Showing posts with label cat travel. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cat travel. Show all posts

Saturday 24 February 2024

Do cats have to be in a carrier in the car?

Your cat must be in a seatbelt harness or carrier when travelling in a car in the UK. In the USA each state has their own laws on restraining pets in the car but I suspect that all the states have similar laws.

I think the best way to restrain your cat inside a travelling vehicle for longish distances is to put them in a seatbelt harness. This is a harness that connects to the seatbelt as you might imagine! The picture shows how it works. For trips to the vet, the carrier is obviously more suitable.

Your cat must be in a seatbelt harness or carrier when travelling in a car in the UK!
Picture: Zooplus. It costs £8.

The reason why cats and dogs need to be restrained? Because in the UK there is a booklet called the Highway Code which provides all drivers with the rules of the road. It's quite a lengthy booklet and when a new driver takes their driving test in the UK they are tested on the Highway Code. If they fail the paperwork part of the driving test you failed the test.

And if you don't restrain your cat in your car when travelling the police can stop you (do they ever!?) And you could end up with a £5,000 fine in the worst case scenario which would be highly unlikely. In fact I think it would be infinitesimally unlikely but technically possible.

Rule 57

The rule which dictates that you must restrain your darling cat is rule 57 of the above-mentioned Highway Code. Or you might keep your cat in a carrier throughout the journey. There are other pet containers to restrain them when travelling in a car.

I mention that the best way to restrain a cat is through a seatbelt harness but the more typical way to do it would be to leave them in a carrier but the issue for me is that on a long journey you don't want to keep your cat in a carrier. The seatbelt harness would be better.

Or you might put them in the back behind a headrest cage. This is a mesh which attaches to the headrest on the back seat and keeps the dog or cat in the luggage area of the car. But I think people like to have their cat in the passenger compartment so they can talk to them and be involved with them (safely!).


When I took my cats to Ireland about 25 years ago with my then wife I didn't give one single thought to rule 57 of the Highway Code. So my two cats were free to move around the car and my little lady cat spent most of the time sitting on a dashboard looking out the front window.

And we smuggled them on to an overnight ferry and then we hired a car in Ireland and drove to my mother-in-law on the west coast. Once again the cats were free to wander around the cabin. Although I don't know whether they have a Highway Code in Ireland. Not that it would have made any difference because as mentioned I totally ignored the Highway Code at that time.


But if you want to abide by the law and be a good driver and a good cat caregiver you should restrain your cat. And there's a genuinely good reason for it because if you have an accident your cat or dog might become a missile thrown forwards. Both you and your cat might be harmed, possibly badly. So Rule 57 is common sense.


Postscript: I have got to make one last point which is that sometimes cats are very nervous in a vehicle and being nervous they might urinate and if they urinate on your passenger seat and it sinks into the foam you are not going to get it out. Therefore I would strongly suggest that you put down some sort of absorbent or protective material on the seat where your cat is travelling. It will pay dividends.

P.S. please forgive the occasional typo. These articles are written at breakneck speed using Dragon Dictate. I have to prepare them in around 20 mins.

Thursday 1 December 2022

Dogs suffer from less motion sickness in electric vehicles (EVs) than conventional ones

There is a study currently out, hot off the press, which, according to the researchers, clearly indicates that dogs prefer being in the back of electric vehicles (EVs) compared to conventionally powered vehicles. And they prefer it because they suffer from less motion sickness otherwise known as travel sickness or car sickness.

Dogs suffer from less motion sickness in electric vehicles (EVs) than conventional ones
Dogs suffer from less motion sickness in electric vehicles (EVs) than conventional ones. Image: Image by Ferenc Tóth from Pixabay.

And the professor, Prof Mills, who led the study in the UK with the assistance of the second-hand car retailer CarGurus, said that he believed that the lower vibrations and lower noise in EVs is a major contributing factor in their findings.

Both cats and dogs suffer from motion sickness. I'm not sure that many cat owners know about this. We know that cats don't like travelling in cars when they go to the veterinarian, but they might not realise that their cat might also be suffering from car sickness.

