Bringing home your Ragdoll cat? What an exciting day!
If you’re like me, you’ve probably spent weeks researching the right breeder and waiting patiently to bring your Ragdoll kitten home.
You can use this time to prepare to travel with your new baby. Traveling with a new kitten or cat can be stressful for both of you. Plan ahead to make sure you have everything you need to smooth the transition into their new home.
Before Pick-Up – Getting to Know Your Kitten
Before you ever bring your kitten home, it’s helpful if you have the ability to get to know them first. If you’re lucky, your breeder will live close enough that you can handle and interact with your new kitten before traveling with them.
Being adopted into a new home is a scary experience for a kitten. If they have met you before the big day, it may help them feel more comfortable and familiar.
Visiting the breeder first can give you an idea of the environment they are raised in.
I was very happy with my choice of breeder and how she cared for her kittens. One thing I especially liked was she gave me cute folders for each of my kittens with their vaccination records, neuter certificates, various articles, microchip docs, etc. Getting to know your breeder should be a pleasant experience.
If you live too far away to visit then don’t worry. It is helpful but you’ll have plenty of time to get to know your baby when you bring them home.
Traveling With Your Ragdoll
Pickup day is here! You should absolutely bring a cat carrier with a soft blanket inside. If you’re in for a long car ride home then bring the right food and water containers as well.
When I picked up my boys, I brought them home in a nasty late spring thunderstorm. They took the ride home like champions. I didn’t hear one peep out of either one of them. They were relaxed, not freaked out whatsoever, which really surprised me.
Not all kittens will be so casual about it though. For most kittens, keeping them secure with a cozy blanket in a carrier will be your best option.
If your breeder has one, consider getting a small blanket or towel from them that the cat has used. The familiar scent will help comfort them during the trip.
Relaxing Techniques & Other Considerations for Travel With Your Ragdoll
I have heard of people having success using relaxing cat pheromones. There are a few brands that create sprays you can use to keep your cat calm. They also have diffusers you can put into your car which is very convenient for longer car rides.
Herbs & Homeopathics
Another choice is calming cat treats that contain herbs to soothe your kitten. Keep in mind that these may not all be safe for kittens’ sensitive stomachs. Homeopathic remedies like Bach’s Flower Essences have also been used successfully for treating a nervous cat.
I highly suggest buying a carrier that has a metal grate. I had a cat who was so terrified of traveling that she would pull the plastic grate until it bent inwards. She managed to get an opening large enough to escape into the car. Metal grate carriers are much nicer and will last you a long time.
Some cats are more calm if you cover the carrier with a towel or blanket. In my experience, this did not work for my cats. They preferred to see their environment. Music, however, helps calm them significantly.
I always buckle in my carrier. Just an added bit of safety in case of an accident.
Keep your cat in the carrier at ALL times. I made the mistake of letting one of my babies out on a short car trip and he immediately went under my feet. Luckily, it was a slow road and I was able to stop without disrupting traffic. I learned my lesson. No matter how pitiful their meows are, the crate is just as much for your safety as theirs.
On the off chance that your little nugget escapes the car, it is a very good idea to have a photo on hand in case a search party needs to get underway.
If you’re in for a long car ride home then it is important to time bathroom breaks. One of my cats always has to go within the first 10 minutes of a car ride.
Expect your kitten to need to go to the bathroom at the very least 4 times a day. Depending on the length of your car ride, I’d stop within an hour of every feeding. Give your kitten several minutes to check out the litter box. They may not need to go immediately.
Do not be surprised if after all that effort they still go in their carrier. When you gotta go, you gotta go!
Supply Checklist for Traveling With Your Ragdoll Kitten
Any specific instructions breeder may give you regarding the kitten, registration papers, bill of sale, neuter/spay certificate (if already done), health records, microchip documents (if applicable) and miscellaneous documents
- Food (should be same food as breeder was feeding)
- Travel-safe bowls
- • Litter and Litter pan
- • Secure carrier (not too big, so kitten feels safe)
- • Cozy blanket for carrier
- • Extra blankets for car ride (in case of potty accidents)
- • Old towels (in case of messes)
Considerations When Shipping a Ragdoll Cat by Air
Some folks have their Ragdoll kittens shipped to them by air. I have never done this with any cats but it must be terribly stressful for the animal.
If at ALL possible, DO pick them up by car.
It is understandable if this is simply not possible. In that case, make sure you thoroughly research the air carrier that you use. Some have a reputation for poor handling of pets. You will most likely need to provide an airline approved carrier to your breeder. Airlines also require specific water and food dispensers. A good airline will have trained staff on hand to see to your cat’s needs during the flight.
Airlines require that cats being flown by cargo need to be delivered to the airport about 3 hours early so make sure your breeder is aware during drop-off. They also need to have proof of health by a veterinarian. Fees for shipment are often based on the cat’s weight. If you anticipate that your cat will gain significant weight before her flight then you should err on the side of being too heavy.
If possible, consider flying out to pick up your cat. Airlines will allow you to store your cat in cabin with you. Just keep in mind, as little as we humans like flying, your kitten will most likely be 10 times as stressed. Having you present may help relieve some of that stress. Most of the same regulations as cargo travel will apply.
Shipping your kitten comes with high risks and you should weigh them carefully. Do your research carefully and consider other options first.
Travel with Your Ragdoll – Bringing Home Your Ragdoll
After all that stress, it is best if you have your home ready for your new kitten. I have some suggestions on preparing a safe space for your Ragdoll cat. Traveling safely with your new Ragdoll is just the first part of a life-long job of taking care of your baby.
Ragdolls are relaxed, loving cats who require little maintenance and a lot of love.
This initial trip home may be the most stress either of you have to endure throughout your relationship. Make it a smooth one! Travel safe and enjoy the new love of your life!
More Ragdoll Kitten Articles
- How To Choose a Ragdoll Breeder For The Kitten of Your Dreams
- Practical Tips For Bringing A Ragdoll Kitten Home
- Creating a Safe Space in Your Home For Your Kitten
- Introducing Your Kitten To Other Cats in Your Home