Cat Travel Guide: How to socialise your cat and prevent cat travel anxiety?
What does socialising a cat mean?
Socialising pet's refers to the process of gradually and safely exposing your pet to objects (people, animals, toys) and actions (such as sounds; water, horns, alarms) so they learn each new interaction is safe. So as to prevent pet's from become startled, anxious or aggressive when encountering these events in the future.
Common cat encounters
For socialisation to work, you first need to consider the future encounters your cat will have. Start with a list, thinking of the types of areas you'd like to explore and the daily scenes your cat will experience. We've put together an example list of things we consider before taking cat's outside to explore:
- Transport (cars, buses, trains, bikes)
- Animals (other pet's (dogs), wildlife (birds, sheep, cows)
- Weather (wind, rain, snow)
- People (children, elderly, in uniform)
Introducing your cat to other animals and new things
Before starting each introduction it's important to consider how it can be done safely, we've used meeting other animals as an example below.
Of course the ideal scenario outside is to start in rural, open areas with plenty of space that aren't too busy. Here you can be sure you'll have enough room to keep distance and retreat should you need too!
Where possible, we suggest cross-species introductions (just like same-species introductions) are made in a safe, enclosed and controlled environment. A great example of this is speaking with a family member or friend who has a calm pet that you can begin training with. Or your local vet practice may be able to help. Ensure a safe distance is kept and gradually introduce both with plenty of rewards and praise. The reward and praise is key to create a positive association with the event of meeting.
Keep yourself calm since pet's read our emotions and body language and only move closer if both pet's are comfortable and happy, ensuring you keep an eye on body language.
Cat Body Language
It's important you are able to read how your cat is feeling and can adjust the interaction accordingly. Remember the aim of socialisation is to only create positive encounters, and reduce negative ones so as to build confidence. Understanding the signs of your cat's body language will ensure you can react should their emotions change thus reducing negative events.
Are their eyes fixed forward and ears flat, with large pupils? This would suggest they are stressed and anxious.
Are their ears and tail perked up with small pupils?
This would suggest they are happy and excited.
Try to also keep a watch on the other animals behaviour, having some light understanding on the other species will also help avoid you letting your cat get too close.
Practice cat socialisation
The more you can practice meetings in a way and place your cat is comfortable the more they will grow to trust and understand the event. In this case meeting other animals. You will then find when chance-encounters happen your cat is much more equipped to better deal with the scenario.
Repeat & relax
The more you can repeat this tool in a range of scenarios the calmer you will find your cat to become when out adventuring.
To aid in the process we recommend our range of natural pet calming remedies, such as our cat travel anxiety kit.
Don't forget to come back and let us know in the comments how socialisation went for your car?
The Travfurler Team 🐾