Car sickness in people, and pets, is caused by a clash in the sensory signals coming from the inner ear which regulates balance and the eyes which also helps to orientate the cat and dog in terms of their position in relation to the surroundings. It is worth noting that cats and dogs have excellent hearing and that cats don't understand cars. They see them as hostile creatures when travelling.

Prof Mills said that he believed that the lack of noise and vibrations helped to put the dogs at ease. Although the research is about dogs, I've taken the liberty of extending it to relate to cats because their anatomy is very similar. Although research is required on cats as well because I think this research reveals something which is very important to dog and cat owners.

Car sickness is a big problem for dogs. It is common. In this study they employed 20 dog participants who were placed in the back of a Genesis diesel vehicle and an electric vehicle. We don't know the manufacturer of the electric vehicle employed.

The professor found that the dogs were more settled when sitting in the back of the EV compared to the diesel vehicle as the tended to break their lying down posture in the diesel. The data revealed that dogs broke their lying down position 50% more often when in the diesel car compared to the EV.

He also found that two of the dogs suffered from nausea and car sickness when in the diesel Genesis test car. Their heart rate also spiked, and their behaviour indicated distress. Car sickness and dogs can cause whining and pacing, lethargy and distress combined with drooling.

The professor found that when the two dogs travelled in the EV their heart rate decreased by almost a third.

Prof Mills said:

"There were two dogs that, when I looked at them, they looked like they suffered from car sickness. They really started to salivate a lot and various other signs and although they weren't actually sick, they looked to me as though they were nauseated."

And he added that: 

"They seem to be much better in the electric car than the diesel cars and I found that quite an intriguing result and I think it's something that we ought to look at more because car sickness is a big problem for dogs."

The study revealed that dogs prefer less vibration and noise. Diesels are known for their vibrations. Electric vehicles are very smooth by comparison. I think we need to add in Toyota hybrids which are also incredibly smooth. These are vehicles driven by both battery and petrol engine simultaneously.

The findings have been submitted for peer review and they are important. Prof Mills added that given the high number of dogs that have difficulties in travelling and that they are very much members of the family, these findings will encourage people to buy EVs.

The findings suggest that dogs suffering from car sickness may be cured if their owner purchases in EV! The problem is that EVs are very expensive and the secondary problem at the moment is that the cost of electricity is highly inflated because of Putin's invasion of Ukraine and therefore the differential in the cost of running an EV compared to petrol engine car is not as great as it was.

Note: this is a cross post from a similar article on the main website.

Monday 14 June 2021

Cats in private jets - so much better than in the hold of a commercial airliner

Kate Beckinsale has two flat-faced Persian cats. Being a celebrity, and I guess being quite wealthy, she is able to take a private jet on occasions. I don't expect she takes them all the time but, on this occasion, I believe that she was flying with her fellow cast members from her latest TV show Guilty Party, which was shot in Calgary, Canada

She is able to take her two cats and her dog, a Pomeranian, with her. And what is particularly pleasant is that she can let them wander around the cabin, obviously under supervision in the interest of safety but this is so much better than being stuck in a cat carrier under the seat or in the hold of a commercial airliner.
Clive, Kate Beckinsale's Persian in the captain's seat of a private jet
Clive, Kate Beckinsale's Persian in the captain's seat of a private jet. Screenshot from Instagram video.

Her two cats are Clive and Willow. I believe that Willow is a female, perhaps a chinchilla Persian and I also believe that Clive is about 12 years of age. He is pointed. Is he a Himalayan? His age, by the way, is probably not far from the lifespan of a contemporary person.

Kate Beckinsale likes to have some fun, which is enjoyable for her followers on Instagram of which there are 4.7 million. The captain of that jet agrees to allow Clive to sit in the left-hand seat which is the normal captain's seat, as I understand it. And he pretends that Clive is the captain. The aircraft is on the ground so it's completely safe.

It is always good when a celebrity person likes animals, provided they are good cat guardians and Kate Beckinsale is. Another high-profile celebrity who loves cats is Taylor Swift. That doesn't need saying because the world knows about it. She has 160 million Instagram followers. Only the National Geographic has more! 

