How To Travel With A Cat Across Country
It’s possible that you already have a lot of experience traveling with your cat. Perhaps the two of you even do it often, like if you’ve moved across the country with your pet by your side. But maybe this is the first time you’ve done something like this and are in need of some tips to make sure this trip goes as smoothly as possible (for both you and your cat). After all, it can be very stressful for cats to travel on car rides. And it can be stressful for their humans too! I’m here to help with my top ten tips for traveling with cats—and I hope they’ll make things easier on everyone.
Tips for traveling with a cat
- Be prepared. If you have a trip planned, be sure to have everything in order before the big day. If you’re going to be crossing state lines or traveling over long distances, make sure that your cat has the appropriate documentation (including health records) and vaccinations for each state that you pass through.
- Have a plan. If possible, schedule your travel time around when your cat is least likely to get stressed out—they won’t appreciate an eight hour road trip on top of it all! Also consider how many days of travel this will involve for your kitty: if it’s too much time in transit with no breaks or stops along the way, they may not do well at all under those circumstances.* Make sure you have food and water available at all times during your trip.* Make sure you have access to litter boxes so that they can go number one and number two while traveling—this will help keep their stress levels down while also preventing any unwanted accidents during transit.* Consider getting them used to being inside their carrier prior to departure so that they feel safe inside once things get underway; this could also help prevent them from trying anything funny while en route such as clawing through walls or escaping onto baggage claim belts.* Finally: don’t forget about potty breaks!
First, know your cat.
Cats are different from dogs, so it’s important to know how they differ. For example, cats are more independent than dogs and may not want to be around you all the time (which is why they have litter boxes). Cats can also be territorial and hide their discomfort when traveling to keep an eye on their surroundings. They’re also more likely than dogs to be afraid of new things or new people.
As you prepare for your cross-country trip, consider these points:
Get your cat used to the carrier.
The most important thing you can do to make your cat comfortable during travel is get him used to the carrier before you begin traveling with him. If your cat has never been in a carrier, start by letting your cat smell and touch it. It’s also helpful if he can sleep in it for a few nights as well. Make sure that these experiences are positive and don’t force the cat into his carrier (this can be done more effectively later).
Practice going for car rides.
The first time you take your cat on a road trip, it’s best to start small. The goal here is to prepare your cat for the car ride so that she knows what to expect and is comfortable with the carrier and her surroundings.
Start by driving around town for short distances, stopping and letting the cat out of the carrier when you come to a stoplight or other safe place. In this way, she will get used to being in the car without feeling rushed or scared by driving too far away from home. You should also make sure she has enough food and water before beginning this practice session so that she doesn’t feel hungry or thirsty while riding around town during your training period!
If your cat hates cars, don’t despair.
If your cat hates cars, don’t despair.
If your cat’s carrier is new to her or she hasn’t been in one very much, she might be cautious and shy about getting inside. You can use a variety of methods to make it more appealing for her.
- Put treats or toys inside the carrier so that when your cat is ready to come out with you, she’ll have something interesting waiting for her inside.
- If you’re going on a long road trip over several days, take breaks from driving every few hours so that your cat has time outside the car while they’re still maintaining their acclimation process to being in the carrier (and hopefully not freaking out). This will also give them fresh air and exercise as well as allow them more time with their littermates if they’re traveling with another feline companion.”
Bring along familiar items from home.
Bring along your cat’s favorite items, so they can be with them during the trip. Your cat may or may not be a fan of traveling by car (especially if they are a long distance traveler), but familiar surroundings and items can help keep them calm and comfortable. If you have an extra carrier large enough to fit several toys, blankets and other items inside, this is great; however, if you don’t have an extra carrier on hand, simply tucking the items under your cat in their carrier will do just fine!
Keep things as routine as possible on travel days.
On travel days, keep things as routine as possible. You’ll want to keep the cat’s environment as stable as possible so she doesn’t get stressed out. If you need to move your schedule around or adjust any other parts of your daily routine, make sure you give yourself enough time to do so before packing up and heading out on your journey.
Travel at night if possible, when cats are usually more mellow.
If you can, travel at night when your cat is likely to be more mellow. Cats are most active at night, so they’re less likely to get car sick and may be tired after a long day of play. They’re also less likely to be distracted by other animals (or humans) during this time. Cats are also much hungrier at night than in the morning, so offer her extra food before you leave and try not to stop along the way—your cat will want something fresh!
Never leave the cat alone in a hot car.
Never leave a cat alone in a hot car. Cats can overheat quickly and die from heatstroke, even if the windows are open or the air conditioning is on. Even leaving them in the garage can be too hot. If you have to take your cat with you on long trips and cannot find someone to care for him while you’re away, buy an airline-approved pet carrier and put it in front of an electric fan while the car is parked at home before taking off on your journey.
Stop and let your cat out of the carrier several times along the drive.
Stop and let your cat out of the carrier several times along the drive. This will give them a chance to stretch, use the bathroom and get some fresh air. Cats are naturally curious creatures who need to see what is going on around them, so it’s vital that you stop frequently for your cat’s benefit as well as yours.
A good rule of thumb is to stop at least every two hours or so when driving long distances if it’s sunny outside—more frequently if it’s raining or snowing. As much as possible you should also take breaks from driving so that both you and your cat can stretch our legs!
You can make life easier for both you and your cat by knowing what works best for her, and following these tips.
You should be prepared to travel with a cat. That means you’ll need to have a cat carrier, food, water and litter box in the car. You should also have a vet on call if your pet is injured or ill during the trip.
Traveling with cats can take longer than expected because they are curious and like to investigate new places. It is not uncommon for it to take an hour or more just to get into your vehicle so make sure you give yourself plenty of time before departure time arrives!
It is also important that you prepare yourself for unexpected delays along the way as well as unexpected changes in weather conditions (hot/cold).
We hope these tips help you travel with your cat more easily. As we’ve covered, the best way to handle any trip with a pet is to really get to know their needs and habits ahead of time. Just like people, cats have individual personalities that may respond in different ways to stressful situations—so it’s a good idea not to make any assumptions about what will work for your cat until you’ve tested out a variety of options. If you are still having trouble planning your trip, even after taking these tips into account, we recommend talking with an expert at your local vet clinic. A professional can help you identify the best way forward based on your specific situation.