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Find Advice on Traveling With Cats and Cat in a Car Trips

I Need Your Help . . . With Advice For Traveling With a Cat Over the Thanksgiving Holiday

Oh no! Read this problem submitted by PetSugar reader Bany19 in the Pet Peeves group:

Hello all,

I wanted to get some advice from the cat owners of the group . . . I have a cat who is almost one year old. He is perfectly healthy, and has a wonderful personality. I am planning on traveling to my hometown to see my family for Thanksgiving which is 5.5 hours away. Since there will no one in town to look after my cat while I am gone, I thought that I would bring him home with me. However, I am concerned that I am going to traumatize him and that he will not do well on the trip.

My family has outside cats (he should have no interaction with them), and two small dogs. In the past, my cat has done well with dogs but I am afraid that he might act differently this time since he will be in their territory. Also, I am concerned about the length of the drive . . . my vet said that I could give him some Benadryl to keep him calm but I'm not sure if I want to do that to him.

Basically, I really really don't want to cause any unnecessary trauma to my cat and I want to do everything that I can to make sure that he is comfortable on our trip. Does anyone have any advice or experience in regards to traveling with a cat? Any dos or don'ts? Please help!

Find my tips and share your own when you


Since it's his first trip ever, it's hard to say for sure what will go down once you get into the car. I realize it's creeping up on trip time, but you can get him used to the carrier now — by leaving it out in the house — and even taking him on small trips around town. It may help if you have a "safe zone" set up in your parents house where he can escape to be away from the dogs if need be, and be certain to bring some toys and a bed that smells like home, too. If anyone else has more tips, share your recommendations in comments and, remember, you can always share your concerns and questions in the Pet Peeves group, too.

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sumlady sumlady 6 years
Having moved many times with this last being across the country we have taken our 6 year old kitty (of course!) with us each time. I also have two large dogs she calls her sisters. We have found that although it is strange at first, she gets along well. We make sure she has a bed and blanket which comes from home (complete with her home smells). She also seems to be comforted by the dogs being with her. I usually make a make shift litterbox behind one of the seats in case she needs to go (but we had a 17 hour trip). Last December my husband and I took a month of vacation and drove back to our home state for the whole month. We drove a ford focus with a months worth of luggage, Christmas gifts, two German Shepherd mixes, a happy couple and a kitty for 17 hours in a Ford Focus. It was hilarious. She meowed for about the first 15 minutes then curled up on one of our laps or the bed we made for her in between us and fell asleep. Purring.
lynniepop lynniepop 6 years
*she would throw such a fit * oops :)
lynniepop lynniepop 6 years
I am not sure how long you are going for but we leave our cat with a self food feeder and self water feeder for up to 4 days at a time. We used to travel with her all of the time but we would throw such a fit in the car and get so nervous around my parents dogs that it just wasn't worth it for her anymore. She is much happier being at home with her bed and her toys and food and water and a clean litter box. Always worth a try even if for a couple days at a time, especially if you have a neighbor or a friend that could stop in to check on your kitty.
whiterabbit1 whiterabbit1 6 years
I would also highly recommend the "safe zone" for the kitty when you are at your family's house. After traveling in the car the kitty may be upset and the last thing you should do is just unleash him in the house once you get there. Let him chill in a safe place away from the dogs and busy areas and let him then come out on his own when he is ready. Then maybe when you are ready to go he won't already be so scared that then riding in a car will scare him further. I had two siamese cats that traveled very well once in the car but hated getting put in their carriers. So, I also agree that perhaps you should get the carrier out ahead of time to try to get your kitty accustomed so it is not such a shock when it is time to go. You could also board your kitty at your vet if they have those services or find a nearby vet that boards. My experience with boarding my dog at my vet has been very good -- they really take good care of him. I think they would also take good care of my cats if I needed to board them. Finally, if your cat really hasn't traveled long distances, even if you want to give him a chance to go to the bathroom, you may not want to open the carrier because he could dart out of the carrier. Then you may be stuck with him in the car but not in a carrier. I would suggest taking away his food and water the night before if you are leaving in the morning or at least the morning before if you are leaving later in the day (same goes for the return trip). That way your kitty may not have to use his box during the trip. Just in case though, I would suggest putting a towel in his carrier and having an extra available in case he happens to have an accident. Carrying some of those pet wash mittens is also a good idea in case you need to clean him up during the trip or when you get to your destination. Happy traveling!
fuzzles fuzzles 6 years
Almost forgot! Before hitting the road, strap a car seat belt through the carrier handle. Just in case!
fuzzles fuzzles 6 years
Completely agree with the previous posters. Pet sitters are fantastic! If arrangements can't be made in time for your trip, Pet gave some great advice. You might also want to consider adding a bit of Rescue Remedy (a liquid,natural plant-based anti-anxiety supplement) to your cat's water. Also, with a drive of that length, I would recommend stopping once or twice to offer food and a bit of bottled water in small dishes, and to give the cat the opportunity to use his litter pan. (Bring along a few baggies to dispose of any dirty litter.) Placing your cat in his carrier where he can see you while you are driving may also be comforting to him. Good luck! :D
stellaRuby stellaRuby 6 years
I second anonymous suggestion. There are many wonderful pet sitters that would be able to take great care of your cat.
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