Taylor Swift can genuinely influence the world by what she says on her Instagram account. She has an enormous responsibility. Perhaps I'm being a little bit too critical but I don't think she discharges that responsibility in respect of her cats brilliantly sometimes because, for example, she loves the Scottish Fold which is a cat breed which probably should not exist.

If they are not bred carefully, they can suffer from severe disabilities due to cartilage problems. It is a genetic mutation which causes the cartilage of the ear flaps to lose its rigidity causing the ears to fold flat to the cranium. I think she could have adopted a more inherently healthy purebred cat or better still a completely unwanted and "left-on-the-shelf" rescue cat which she saved from euthanasia. Now that would have helped all rescue cats the world over.

Note: This is a video from another website. Sometimes they are deleted at source which stops them working on this site. If that has happened, I apologise but I have no control over it.

Friday 1 April 2011

Cat Travel Tips

Cat Travel Tips! - Photo by katepc (Flickr)

These cat travel tips relate to car and air travel. Air travel is often international travel so you have to be aware of the rules pertaining to the importation of animals into the country concerned. For me this is where is gets a bit hazy because to be honest it is complicated. This is because the rules are fragmented and hard to understand and they depend largely on which countries are rabies free and which are not. Rabies is a major factor in animal air travel because as mentioned below it is transferable from animal to human and invariably fatal. You will need to look at the whole journey. Are you traveling from or to (or in transit) a country where there is rabies and which is not a participating country of PETS (see below)?

Air Travel

In broad brush terms, pet travel within the European Union (EU) requires a pet passport (Pet Travel Scheme - "PETS") and for certain countries (Ireland, Sweden, Malta or the United Kingdom) a test that confirms that the rabies vaccination has been effective. This would seem to be in addition to the actual rabies vaccination. For other countries in the EU the simple fact that a rabies vaccination has been administered is sufficient. The test is "a neutralising antibody titration at least equal to 0,5 IU/ml carried out on a sample taken by an authorised veterinarian at least 30 days after vaccination and three months before being moved..." if that helps!

Pet Passport

The pet passport is a EU document and does not relate to pets traveling from countries outside the EU except for certain non-EU countries who participate. Pet passports should be applied for well in advance and and rabies jabs administered well in advance (check with vet). I am talking 6 months and more. The purpose of PETS is to keep the member states free from rabies and other diseases. PETS applies to cats, dogs and ferrets traveling between certain countries and these animals can only travel on certain routes. These animals arriving at the UK from non PETS participating countries must be placed in quarantine for six months. There is a limit to five pets please note. These are the qualifying European Union (EU) countries and territories:

Austria Estonia Hungary Netherlands
Azores Faroe Islands Ireland 3 Poland
Balearic Islands Finland Italy Portugal
Belgium France Latvia Reunion
Bulgaria French Guiana Lithuania Romania
Canary Islands Germany Luxembourg Slovakia
Ceuta Gibraltar Madeira Slovenia
Cyprus 1 Greece Malta Spain
Czech Republic Greenland Martinique Sweden
Denmark Guadeloupe 2 Melilla

Below are the qualifying non-EU countries and territories:

Andorra Fiji Russian Federation (2)
Antigua & Barbuda French Polynesia St Helena
Argentina Guam St Kitts & Nevis
Aruba Hawaii St Pierre & Miquelon
Ascension Island Hong Kong St Vincent & The Grenadines
Australia Iceland San Marino
Bahrain Jamaica (1) Switzerland
Barbados Japan Taiwan
Belarus Malaysia (3) Trinidad and Tobago
Bermuda Mauritius United Arab Emirates (4)
BES Islands (Bonair, Saint Eustatius and Saba) (5) Mayotte USA (mainland)
Bosnia-Herzegovina Mexico Vanuatu
British Virgin Islands Monaco Vatican
Canada Montserrat Wallis & Futuna
Cayman Islands Saint Maarten (5)
Chile Singapore
Croatia St Lucia
Curacao (5) New Caledonia
Falkland Islands New Zealand
Liechtenstein Norway

The above come from the DEFRA website (government website so excellent authority)

Site Build It!The major concern would seem to be rabies. In the UK it is extinct if that is the correct word. But is the USA for example it is not. Rabies is zoonotic (transferable from animal to human) and invariably kills both animal and human, hence the strict rules on importation of animals into the UK.

