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Tips for Traveling with Cats

Updated on September 25, 2015

Traveling with Pets

Whether you are going on vacation or you are moving, it can be hard to travel with a pet. Traveling with a cat isn't quite as hard as traveling with dogs or other pets, but it can still be challenging.

When traveling with your pet you want to make sure that you have your pet's safety in mind. You want to make sure that no matter what happens, you pet is safe- whether that is safe in the car with you, on a plane, train, etc.

Because cats typically aren't fond of car rides, you want to make traveling experience as stress-free as possible. At least, minimize the stress as best as you can.

by tromasbronot
by tromasbronot

Tips for Traveling With Cats

When traveling with your cat, you want to follow these basic tips so that you can ensure your cat's safety.

First off you want to make sure that your cat has had all of its shots and vaccinations, and you want to make sure that the cat is wearing a collar with his identification tags with all of your information.

You want to purchase a travel crate so that your cat can safely travel. This will prevent your cat from hurting himself in the car. You want to make sure that the door of the carrier is not facing a window, as you don't want your cat to panic because he's watching the scenery fly by, and you don't want to open the carrier while in motion.

In terms of the carrier, you do not want to force your cat into the carrier; in order to minimize stress, you should start working with the cat in advance of the trip or move, so that he's used to getting in and out of the carrier. If you absolutely can't get the cat in the travel carrier, you can tip the carrier on its end and lower the cat into the carrier. NEVER force the cat into the travel carrier. You'll want to start with short trips, as well. Start with around the block and then work your way to longer trips before you have to drive a longer distance.

And, don't forget to check for pet friendly accommodations where you are going, and make the reservations ahead of time.

Traveling in the Car

When driving, you want to make frequent stops to give the driver a rest, and to offer your cat water and a chance to use the litter box. Many cats will actually wait to use the bathroom, if the trip is less than 7 or 8 hours.

You can give your cat a few small treats during the breaks, as well. Now, if the cat suffers motion sickness, you do not want to provide any food during the trip.

If your cat does suffer from motion sickness, you can consult your vet about medications that you can give your cat for the ride. Your vet can prescribe a medication and dosage for you. This will make the trip easier to bare for everyone, as the cat will essentially be sleeping for the most part of the trip.

Traveling in a Plane

When traveling via plane with your cat, you should check with the airline first, as there have been changes with how airlines want you to tote your pets. Depending on the airline, you may be able to have one or two cats ride with you in the cabin as a carry-on. You just want to call and speak with the airline before you assume anything.

Once you've called the airline, you want to make sure that you follow all of their rules. Typically, they will require a plastic crate with a metal door, and most of the time they require two bowls within the crate. The cat must also be able to stand up, sit, lay down, and turn around within the crate.

Make sure to bring proof of the rabbies vaccine as well as a health certificate that is dated no more than ten days prior to the trip.

You should also recognize that if you tranquilize your cat before flight, you risk illness and death, is it's not recommended that you do so.


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    • profile image

      flowergirl* 6 years ago

      My cats go bwonga crazy inside their crate on road trips. Lightning rips his potty pad to dust, and Scarlet Bleeds her nose by cutting herself on the wire. Last time she chewed so hard she snapped off a tooth. I'm in California, and I'm leaving tomorrow to go back home in Arizona WITH OUR CATS. What can I do???

    • Whitney05 profile image

      Whitney 8 years ago from Georgia

      Medications will definitely help out with the anxiety. Definitely ask your vet to see what she says.

    • Stacie Naczelnik profile image

      Stacie Naczelnik 8 years ago from Seattle

      Great tips. I may be driving long distance with my cats this summer (we may be moving), and one of my cats experiences a lot of anxiety whenever we have to take her anywhere (vet, etc.). I think I may call my vet to ask her if she thinks we should do something different for this cat. I never would have thought of doing that before reading this article, but it makes sense. People go to their doctor for anxiety relief due to travelling all the time.