Top tips for car travel with your cat

By Cathy Beer

car travel with your cat

Secure the cat carrier behind the front seats

Going on a long journey by car with your cat?  There are three things that matter for car travel with cats: preparation, preparation, preparation!

International Cat Care says most cats are not particularly happy travellers.  They are usually bonded strongly to their own territory and feel very vulnerable off home ground.  The rewards of staying with the family or the potential of exploring or walking somewhere new at the end of the journey do not excite the average feline in the same way as its canine cousins.

Tips for car travel with your cat  – before you leave 

  • Allow time for your pet to become familiar to the cat carrier well before the journey.  Make the carrier a pleasant place by feeding your cat with a few treats inside the carrier.  Make a cosy bed of familiar smelling bedding which can be used on the journey.  Leave the cat carrier door open and encourage your cat to go in and out, and sleep in it.
  • Ensure vaccinations and worming is up to date.
  • Research the destination for potential risks such as ticks and heartworm.
  • Ensure your cat is secured indoors the night before departure – you don’t want to run around looking for Puss the morning you are leaving!
  • Withhold food for about four to five hours before the journey in case your cat is sick while travelling
  • Spray the cat carrier with Feliway (a calming synthetic cat scent or pheromone, which may be available from your vet), at least 15 minutes before putting your cat in it.

Tips for car travel with your cat – keep your pet happy and safe during the journey

  • Use thermal, synthetic bedding to draw any fluid away from the cat and through to the layer beneath, should any toilet accidents occur during the journey.
  • Line the cat carrier with newspaper under the bedding.
  • Never consider travelling with your cat loose in the car.
  • Place the cat carrier where it will be secure if you have to brake suddenly but where there is good air flow.  For example the cat carrier could be placed behind one of the front seats or use a seat belt to make sure it is held securely on the seat.
  • For more than one cat, use separate carriers for each cat.
  • Never leave your pet unattended in a car.
  • Allow for frequent stops take her out of the car but remain in the pet carrier.  Place the cat carrier under shade.
  • Take food and water for your cat

Enjoy the journey!

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International Cat Care – Travelling with your cat