You get a pet passport from your veterinarian. He or she should know what to do regarding travel in the EU. I think microchipping is obligatory under the pet passport scheme. For the technically minded this is: "For the purposes of Article 4(1), the standard electronic identification system shall be a read-only passive radio frequency identification device (‘transponder’).." if your vet is unsure about pet passports, I would contact the airline. I would do this anyway as they all have different processes.

Read this page from Defra on PETS for more detail.

Rabies - importation from outside EU

Movement between Member States (of the EU) or from a territory listed in section 2 of Part B of Annex II of animals of the species listed in part C of Annex I shall not be subject to any requirement with regard to rabies (see list below).

Section 2 of Part B of Annex II

Section 2
  • AD Andorra 
  • CH Switzerland
  • HR Croatia
  • IS Iceland
  • LI Liechtenstein
  • MC Monaco 
  • NO Norway 
  • SM San Marino 
  • VA Vatican City State
Prevention is the best medicine for your pet's health.The rules relating to importation from other countries is almost unintelligible. It has been drafted in the most horrible way so I can't safely tell you what they are or mean. I would check with your vet. Rabies will be the determining factor but I know that rabies vaccinations are routine in the USA so I would not foresee a problem for cat travel from the USA to the EU provided the rules are complied with. The situation is probably similar in many other countries.

For those of you brave enough the rules on pet importation from outside the EU to the EU can be seen in this document: RULES!

Airline Requirements

These seem to vary from airline to airline as mentioned.  The cat travel tip is common sense: contact the airline concerned. This page from has a list of links to phone numbers.

Air Canada, as one example, allow pets in the cabin provided they can fit under the seat in a cat carrier (note: this I believe applies to embarkation from Canada only - see how confusing it is). There is not much space under the seat! This has to be a small cat...For Air Canada these are the in cabin specs:

Max weight: 10 kg (22 lb) (pet and carrier combined)

Carrier size:

Height: 23 cm (9 in)
Width: 40 cm (15.5 in)
Length: 55 cm (21.5 in)

Height: 27 cm (10.5 in)
Width: 40 cm (15.5 in)
Length: 55 cm (21.5 in)

See here for more.

If they can't go under the seat they obviously go in the hold. This means a non-spill water dispenser and cat food in a nice carrier. At check-in with Air Canada in London the check-in person asks for the weights of the cat and carrier separately. A third person will take the cat and carrier to the luggage loading facility. As far as I am aware cats cannot go into the cabin from London, Heathrow.

Car Travel

What about car travel? Well most cat caretakers have travelled short distances with their cat and all that requires is a good cat carrier and a a bit of rescue remedy (for us!) as it is quite stressful driving with a cat as a passenger unless your cat likes it (rare).

I have travelled a long distance in my car with two cats. I went on holiday to Ireland from London! It worked out well, in fact. I even took them on the ferry and smuggled them on the boat in a large briefcase!

Anyway back to serious cat travel tips. On short distances the cat will remain in the carrier and that is all you need.

On a long trip the cat should be free to roam the car, in my opinion. This causes potential hazards (getting under your feet). But in practice a cat will quickly settle down on the back ledge at the rear of the car, on the dashboard or back seat etc.

What you need then is all the basics that are available at home: cat litter, cat food (I'd recommend a good dry food), something to clean up and perhaps some enzyme urine cleaner - sorry to be so negative. A cat first aid kit would come in handy too.  Cat toys and your cat's medical records and pet passport should be brought too.

I don't think there is any requirement to stop and let the cats out for a break. I would be against this unless the cat is on a leash. Cats disturbed and confused by a new environment may panic and run. That would cause chaos.

Cat Carriers

You'll need a good one. Here is a nice selection from (north America market).

See also cat stroller.

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