The ideal cat has adopted you and it is time to take kitty home. Be prepared for a noisy, and possibly messy, ride. Cats rarely like car travel. A few simple rules will help to minimize the trauma to all concerned.
With the exception of purpose made cardboard pet carriers, cardboard boxes are unsuitable for cat transportation. They are not remotely escape-proof. A good quality, sturdy cat carrier is essential. There are many styles and colors to choose from. Find one that fits your cat, the car, your wallet and is easily carried. It will be needed in the future for trips to the veterinarian for wellness checks and vaccinations so it is well worth buying a carrier that will last. A good precaution is to line the bottom of the carrier with a puppy pad, towel or similar. This is to help prevent anything the frightened creature might choose to eliminate from leaking through to the car seat.
The procedure of putting kitty into the carrier can be panic-inducing for cats at the best of times. The last trip this particular kitty made certainly didn’t end well and cats have memories. Before putting the cat into the crate, sprits the inside with calming cat pheromone spray such as Feliway, it may aid in relaxing kitty.
A member of the shelter staff will probably crate the cat for you. They are well practiced in the art of stuffing a flailing cat through that tiny door. Double check all locks and catches are firmly in the locked position and nothing feels loose.
Cat, securely locked in carrier, can now be placed safely in the car ready for its journey. Make sure there is no chance the carrier will open, roll off a seat or tip over in the foot well. The seat belt may reach round the carrier to hold it in place on the seat. If placed on the floor, something wedged against the sides will help to stop it from rolling over. If necessary run the A/C or heater to keep the cat comfortable. Avoid playing the radio or loud music and turn off the cell phone; sudden and loud noises are startling. Talk gently and encouragingly to kitty during the trip.
Kitty is inside the carrier for a purpose. Inside the carrier is where kitty must stay until both are safely in kitty’s room. Keep the carrier securely closed no matter how pitiful the yowling is coming from inside. Never allow a cat loose inside a vehicle. Having a potential missile armed with claws and fangs at liberty in a car is at best a distraction. At worst the driver becomes the target of this weaponry. Presuming the journey home proved uneventful; imagine what would happen when you open the door. Bye-bye kitty.
The sooner home the less stressful it will be for all involved. Go directly home. It is bad practice to leave a cat unattended in the car so run any errands before leaving to collect kitty. If you have forgotten something, take kitty home first, settle it in its room, and then run the errands. These rules should be automatic every time kitty travels anywhere.
Home at last; time to take kitty inside.