At first thought, traveling with a cat may seem like a nightmare. In reality, though, it’s totally doable. Taking a pet along on a trip can eliminate the worry that comes along with leaving him or her at the kennel or in the hands of a neighbor. Just consider these essential tips before departing with kitty.
Before You Go
First things first: Decide all the details about the trip, considering which options you might think are best for your cat. Will you fly or drive? Airlines typically let cat carriers onboard as checked luggage. Where will you stay? It can be more challenging to find a cat friendly hotel rather than a dog friendly one—always call to confirm the small print.
Next, you’ll want to hit up your vet. It’s always a good idea to do a wellness check before going on vacation. Ask your vet for shot records and other important health info, and keep documentation with you at all times throughout the trip. Also ensure you’ve placed vaccination tags on the collar, and be sure to check with your airline to see if you’ll need a Certificate of Veterinarian Inspection or an Acclimation Certificate.
Lastly, pack strategically. Bring items of comfort like a special toy and favorite treats, along with collapsible water bowls. Pick a comfortable carrier and let your cat familiarize itself with it before departure—PetMD suggests labeling the carrier well, with your phone number, the cat’s name and other important information, just in case.
During The Trip
Most pet parent’s biggest concern upon traveling is their baby becoming sick. While packing all medications you might need, also know where the nearest vet clinics are at your destination. Do your research and know that there is a place you can go, that you approve of, should an issue arise. It’s a good idea to call clinics ahead of time to double check hours, new patient policy etc.
If your cat isn’t used to traveling, it can be a good idea to feed them well the night before, then travel on an empty stomach. Being unfamiliar with plane or car movement can make pets a little queasy.
For car travel, consider safely securing your feline into a comfy cat car seat—this is safer for you and your fluff ball. Dogs are a bit easier when it come to the dirty business while traveling, because they can make do with just about any grassy nook, while a cat needs its personal little box. Portable litter boxes fold down, and come with disposable liners, and are likely the best solution.
According to Gopetfriendly.com, the following hotels generally accept cats:
Affinia Hotels-One cat allowed for $150 fee—lots of pet perks though!
Best Western-Maximum fee up to $30 a day.
Drury Inn-$35 per night.
Kimpton Hotels-One of the best pet friendly hotels, with no fees!
La Quinta-Most locations allow cats, but call ahead, as not all do.
Loews Hotels-Fees vary, but pets are treated like royalty, and litter boxes are often provided.
Motel 6-The best bang for your buck, and typically no fees.
Red Roof Inn-Perhaps one of the only places that gives you a cat discount rather than a fee.
Airbnb and other independent rental sites allow for wiggle room concerning cats, so it’s a great resource if one of the above hotels isn’t in the area. Secondly, staying with a friend or family member is a superb option as well!
Traveling with your cat can be a wonderful bonding experience and may prove to be a lot easier than you think. A great pet carrier will truly be your best friend when traversing with a kitty, and planning ahead is also a key factor! In the end, you’ll be glad you did it.
Karyn Wofford is a “Mom” to her fluffy, sweet dog Halli. She spends much of her time traveling and advocating for Type 1 diabetes—and Halli sometimes accompanies her on her adventures. You’ll find Karyn’s work on sites like Mother Earth Living, and in magazines such as Diabetes Forecast.