If you're going to be taking your cat on a car trip, here are 13 things you should know first.

2023-01-19 04:18:04 - Drany Macley Drany Macley, the senior editor of Vytravels.com, brings extensive journalism background and over eight years of experience in travel writing and editing to the site, offering practical insights and first-hand knowledge through articles on innovative hotels, backed by a BA in Journalism from Ithaca College.

So you want to take your cat on a road trip with you?

Taking a cat on a car trip is not something I want to make sound easy. Your cat's wants and requirements take precedence. When taking a long trip with a cat, it's important to be prepared for a wide range of possible behaviors.

Cats may be fine for short car rides of up to an hour, but how will they do if you're going to be gone for 3, 4, or even 8 hours? What about the varied landscapes you might encounter while driving with a cat? You should be ready for winding roads and mountainous terrain along the way.

Long-distance travel with cats is fraught with uncertainty, so it's best to be ready for anything. If you must take your cat along on a car trip, consider the advice I've compiled below.

P S Make sure to read my cat road trip tips for staying in a hotel with a cat if you're taking a long-distance trip and stopping for the night.

Psst When you click on the affiliate links in this post and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no additional cost to you.

How To Travel With A Cat In A Car For Long Distance Road Trips

I Have Personal Experience With Long-Distance Cat Travel

My 26-hour road trip from Montreal to Florida (and back) gave me plenty of practice driving with a cat. ) That's about 50 hours on the road with a cat and four hotel rooms.

The trip went swimmingly, and I picked up some valuable tips on how to safely transport a cat over long distances.

Here are 13 helpful suggestions for taking your cat along on car trips.

One, get a big travel bag; don't let them roam free in the car.

Carrying your cat in a specially designed carrier is the best way to ensure their safety during car trips. Both you and your cats are in danger if you allow them to roam freely inside the vehicle. There is always a risk, even with a well-trained cat.

It's true that when my cat starts meowing for attention in his carrier, I give in and let him out. However, this occurrence is extremely uncommon. My rule is that he can't leave my lap; otherwise, he has to go back in his carrier. I only do this temporarily when I notice he is sad and alone in the back.

A large vehicle safe carrier is what you need to find. You have very little leeway in making a decision. This big carrier from Amazon is great for taking cats on car trips. It has a metal frame and a leash for safety, and it's big enough for my cat to stand up and move around in.


The carrier for your cat should be their fortress. Before putting them in the car, it's best to let them get used to the confinement.

The carrier was placed in a central location in my home, and my cat was free to come and go as she pleased. Leaving treats in there, feeding him treats while he sleeps in there, etc.

With sufficient time, I would even have them get used to being there even when it's closed. Have them help you close the carrier while you reward them with a snack. Allow them to become acclimated to the carrier's confinement by gradually increasing the length of time the door is kept closed. (This was a problem for my cat; he adored it when open, but became frantic whenever I closed it. )

P S Long-distance cat travel necessitates the use of a carrier, so familiarizing your cat with both the car carrier and the hotel carrier is a must. We had to use a cat backpack to carry him from the car to the hotel because the car carrier is so big. The baby seat was his sanctuary in the car, but his backpack provided the same feeling of security during his hotel stay. We utilize the Adorable Kitty Backpack Look at it here on Amazon!


Get your cat used to driving by taking it on car trips with you.

Long-distance car travel with cats is possible, but it's best if the cats are acclimated to car rides first. It's a lot to take in when you're behind the wheel; there's constant motion, a cacophony of sounds, dazzling displays of illumination, etc.

Before taking your cat on a long road trip, you should get them used to the car as much as possible. Training them to use the carrier at home is one thing, but doing so in the car is another story entirely.

Our cat used to make a terrible racket and try to escape his carrier whenever we tried to transport him in the car. To re-buckle him, I'd have to ride in the trunk with him. In the end, he picked it up. I can't stress enough how much time is needed for this procedure; if you have any spare time before your trip, there's nothing better you could do for your cat.

