Road Trips With Kitty

Cats don’t often take road trips, usually we bring the family dog and the cat gets the house to her/himself for the long weekend. But if we are moving and driving to the new place or going to be gone for a while and boarding or finding a pet sitter is not an option, the family cat may have to ride in the car.

The first rule of traveling with a cat: have ID tags for your cat and a good collar

Many lost cats end up in shelters because of no ID. You can also microchip your cat if you haven’t already.

Here are a few travel tips to make the car ride a safe one:

    1. Motion sickness can happen to anyone – Cats can get sick in the car but they can also get used to it. Start by taking short trips and gradually extend the time. The motion of the car stopping and starting again at lights and stop signs will become familiar to your cat.
    2. Make sure the air is fresh and well ventilated – This means, no smoking in the car with your cat and removing heavily scented air fresheners. Your cat’s sense of smell is stronger than yours and can affect her. Before setting off on a trip, it is also a good idea to remove food and water a few hours before leaving.
    3. If your cat panics or is hyper, you can talk to your vet Your vet may recommend a sedative. It can make the trip safer, less stressful, and easier. Administer the proper dosage and try a pre-trip to see how she reacts to riding in the car. You don’t want to be driving cross country with a cat who is howling and bouncing all over the place.
    4. Keep your eyes on the road – If your cat is a good traveler and can be let out, she may curl up and sleep on a seat but if she’s not, then letting her roam the interior of the car is a bad idea. She could hide under the brake or gas pedal, crawl on your lap, or sit on the dashboard. For safety’s sake keep your eyes on the road and your cat away from the driver’s side.
    5. Pull over and take breaks – Your cat may need to use a litter box or need a snack on the trip. Make a few stops and let her stretch her legs. If she’s used to being outside, you can buy a harness and leash to walk her around at a rest stop. If she’s indoor only, use a makeshift litter box from a disposable aluminum pan. You can throw out the used litter and save the pan for the whole trip. Praise her and pet her to let her know that everything is ok.
    6. Don’t leave your cat in the car alone – Take no chances with leaving your cat in the car if you stop to get food or take a break from driving. It’s better to bring your cat with you in a carrier to the diner, rest stop, or wherever you are then take worry about the temperature changing and how it could hurt your cat.

What other tips do you have for us fellow travelers who take our cats with us?

Image from Big Pics

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One thought on “Road Trips With Kitty

  1. I have taken my cat from North Carolina to Alaska using the Alaska Marine Highway system and then back the same way through New York to Alabama. He has a condo with his litter box fitted under it. It was bought from Pet Smart and is a round pipe with carpet on it. It was modified so he can see out above the seats and his condo can be taken into a motel room at night. He sleeps in the pipe and when possible the window in the side of his home sits in front of a window so he can see out from where he sleeps. He spends most of his time in and on his condo. When we travel he has his harness and leash on at all times and he generally sits on the console next to me. He is almost leash trained but objects to any noise when his is out side on his leash. Motorcycles are especially upsetting to him. I haven’t had any problems with him since the leash and harness seem to limit his activities.