When people start thinking about adopting a cat, one of their main preoccupations is how can they take care of their pet when they need to leave the house and the city for several days or a vacation. Nobody likes to leave their pet alone, so we all wonder whether or not we’ll be able to take them with us when traveling.
So do Maine Coons travel well? Yes, Maine Coons do travel quite well. I’ve taken mine on car journeys, travel bags, walking trips and on a plane. I have never experienced a problem. Maine Coons are known to be sociable and extremely intelligent. Cats are known for being problematic when you need to bring them in the car with you – even if most of people think they can’t walk on a leash like dogs – Maine Coons can be trained to travel with you, whether it is by foot, on a car and – when needed – they can also follow you on a plane. If you teach your Maine Coon to travel with you, you’ll no longer have to leave her alone or renounce any journey just because you can’t find someone who can take care of her while you’re away.
When I first needed to take my Maine Coon on a small trip with me I was super worried. Cats are known for getting very stressed when they travel, and a lot of friends suggested that I leave mine behind and find someone to take care of her while I was away. I wasn’t happy at all with the idea of leaving her alone for days – plus, I thought that if she could get used to traveling, it would be helpful for both her and myself in the future.
So I started getting informed and I found out that traveling with cats can be complicated: cats are creatures of habits and you’d be breaking up their usual routine and taking them away from the comfort and safety of their home. Cats don’t like changes and they will not accept one with enthusiasm. Nevertheless, traveling with cats is possible as long as you have some attention and precautions. You need to convince them nothing bad can happen, you need to train them and be patient.
Maine Coons are among the most intelligent cat breeds and can be trained to do little tricks just like dogs. If you are willing and patient enough, you’ll have no difficulty training them to travel with you.
The first step of training your Maine Coon to travel with you is teaching him or her to walk with you. Maine Coons can be trained to walk on a leash. For many owners walking their Maine Coon on a leash is the only chance they have to let their cat outside.
Training your Maine Coon to walk on a leash isn’t that complicated if you know how to do it. The first thing you should do is let your cat sniff the harness and leash. This way she (or he) can learn that there is nothing to be afraid of. When your cat is calm try to slip the harness over his head. If your cat is calm during these phases, you can reward him/her with a treat. You can now slip the harness over the legs and lock it. Let your Maine Coon get used to the harness before attaching the leash.
Alita, for some reason never seems to mind me putting things on her. She is very comfortable with me doing this. I get no resistance and I know she likes to go away when I am with her.
When the cat has accepted the harness, you can attach the leash and start going outside. Start with a quiet location – somewhere green where you aren’t disturbed by people, dogs or cars. Put your cat down and crouch down if necessary. This way, you’ll be creating a safe zone for your cat with your legs and, especially if she is not confident, she can come to you and feel safe. Reward your cat with treats and repeat the process several times letting the cat get used to the new situation.
As your Maine Coon starts feeling safe outside – you can tell she’s feeling safe when she starts smelling everything and eating grass – you can slowly begin to walk with your cat for short distances. Increase the distance gradually and eventually, your cat will follow you wherever you go.
When your Maine Coon is trained to walk with you, you can have much more freedom of movement: you’ll no longer leave her alone for hours and it’d be a great chance for her to take a walk outside.
There are also other ways of taking your Maine Coon with you other than teaching her to walk on a leash. I use a cat backpack! My Maine Coon got used to it very quickly and it gives me the freedom to carry her with me as I walk on the street but also as I enter shops or places of any kind.
Coffee shops are always a favorite.
Sometimes walking with your Maine Coon is not enough. I often go visit friends and relatives that live an hour away from my place – I don’t know if my Maine Coon would be willing to walk all that miles, but I’m definitely not.
As I trained my Maine Coon to walk with me, I thought I could teach her to take longer travels in the car. We’ve done journeys together up to an hour and she has always been fine as long as I’m with her.
If you’d like to train your Maine Coon to travel in the car with you, there are some tips I can share with you.
First of all, you should put your cat in a carrier that is large enough for her/him to be able to stand up, turn around and stretch easily. You should also secure the carrier with a seatbelt – if you have an accident, you want your cat to stay as safe as possible. For the same reason, you can’t let your cat wander around the car as you’re driving. It would not be safe if you have an accident, but it could also be dangerous. If she goes in the area of the foot pedals she could become the cause of the accident itself!
If you take short trips, you can let your Maine Coon stay in the carrier for the whole time. But if you take trips longer than 5 or 6 hours, you have to periodically let your cat use the litter box and drink some water. I use disposable litter boxes that come with litter already inside.
I always avoid feeding my Maine Coon just before the trip or while we’re traveling to minimize the risk of her vomiting in the carrier or feeling sick.
Having said that, alita is remarkably relaxed on short journeys in the passenger seat.
Traveling on a plane with your Maine Coon can be a little more complicated. I’ve only done this once, when I bought my Maine Coon and took her home. Although I had to spend more money, I got Alita to her new home with a pet carrier that operates with Thai airlines.
I’ve had to send a few bred kittens this was as well.
She had her large carrier and she’s been very still and quiet but the experience wasn’t that stressful for her. I covered the opening of the carrier with a blanket when we were at the airport – I thought it could help make the experience less stressful for her. If you’re taking your cat on a plane, never forget their certificates and vaccination information – they are required by most airlines.
My Maine Coon, Alita, has always been happy to travel with me – she’s happy whenever she has the chance to leave the house, maybe because she’s an indoor cat. I’m sure that any Maine Coon can be trained to travel with you whether it is on foot or in the car.
If your Maine Coon is still nervous when he or she has to go out, but you can’t help but take him/her with you, you can also consider using sedatives. Consult your veterinarian about this, and make sure to follow all the instructions she gives you.
Being able to carry your cat with you when you leave the house is wonderful. You don’t have to worry about finding someone to take care of her, and your bond with your cat becomes much more profound. With a little bit of training, I’m sure any owner can enjoy occasional or periodical trips with their Maine Coon.