You’re heading off on holiday, and you can’t think of anything better than bringing your favorite feline friend along for the ride.
However, it’s no secret that most cats aren’t too keen on traveling, and they’re certainly not afraid to let you know! Yet many people manage to do it and survive to tell the tale, so what’s the secret?
With some preparation, you can make traveling with cats on the road a much more comfortable experience. Here are our top five tips for traveling with your tabby.
With some luck, you may find that you own an adventurous cat that can easily adapt to life on wheels. You may even find that your little traveler prefers traveling to snoozing on the sofa!
1. Speak to Your Vet
Before you hit the road, you should first speak to your vet for advice on how to travel with a cat and to check that your kitty is healthy enough to travel. It may be that your cat will need to have appropriate vaccinations and parasite control, depending on where you’re traveling.
If your cat is particularly anxious, your vet may recommend some medication to make her feel more comfortable during the trip. Medication to sedate a hyperactive cat will make the trip a lot more safe, easier, and stressful for both of you.
CBD oil can also work to relax and de-stress your cat during long car journeys. Here’s the best CBD oil for dogs and cats should you consider it as an option.
Likewise, your cat may get carsick so you might need to consider medication for this too. Make sure your vet shows you how to feed your cat a pill if you’ve never done it before.
The best thing to do is discuss options with your vet if you’re worried the trip will be overwhelming for your cat.
Once you have the appropriate medication, it’s important to feed it to your cat well ahead of the trip so it works as soon as your cat is in the car. Your vet should inform you on correct timings.
For practical reasons, it’s also important to have relevant paperwork with you from your vet that shows your cat’s current vaccination status. If you’re traveling over state lines you also need to have a health certificate in case you’re asked to show it by authorities. While it’s unlikely you’ll need to display it, it’s better to be safe than sorry!
2. Prepare For Stress
When heading off on your cat vacation, it’s important to understand that no matter how hard you try to prepare ahead of the trip, traveling with your feline friend is likely to be stressful for both of you.
Understand ahead of time that there’s likely to be a few bumps in the road. Your cat may cry throughout the whole journey, throw up from anxiety, or have a potty accident, for example.
Bring plenty of paper towels and pet-safe cleaning supplies so you can be on hand to attend to any messes and hiccups.
Likewise, it’s a given that you should bring plenty of food, water, and extra medical supplies should your kitty need it.
It may be worth exercising your cat by playing with her just before you leave. This may mean she’ll be more likely to lie down for a snooze during the trip. Remember to feed her plenty of food and water just before you leave too unless your vet directs you not to.
Be patient with your cat, especially if it’s your first time traveling together in a car. If you have the time, it’s worth driving short distances with your cat ahead of the vacation to acclimate her to the car. It’s a learning process, and with time the result can be rewarding for both of you.
3. Take Precautionary Safety Measures
When it comes to traveling with your cat, you’ll need to take extra precautionary safety measures.
You’ll want to make sure your cat is comfortable but safe at the same time. Choose a large, sturdy carrier that allows your cat to stand up, stretch, and move around.
Cover the bottom of the crate with a comfy blanket so your kitty will be happy snoozing as you drive. Try not to pick a material that will slide around in the crate though, as this will get irritating for your cat.
Secure a seat-belt over the carrier, just in case. After all, you’re wearing a seat-belt, so why shouldn’t your cat?
If the car journey is under six hours long, your kitty should be fine staying within the carrier for the duration of the ride. If it’s a longer trip – maybe one spanning over a few days even – you’ll want to let your cat out periodically to stretch, eat, drink, and to use the litter tray.
In such cases, you’ll need to be extra careful. Firstly, make sure you’re parked.
In the worst-case scenario, if you let your cat out while you’re driving, your kitty could distract you or get in the way of the foot pedals in the driver’s seat. It could even be enough to shock you and cause a car accident.
Once you’re parked, make sure the car doors and windows are all shut. If your cat was to suddenly dart out of the car, your cat could easily run off in panic which would, of course, be heart-breaking. We all know that cats are skilled escape artists, after all!
Remember, you should never leave any pet in a car alone. Even if it doesn’t feel too hot, temperatures in the car can climb high quickly.
4. Bring Your Cat’s Favorite Items
A good tip for vacationing with pets is to bring their favorite items to help them feel more comfortable on the trip.
If your cat has a favorite blanket, bed, or toy, bring it along! An item that smells and feels like home will make your kitty will more secure and safe on their travels.
This isn’t the time to experiment with different food or litter brands either. Pack the same food and litter that you’d usually use, so your cat isn’t any more shocked than she needs to be.
Bring along kitty’s favorite treats too, so you can reward her for being good and to calm her when she’s stressed.
5. Choose Cat-Friendly Accommodation
When traveling with pets on vacation, you’ll need to book accommodation that’s happy to host your furry friends.
While many hotels are dog-friendly, not all of them are cat-friendly. While you can sneak your cat into hotels, it’s not advised due to safety concerns. Plus, if you don’t get away with it do you want to be wandering around a strange town at 10 pm at night carrying your kitty?
Instead, call to confirm with any hotels you’re hoping to stay at. If they say yes, be sure to get the name of the person you’re making the reservation with, in case there are any issues on arrival. Better yet, try to get the confirmation in writing.
Once you’ve arrived at your hotel room, crawl around to inspect the area to make sure there are no hazards for your cat or any means for escaping the room. Be sure to check the insides of cupboards too!
For all you know, there may be a mousetrap or poison lurking somewhere that would be of huge danger to your cat.
If you don’t feel satisfied with the safety of the room, you can always shut your cat into the bathroom overnight if it feels more secure. Use your cat’s favorite bed and toys to make her feel more comfortable in a small and unfamiliar room. You can always use a blanket to pad out the bath to make it into a comfy bed for your kitty.
Instead of using hotels, a good idea is to opt for an Air BNB or other apartment rentals, which are more likely to allow cats. On websites like Air BNB, there’s usually a filter in which you can seek accommodation that’s pet-friendly.
Traveling with Cats the Easiest Way
Following our tips, traveling with cats should be an easier feat than you may think.
Remember that no matter what, your attention should always be on the traffic and not your cat – no matter how loud your stressed kitty is meowing!
In the best situations, your traveling pal may simply snooze most of the journey. In most cases, it’s a practice that improves the process in the long run.
For more advice on life on the road, head to our travel tips section at the top of the page. Bon voyage!