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Traveling With Kitty - Staying in Motels

When packing your bags for your trip, remember to pack one for Kitty. It is important for him to have his food and water dishes, as well as litterbox and filler--the same ones he uses at home. The familiar will help him orient himself in an unfamiliar place. These items also carry his own signature scent--very reassuring for a kitty away from home. He will also need his regular food rations and a bottle of water. (The water from other areas can taste very different.) Don't forget a few special food treats and toys, including a fishing pole cat toy. When traveling with a pet, it is always a good idea to pack some paper towels and a general-purpose cleaner. For litterbox clean-up remember to bring sealable plastic bags and a scoop.

Once you arrive at your lodging for the night and have brought in your luggage as well as Kitty in his carrier, don't let him out until you have set up his litterbox. (He may feel the need to use it soon after exiting his crate.) Next, set out his food and water and include something particularly delicious to help him feel good about his temporary "home away from home". He may not eat until later in the night or even the next morning, but his sense of well-being will be reinforced just by having it available.

Be considerate of the housekeeping services in the motel. Your cat's stay there may determine how welcome or unwelcome other companion pets will be at this establishment in the future. If your cat sleeps with you, take along a used sheet or a favorite blanket for him from home. This will help to settle him as well as to keep his fur off the motel's bedding. Place a towel or mat under the food and water bowls and pour the used litter into a plastic bag and seal it. Remember that the management is able to access all the unoccupied rooms, so if you leave your room, put out the "Do Not Disturb" sign. It might also be wise to put Kitty in the carrier while you are gone-- just in case. Before you check out the next morning, don't forget to leave a generous tip for the maids. They will appreciate your thoughtfulness and it will help to compensate them for any extra clean-up.

The most challenging part of the motel stay will undoubtedly be "lights out" time. You may be exhausted after a day's journey, but your cat has spent many boring hours almost motionless in his carrier. He may be ready to party! This is where the fishing pole toy comes in handy. While you are resting in a comfortable chair or on your bed, you can give Kitty some aerobic exercise. In fact, you will want to keep him moving until he is ready to "drop". If you are successful, you will all get a good night's sleep. If you are not, you will have to resort to locking your rambunctious kitty in the bathroom for the night. Don't feel guilty. After all, he can sleep the next day but you have to drive.

* AAA and Mobil travel guides note where pets are welcome.

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