.
- Make sure you have plenty of fresh water on hand to help the animal stay hydrated. A cat travel bowl will help save space in your vehicle and with some models regulate the water flow.
- Keep the cats carrier secured in vehicle when the cat is in it. If you have to hit the brakes suddenly, you don’t want to bounce around.
- Don’t overdue loud music. Excessive noise can be upsetting to cats.
- Make sure you have a leash and harness to walk the cat. A harness is better at securing a cat than a collar. If a cat is frightened it can slip a collar with ease. The last thing you want to do is lose your cat.
- Going through a DOT checkpoint or inspection? Have a plan for your cat so that it doesn’t get out of the vehicle when you don’t want it to. Let officers or officials know that you have an animal and that you need to secure it.
Trucker cat litter box – How often should you change it?
A truck cab and sleeper is a confined area. You’re going to want to clean your cat’s litter box every day.
There is no excuse for not cleaning up after your cat. No amount of deodorizer can mask the scent of a foul-smelling litter box.
You can clean your cat’s litter box same way you clean it when you are at home even if you are in a truck.
You need to remember that your vehicle is smaller than your house so your cat would often use the litter box. Take time out from pit stops to clean the litter box.
As a truck driver, you’re already planning stops for fuel and rest, just take a few moments to consider the needs of the cat (or any animal that you choose to take with you on the road) during your planned stop.
A few tricks to keeping your litter box clean and smelling fresh:
- Scoop the poop and pee out daily. Do not leave your cat’s poop on the litter box. Your space inside a vehicle is confined and if you keep the air conditioning on, the pungent smell will cling on every surface of the vehicle. Clumping cat litter works best to make this a simple task.
- Replace the litter every week or if your cat uses the litter box often, you can replace them every other day. This will also help prevent the litter from clumping too much. The litter you use for the litter box is made of bentonite clay and clay clumps. You can brush the litter box with oil remove the clumped litter easier.
- You can mask the odor of your litter box by mixing baking soda with the litter.
- Wash the litter box thoroughly before replacing the litter.
- You may also want to wash the catbox occasionally with a product called Odoban which is an odor disinfectant. Odoban will go a long way in killing the smell and keeping it under control.
What to look for in a traveling Cat
What is the big deal about having a cat as a travel companion?
How big of a help is it to bring a trucker cat as your travel buddy?
Many will probably frown on the idea of a cat as a travel companion but there are benefits in choosing a cat as your travel buddy:
- Your cat’s antics can break what could be an otherwise boring drive. Cats love to dash around nooks and crannies. They never pick one place to stay or sprawled their feline bodies. Their antics are fun to watch and anticipate.
- Cats require very little of your time. There’s no need to take them out for a walk. Cuddling them is enough to keep them happy.
So does this mean you can pick up any cat, uproot them and take them with you?
It depends. Not all cats are good travel companions. Cats’ temperament and dispositions vary.
Here are some characteristics that you might want to look for when choosing your trucker cat travel buddy:
- Easy going temperament
- Loves to be around people
- Low maintenance
- Adapts easily to new environment
- Easy to train
- Sweet disposition – can get along with other pets
Best cats for truck drivers
If you’re looking for a road buddy, here’s a list of cats that like to travel. You can read more on many of these breeds here.
The Pixie Bob
Rescue animals – Always my favorite breed!
Trucking isn’t just for dogs! With a little pre planning and the proper set up having a pet cat in a semi truck isn’t a problem.
Over the years I’ve seen both men and women drivers with cats and a lot of husband/wife teams bring their house cats along.
Cats can make great road buddies and they don’t even need to keep track of their hours!