We began by taking our cat on as many short car trips as possible. A quick trip around the block, an online grocery pick-up, etc. To help him relax even more, we started off by playing classical music in the car.

After a while, he became accustomed to the car ride and would promptly fall asleep.

travel-with-a-cat-in-a-car-cat-in-his-carrier-pocking-head-out Someone is always sticking their head out to say hello and solicit petting.

Create a warm and welcoming environment in the carrier

You want your pet to feel comfortable in the carrier, not like they're being held captive for hours in a freezing metal box.

If you need to take your cat on a long car trip, there are some things you can do to make the trip more pleasant for both of you. Inside, I set up his bed with a blanket so he can sleep comfortably.
Even though I never saw him use it, I included a scratcher for him. Throw in some playthings if you like.

A blanket on top of the carrier is another suggestion. Because of this, the room will feel cozier and warmer. If the motion makes them sick, at least they won't be able to see what's going on outside. It's also useful for blocking out light, which causes my cat great distress.


5. Tips for Keeping Your Cat Calm in the Car on a Road Trip

You might want to get your cat something to help ease their nerves if they're still nervous about riding in the car. There is a Feliway travel spray available, which uses synthetic versions of natural pheromones to relax cats. This can be sprayed in their carrier 15 minutes before you leave, and it will keep them calm for the next four to five hours.

Alternatively, you could buy them some soothing snacks to give them in the car. (Some people were worried that the spray would make the driver drowsy; we had no such problems.)

Talk to your vet about getting your cat any additional medication it may need for the trip if it is a particularly long one.

Find Items on Amazon to Help Your Cat Relax During Car Trips

Cats are masters of bladder control, but sometimes accidents occur

Getting your cat to use the litter box before you leave is probably not going to work. Cats can hold their urine for up to 48 hours, so there's no need to stress.

True, mishaps can occur, especially if the person is anxious. Think of the worst case scenario assuming this We used pee-pads to line our cat carrier to catch any accidents. In the event that our cat had an accident while we were driving, the mess would be minimal. Possessing this item is also helpful in the event that your cat becomes ill and vomits. Find diaper changes on Amazon.com.

Expect to provide your cat with a litter box at each location... more on portable litter boxes for cats coming soon!


7. Invest in portable litter boxes for cats and use regular litter...

What to do about the litter box is a major concern when taking a cat on a car trip. There's no way to let it relieve itself on the lawn like you would with a dog.

You're looking for a covered litter box that's smaller than the one you're using now. When traveling with a cat, you can purchase a small litter box or do what we did and use a covered plastic container. Covering it this way makes it simple to transport it from the car to the hotel. Or you can simply cover it up, take it out of the house when your cat needs it, and avoid being afflicted by the odor.

Bringing the same litter from home for the litter box is another helpful cat travel tip. There are a few factors at play here, the most significant of which is that the litter that is typically included in small travel litters is of low quality. It may be more abrasive and won't hide odors as well.

However, the most crucial factor is that your cat is unfamiliar with it. Don't change their litter now, when they're already being exposed to so many novel experiences. In general, it's best to maintain as much stability as possible. One of the best ways to accomplish this is to use the same litter that you employ at home. Why bother changing it now that your cat is used to it and clearly approves?

I even dusted off the old litter box and brought it along for the ride. ) This way, however, he could tell it was his just by the scent.


When do you go to the bathroom?

It's not uncommon for people to ignore your requirements when you take your cat on a car trip. Yet they really shouldn't You should plan for your cat's bathroom breaks, but you should also plan for your own. Humans, in contrast to cats, cannot (and should not) suppress urination.

When taking a cat on a car trip, it's important to consider whether or not you'll need to leave your feline friend behind if you're sharing the ride with others. There are a few things to keep in mind. Do you think it's too hot or cold outside? And if left in the car by themselves, will they panic?

