Posted in pet health, traveling with pets

How sweet is home?

There are plenty of features in today’s pet carriers to make everyone comfortable.

Before pet carriers were popular forms of transporting our pets, our cat would hide under the car seat – usually my mother’s, while she was the driver. The farthest the family cat had to go was to Dr. Glick’s in Ferndale, and that was just to get his annual shots. He didn’t enjoy the ride. Come to think of it, he didn’t enjoy the shots much either.

Once we took him there to board him while we were vacationing at the Jersey shore. I missed him so much that I sent him a postcard. Dr. Glick promised that he had read it to our cat when the postcard arrived.

But I doubt our kitty was missing me as much as he missed his daily routine of prowling the backyard and leaving his calling card for the neighborhood cats to read. On the ride home from Dr. Glick’s, he still howled and hid under the carseat. Being with the humans he presumably loved was not enough balm to soothe his travel anxiety. And even if he thought he was being taken home, it still wasn’t enough comfort to take his mind off the short ride.

The first I had ever thought about pet carriers was seeing the picnic basket that Dorothy Gale used to keep Toto safe from Miss Gulch. It didn’t give Toto much room to breathe, and he couldn’t see where he was being taken. And it wasn’t very secure! Isn’t that the main reason why Dorothy missed out on getting into the storm cellar before the tornado hit?

We’ve come a long way since then. Close to two million results pop up when I google pet carriers. There are pet carriers, and crates, and kennels. They’re not only functional but fashionable as well. You can purchase designer-styled carriers if your budget allows. They can have doors on the top, or doors on the side, or both. Some are plastic and easy to clean, others have straps like backpacks, and some look like miniature Conestoga wagons with wheels on the bottom for those big pets you can’t carry on your own without tipping over.

For pets who are backseat drivers, carriers have ample air holes to peek through. Most soft-sided carriers feature mesh sides to allow air to flow through and give a view of the surroundings.

There are also disposable carrier liners made of absorbent materials that can soak up any liquid spills for long journeys.

If you have to take a pet along, look into the regulations for transporting domestic animals before you decide on a pet carrier. If your budget allows, on some airlines you can buy a ticket for your pet and carry it onboard, stowing it under your seat in its airline-approved carrier.

If you’re going by car with a pet in tow, there are numerous backseat covers and enclosures for bigger pets that keep your pet safely confined and protect the car’s upholstery. Several companies now market pet carriers that latch onto a car seat just like a child’s protective car seat does, keeping the carrier in place in the event of an accident.

But no matter where you take your pet, it’s never quite like home. Just ask my cats.



a little off-center, but full of good intentions