Acrobatic characteristics of a cat typically prevent pet parents from considering them to be great road trip buddies. However, with the right planning and tools, cats can most definitely hit the road.
While they may not stick their head out the window to let their tongue hang out (seriously the windows should probably stay closed), cats will be happy to go on an adventure rather than being left at home. We think. Keep reading for some tips and advice!
Prepare, Prepare, Prepare
Some of the most important tasks to make for a successful kitty road trip will be done beforehand. Start with a physical examination by your vet to ensure no underlying illnesses are looming. Cats can also be prone to motion sickness, and vets can provide something just in case.
Pick out a snug and welcoming carrier, because it’s just not safe for you or kitty to have them roaming while rolling. Leave it wide open for a few days, frequently placing treats inside to encourage a fond association. Then work up to closing the door, still providing plenty of yummy things.
Once the crate training is successful, move to crate time while in the car. Start with small trips that end with something good. Like a treat!
Things for the Car
Paper towels and upholstery cleaner are a must. Should any vomit or other fluid end up somewhere, even in the crate, you’ll want to get that wiped down asap.
Calming music can be a nice touch to help kitties cope. Have that play list ready.
Pet covers for the back seat will help defend the vehicle from all sorts of things, including pet hair—aka pet glitter.
Cats will need a harness to keep them from roaming off. Having an identification chip inserted isn’t a terrible idea either, and is quite inexpensive.
Bring along a collapsible water bowl and plenty of water to be sure they stay hydrated.
Of course, bring their normal food, and decide when feeding time would work best. (This will depend on motion sickness susceptibility.
Kitties need toys and entertainment as much as kids or dogs. Having their favorite catnip mouse and maybe something else a bit more interactive will divert their attention to positive things.
Cat most likely won’t love having to potty in the grass. And honestly, they might just not. Bring a bag of clean litter and disposable tin trays just in case.
Planning various stops is important. Yeah, some wing it, but mapping out pet friendly rest stops will make things far easier! Getting a cat to pee on leash is hard enough!
Depending on the length of your trip, it may be necessary to stop overnight. Let us tell you, the right hotel makes all the difference whether travelers have a wonderful or horrifying night. Check out our blog on how to find great places when traveling with a cat.
Little things make a difference. For example, cats will probably want to look out the window. So if the seat can be adjusted to make that happen, it will help with entertainment.
If the kids are in the back, this will also help. Familiarity and occasional petting can be soothing.
Be very patient with your fluff ball. This is new and scary, and their reaction may be tough to deal with at times. Just keep them safe and do your best to be calm and reassuring.
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.