We didn't give the cat a second's alone time in the car when we first started driving with him. Since there were two of us behind the wheel, I could stop for a bathroom break while my co-pilot stopped to refuel. When she went inside, I would check on the cat to see if it needed anything (more water, food, etc.) and vice versa. when my spouse went to the restroom Furthermore, we never felt like we were waiting on the other person thanks to this method of communication.

The cat became more accustomed to the car by the end of the trip, allowing us to leave him for short periods of time when we needed to use the restroom simultaneously. If the weather was particularly hot, we would make sure to open a window. We weren't even driving in the middle of a heat wave!

It's best if you can prepare a cat to ride in the car with you before you have to do so alone. A cat backpack or duffel bag would also work. In this regard, the Pecute cat backpack is among our favorites.


In order to keep your cat hydrated while traveling, consider the following: 9.

Make sure to bring enough water for both you and your cat, as well as a collapsible bowl to serve it in (you can find one on Amazon). As we drove, our cat showed no interest in drinking water. I tried to give it to him several times, but he was always distracted by the world outside.

It's fine if they abstain from alcohol during the day, but they should get plenty drunk at night. Cats can and do suffer from dehydration.

On our trip, I made sure my cat had plenty to drink by stocking up on Purebites' chicken in water. Water can be provided through the purchase of wet food to be given to them once you have arrived at your destination.


Ten. Keep your cat's necessities in an easily accessible bag.

You've thought of everything, and maybe even have a special overnight bag for your cat. However, you should also bring a small bag for easy access items. Everything you and your cat could possibly need while you're on the road is contained in this convenient bag. You have the option of bringing it up front with you or leaving it in the trunk.

Everything you and your cat will need on the road and at rest stops should fit in there. Two different kinds of snacks were packed to provide some variety. , water, a bowl that folds up, a leash, a toy, and a can of Feliway spray In this place, you should also store your cat's vaccination records and any medication he may be taking.


When traveling with a cat, step 11 is not to ignore it for the entire trip.

This may seem like common sense, but some cats will sleep through the entire trip if you bring them along.

Late in the day, I've noticed, our cat starts to feel lonely. In the carrier, he'd start meowing and pacing.

Even if I didn't take him for a walk at each stop, I still made it a point to pet him and offer him something to drink. But he rarely paid attention to me because he was preoccupied with the world around him.

On the road, I would instead open the carrier whenever he was quiet and pet him. Because of this, he knew we were still thinking about him and it meant a lot to him. In normal circumstances, he wouldn't dare go this long without occupying one of our laps. After a while, he'd settle down and resume his sleep.

When he was particularly fussy, this is also where I'd remove him from the baby carrier and let him sit on my lap. Understanding your cat's wants and needs is the key here.

Don't go too long between stops if you're traveling with a cat.

It's still important to stop for a break, even if your cat doesn't get out of the car when you do or you've noticed they still won't drink water.

You shouldn't keep them in the car for too long without stopping and letting them out.
Ideally, I'd pull over every three hours, but I'll pay attention to your cat. They should be taken out earlier if they start to get antsy. Make sure they have access to food, water, and the bathroom if possible.

My cat spent his entire life inside the car, never leaving the safety of his carrier. When I realized he wasn't interested in going outside or drinking water, I stopped doing both for the remainder of the trip. Still, I'd pay him a backseat visit and pet him whenever I could.

13 Road Trip Hints for Cat Owners: Where to Rest Your Cat While on the Road

There may or may not be rest stops suitable for a cat, depending on where you're traveling. These were quick exits off the highway along the way from Montreal to Florida. Aside from the restrooms, they also usually featured a sizable grassy area with picnic tables.

I was able to get my cat used to a harness and leash so that we could go outside and play on the grass. It's a great place to stop the car and give your cat a drink of water and some food so it can use the restroom.

The only drawback is that they might not have access to a gas station. That means you'll still need to make a separate stop.


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