How to Travel With Your Cat

Orange tabby cat in pink cat carrier

Leaving your cat behind when traveling can be stressful for both cat and cat owner. Fortunately, with the right preparation, traveling with your feline companion can be safe and enjoyable for both you and your cat.

How to Travel With Your Cat

The short answer for how to travel with your cat is to pick sure to plan ahead for accommodations as well as the food and bathroom needs of your cat. It is also important to slowly introduce your cat to the process of traveling and their carrier in advance so the trip will be more comfortable and less stressful.

In this blog, we’ll discuss important considerations, preparation tips, safety and comfort measures, how to find cat-friendly accommodations and destinations and strategies for managing stress and anxiety during travel.

Important Considerations When Traveling with Your Cat

Before planning a trip with your cat, it’s important to consider their personality, age and health.

If your cat is elderly, has a medical condition or is easily stressed, traveling may not be the best option for them. Additionally, if your cat is not used to traveling or being in new environments, it may be best to gradually introduce them to travel and new experiences before taking them on a trip.

Choosing the right carrier is also important when traveling with your cat. It’s essential to choose a carrier that is secure, comfortable and the right size for your cat. The carrier should be large enough for your cat to stand up, turn around and lie down comfortably. Additionally, it should be well-ventilated and have a secure latch or zipper to prevent your cat from escaping.


Preparing Your Cat for a Trip

If your cat isn’t used to traveling or being in new environments, it’s essential to prepare them for the trip.

Here are some tips for preparing your cat for a trip:

Cat being introduced to a cat carrier

Introduce your cat to the carrier before traveling: If your cat is not used to being in a carrier, it’s important to introduce them to the carrier gradually before the trip. Place the carrier in a comfortable, familiar place and encourage your cat to investigate it. Once your cat is comfortable with the carrier, place treats and toys inside to encourage them to enter.

Take short car trips: If your cat is not used to traveling in a car, it’s important to gradually introduce them to car trips. Start with short trips around your neighborhood and gradually increase the length of the trips.

Visit the vet: Before traveling with your furry friend, it’s essential to visit the vet to ensure they’re up-to-date on their vaccinations and in good health. Additionally, your vet may be able to provide medication or other strategies to help manage your cat's stress and anxiety during travel.


Ensuring Your Cat's Safety and Comfort During Travel

When traveling with your cat, it’s you definitely want to make sure the trip is safe and comfortable for them. So, here are some tips for ensuring your cat's safety and comfort during travel:

Pack ample food and water: Make sure to provide your cat with plenty of food and water during the trip. Almost every cat loves cat treats. Particularly if they are feeling stressed during travel. Treats are an easy way to make a trip more enjoyable for your cat.

Many cat carriers actually have food and water dishes integrated into their design, which allows you to most easily provide food and water on the go. Alternatively, you can make sure to stop to give your cat some water and a few treats.

Provide a litter box: Cats are clean animals and prefer to use a litter box when they need to go. It’s important to bring a portable litter box and litter for your cat during a trip.

Orange cat carrier with blanket

Bring toys and blankets: Not only do cats love their blankets and toys, but those items will also carry your cat’s scent. So, if you are traveling and your cat has to be in unfamiliar areas, such as an airport or hotel or even a friend’s home, having items nearby that have your cat’s scent gives your cat some comfort and makes the new, unfamiliar space feel more familiar.


Finding Cat-Friendly Accommodations and Destinations

When planning a trip with your cat, it’s essential to find cat-friendly accommodations and destinations in advance.

Here are some tips for finding cat-friendly accommodations and destinations:

Don’t assume your favorite hotel will accept your cat: Many hotels don’t accept pets. So, make sure to specifically pin down your preferred hotel’s pet policy in advance. And even those hotels that do accept pets often have an extra fee. So check that out in advance. You don’t want to be caught late at night or in a strange place with nowhere to stay because your hotel will not accept your cat.

Research cat-friendly destinations: Similar to hotels, some destinations may be more cat-friendly than others. And just because a destination accepts dogs may not necessarily mean it accepts cats. Cats have very specific needs. So you want to research destinations and attractions that are cat-friendly, such as cat cafes, cat-friendly parks or cat-related events.

Websites like GoPetFriendly provide information on cat-friendly accommodations, attractions and destinations.


Managing Your Cat's Stress and Anxiety During Travel

cat in a car

Traveling can be stressful for cats, and we as cat owners need to make sure we address not only their physical needs but also there emotional needs while traveling.

Here are some strategies for managing your cat's stress and anxiety during travel:

Use pheromone products: Pheromone products, such as Feliway, can help reduce stress and anxiety in cats. These products mimic the natural pheromones that cats release when they feel safe and secure.

Give your cat a familiar scent: Cats rely heavily on their sense of smell and providing them with a familiar scent can reduce their stress and anxiety on trips. Bringing a blanket or their favorite toy that smells like home provides your cat with a familiar scent.

Provide a calm environment: Cats love to play but they also need plenty of time where things are calm and quiet. So, it’s important to provide them with a calm environment during the trip. Avoid loud noises, such as loud music or loud talking on the phone and provide a comfortable, familiar space for your cat to rest.

Talk to your vet in advance about medications: In some cases, medication may be necessary to help manage your cat's stress and anxiety during travel. Talk to your vet about medication options that may be appropriate for your cat and the most manageable on the road.


Traveling with your cat can be safe and enjoyable with the right preparation and considerations.

Choose the right carrier, prepare your cat for the trip, ensure their safety and comfort, find cat-friendly accommodations and destinations, and manage their stress and anxiety during travel.

With these tips, you and your furry feline can enjoy many adventures together.