Aaron DiManna
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A True Story About Driving With Pets

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Cat drinking water
Photo: Pikrepo

Driving with pets poses a unique set of challenges, foremost among them being the moment when you need to restrain your beloved fur friends in a crate. Early in my pet parentship, I struggled with this situation despite knowing rationally that allowing my pets to freely roam my car put both them and myself at risk. What I experienced was heart-meltingly adorable, and it made me realize why I should never let it happen again.


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A bit of backstory

At the risk of sharing too much, I’ll tell you a little bit about my pets. I share my modest apartment with two cats: Splotch and Mildred. When I adopted Splotch from the local animal shelter, they (responsibly) put him in a cardboard carrier so I could take him home securely. I (irresponsibly) let him out as soon as I got into the car because I didn’t want to keep him cooped up. Thankfully, he fell asleep behind the driver’s seat moments later, and we arrived at our destination without incident.

Mildred, on the other hand, appeared next to my recently parked car in a pitch-black parking lot on the eve of a snowstorm. The rest is history.

The event

One weekend, before the Corona-times, I decided to take a weekend away to see my family. Since I planned to be gone for several days, I gathered the cats and brought them with me. Like a moron, I didn’t put either of them in a carrier.

Thankfully, neither Splotch or Mildred tried to gum up my steering wheel, get under my gas/brake pedal, or climb onto my dashboard. Instead, Mildred climbed up my headrest and draped herself around my neck like one of those plush donuts you see people carrying onto airplanes.

And there she stayed for more than two hours.

The point

That was the last time I put my cats in the car without a carrier. As wonderful as the experience of having a kitten falling asleep on my shoulders was, allowing it to happen in the first place was a terrible idea.

You see, it was enormously distracting. And the reality of the situation was such that it wasn’t just me at risk. It was other drivers — potentially with children onboard. It could be other drivers with pets onboard. It could have just been other drivers. It could have been my pets.

My point is this: I was one of the lucky ones; as were Splotch, Mildred, and everyone on the road with me. Please make sure you safely secure your pets before you hit the road. It may seem like a hassle, but it’s more than worth it.


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