Traveling with Your Cat

It may be necessary to travel with your cat, whether it's a short trip to the veterinarian or a family vacation. Traveling can be frightening for your cat, so here are some suggestions to reduce your cat's stress.

Before You Travel with Your Cat

Traveling with your cat does not have to be a terrible experience. With a little thought and preparation it can go smoothly for everyone involved. For long trips, ask your veterinarian about medication to calm or sedate the cat to make her more comfortable. If you will be traveling out of the state or country you should check with your local health department to see if a health certificate or other documentation is required for the cat.

It is always best for your cat to travel in a cat carrier. Get your cat used to her cat carrier well before your date of departure. Leave the open carrier sitting out so that she can explore it on her own. Place catnip or treats in the carrier to get her to look inside. You can even leave the carrier out permanently as a bed or hiding place for the cat (see Free Access Crate Training).

Traveling by Car

Get the cat used to going for rides in the carrier. Put her into the carrier with a special treat and drive around the block a few times a few times a week. This will help her to get accustomed to riding in the car. When the cat is riding in your car, turn the stereo down to a low volume, roll up the windows and turn on the air vents to keep it cool inside. Too much noise from the stereo or the road will frighten the cat. Never put your cat into a hot car or leave her there unattended for any length of time!

If you will be driving a long distance you will need to bring along food, water, and a litter box for the cat. A clean litter box can travel easily on the floor of your car or in the back of your SUV or minivan. Disposable cardboard litter boxes are also available and are convenient for travel.

Traveling by Plane

Some airlines will allow you bring your cat aboard as a "carry-on" in a soft-sided carrier. If that is not an option choose an airline that provides safe and humane handling for traveling pets. Check with the airline to see what is required for your cat's flight. For more information please visit the American Veterinary Medical Association.