How to Travel with a Cat in a Car
Most cats dread driving. Think about it, why would they look forward to traveling? Most of the time, you’re taking them to the vet or some unknown, scary place. Learning how to travel with a cat is not a simple snack of the fingers, there are steps and habits you must consider.
One helpful tip is to disassociate car travel with anything negative. Take your pet on short trips. Think of creatives ways for them to enjoy the experience.
Other ways for making car travel enjoyable, for both you and the cat are listed below.
Talk with hotels you’ll be visiting BEFORE starting your trip. Leaving your cat in the car overnight should never never be an option. Before leaving call up all the places where you’ll be staying and confirm they are pet-friendly.
Let your cat out to stretch and play in between pit stops. Let them get their energy out so it’ll be easier for them to nap. Stress, anxiety, cramped space and boredom… Not a good combination.
Buy a trackable collar. Be safe. Be smart. It’s all fun and games till you lose the cat. Buying such a device will ensure your trip doesn’t become a nightmare for you or the cat.
Plan your pit stops before you start. Plan how long each leg of the trip will be. Where you can let the cat out to stretch and play.
Always pack extra supplies. Food, water, litter, cat toys, blanket, car carrier. Be prepared for anything and your cat will say meow – I appreciate you.
Before embarking talk with your vet. Ask for his advice on car trips. They might have personal trips and tricks for making the trip a great one.
How to Travel with a Cat
Let the cat explore the car before you leave. The car is a new territory. Give them ample time to explore and get comfortable with it.
One fun method for helping them get comfortable in the car is to feed them for a week in the car. Make the car a fun place where the cat looks forward to going to.
BE PATIENT. This process will take a long time. Don’t rush it. If you want to enjoy your trip. Take your time with this and give your cat time to ease into the transition.
Use a cat carrier when going on a road trip. You don’t want your cat flying into the air if something happens.
Caution: furry projectiles in vehicle.
Crate your cat and place them in the back seat, away from the airbag. That way they are in the safest place.
How to Travel with a Cat on a Plane
There are two options when traveling by plane with a cat. You can either put them in the cabin with you or as cargo.
Most plans allow pets that weigh under 20 pounds if the fit under the seat in front of you. Cats in the cabin of the plan are less costly.
The other option is to put the cat in the carrier. They will be placed in a pressurized, temperature-controlled compartment. Cats as cargo fly similarly to check bags.
Or you can ship them as cargo, but this is more difficult because they are not on the same plane as you and may not arrive at the same time. Check with the airline for more information
Another option is to contact the International Pet and Animal Transportation Association. They may be of assistance.
Most airlines cost $125 each way in the cabin of the airplane. Southwest Airlines cost $95 and JetBlue cost $100.Cats as cargo can cost up to $200 each way.
As a precaution, let your cat get used to your carrier before the flight. Feed them in the carrier, let them sleep in it for a couple nights. Let them spend time there and get comfortable before taking them on this long trip.
Flying internationally is more complicated. Check the country you’ll be visiting for pet law. Also, some airlines don’t allow pet to travel internationally. You may need to get an international health certificate before you make your trip.
See these links for airline policies:
- Southwest Airlines
- JetBlue Airways
- Alaska Airlines
- American Airlines
- Delta Air Lines
- Hawaiian Airlines
- United Airlines
How to Travel Cross Country with a Cat
Every cat reacts differently when traveling. Some can do it without any issues. They’ll just nap the whole way. Others don’t. Other cats handle it poorly, moaning and crying the whole way.
For cats that aren’t big travels, an alternative option is to use sedatives. This may sound intense – drugging your cat. But it can really help. Instead, extreme stress, sedating helps anxious cats to relax.
Cool Kitty is one good product. It’s a sprayable sedative. All you have to do is spray a little where the cat sleeps/naps. It will help reduce stress and anxiety.
Sprayable sedatives usually take up to 15 – 20 minutes before taking effect. Another method is to give them an oral sedative. Before you administer either, talk with your local vet to see if your cat is eligible.
You may be asking – are sedatives safe? Yes, but like any drug, you’ll have to make sure you use the correct dosages at the right time. Never give a kitty 6 weeks or younger a sedative.
Cat Carrier with Litter Box
For long road trips, having the perfect cat carrier is a life saver. Our favorites are ones with litter boxes in the carrier. More room and less mess. Cats need room to lie down, play, and feel cramped. That’s why we like to use large carriers.
As a recommendation, make sure you’re not only using a carrier. It doesn’t matter how big it is, take your cat out periodically to stretch and play. Below we listed our 3 favorite carriers:
- Necoichi Set of Pop Open Cat Cage and Portable Litter Box
- Catit Design Cabrio Multi-Functional Carrier System
- Sherpa Deluxe Pet Carriers
If the cat gets to go and the dog doesn’t. Or the cat can’t make on the next trip either, contact us! Let’s work something out. We have a team of professional and pet-friendly sitters. Contact us, we’d love to work out a plan for you.