Traveling with a cat

It’s reasonable to wonder how you travel with your cat. Especially if you’re going on a long journey when you’ve only ever taken short car trips with your cat in the past. Your cat might not love traveling, but you can make it as low-stress as possible with some preparation.

Shop this article: Petmate Aspen Pet Porter Travel KennelSherpa Travel Original Deluxe Airline Approved Pet Carrier and Feliway Travel Calming Cat Spray

Traveling with cats long distances

However you need to travel with your cat, a carrier is involved. For many cat owners, the most challenging part of traveling with their pets is getting them in the carrier. Rather than hiding your cat carrier away until it’s time to go on a journey, you can make it into a safe space by keeping it out all the time.

No need to draw attention to it; leave the door open, and your cat will eventually decide to explore. Most cats love finding hiding spots, and a carrier can make the perfect place to retreat to. You can make it even more of a fun place for your cat to hang out by occasionally putting a few treats and toys inside. Once your cat gets used to their carrier, getting them in it isn’t such a hassle, and they’re more likely to feel relaxed once they’re in there.

Traveling with cats in a car

You’re most likely to find yourself traveling with your cat by car, whether you’re popping down the road to the animal hospital or moving cities. It’s easy to keep your cat comfortable when traveling by car, but don’t expect your feline friend to love it.

  • Choose a suitable carrier: Hard-sided cat carriers are the best option when traveling by car with your cat because they offer some protection in the event of a collision. Make sure it has plenty of ventilation, so your cat doesn’t overheat. The carrier should be large enough to fit your cat comfortably. Don’t get a carrier that’s larger than you need because it’s more challenging to carry and fit in your car.
  • Secure the carrier: It’s best to position your cat’s carrier on a car seat rather than in the footwell. Your cat can either travel on one of the back seats or the front passenger seat. Thread the seatbelt through the handle on top of the carrier and buckle it up to secure the carrier. Then it can’t move around if you turn sharply or brake suddenly.
  • Make your cat as comfortable as possible: Put a small crate pad or a soft blanket at the bottom of the cat carrier to make your cat feel more comfortable inside. If they have a favorite blanket, use it. Don’t wash it first so that they’re comforted by the familiar scent.

disposable litter box

  • Prepare for comfort breaks: If you’re going on a long journey, you need to get your cat out of the carrier at some point to drink and go potty. Ensure the car windows and doors are all closed before you let your cat out of the carrier, and consider using a harness to keep your cat safe. Bring water and a travel bowl with you, and consider using a disposable litter box.

Traveling with a cat on a plane

Don’t travel by air with your cat unless necessary, such as a permanent move. When only going away for a few weeks, it’s best to leave your cat in the care of a pet sitter or at a cattery. If you must travel with your cat by plane, choose an airline that lets you bring your cat into the cabin rather than in the cargo hold.

  • Check airline requirements: All airlines have requirements for transporting pets. Some don’t let you travel with kittens under 16 weeks, some don’t fly flat-faced cats and most need to see up-to-date vaccination records. Also, check your specific airline’s carrier size requirements.
  • Prepare for taking your cat through security: When traveling with your pet in the cabin, you need to take them through security. Airlines must check cat carriers like luggage. You need to have your cat securely harnessed while the carrier is x-rayed. You can also arrange a secondary screening not to remove your kitty from its carrier.

What you need to buy for traveling with your cat

best Petmate Aspen Pet Porter Travel Kennel

Petmate Aspen Pet Porter Travel Kennel

This hard-sided carrier is perfect for car travel. It is comfortable for pets up to 10 pounds.

Sold by Amazon

best Sherpa Travel Original Deluxe Airline Approved Pet Carrier

Sherpa Travel Original Deluxe Airline-Approved Pet Carrier

An airline-approved carrier that fits the dimensions required for in-cabin pet transport. It is comfortable for pets up to 16 pounds.

Sold by Amazon

best Feliway Travel Calming Cat Spray

Feliway Travel Calming Cat Spray

If your cat gets stressed while traveling, Feliway’s pheromone-based spray may have a calming effect. It seems to work well for some cats and not for others, but it’s worth a try. 

Sold by Amazon

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Lauren Corona writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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