Kitty Travels: What to Do Before Traveling Long Distance With a Cat

Unlike dogs, cats don’t normally hop in the car for road trips with us. In fact, most cats absolutely hate riding in vehicles, although I do have one cat that doesn’t mind it and actually kind of enjoys himself.

So what do you do when you have to make a long-distance trek? In some situations, like moving to another state, it becomes necessary to pack up our felines and bring them along for a ride. It can be kind of stressful, trying to plan such a long trip with cats.

To help ease your mind a little, there are a few things that you should do before embarking on your trip.

Get a Check-Up at the Vet

Before traveling, go ahead and make an appointment for your cat to see the veterinarian before heading out on the road. Your veterinarian will be the best source of information and advice on how to make the trip easier on your cat.

It’s also extremely important to make sure that your feline friend is up to date on shots, and healthy enough for travel. While you’re there, go ahead and verify that your pet’s microchip information is up to date, too.

Pick the Right Pet Carrier

For long distance travel, you’ll want a carrier that is relatively large. It should be large enough for the cat to be able to stand since they will be spending a lot of time in there. You don’t want your fur baby to feel cramped. There also needs to be room for litter, a blanket or other familiar items from home, food, and water.

If possible, get the carrier in advance. This way, you can put familiar items in the carrier and let your cat explore it. Practice putting the cat into the carrier, too, so that you don’t find yourself with a panicked cat hiding somewhere when it’s time to leave.

Even if your cat enjoys riding in vehicles, don’t ever take them out of the pet carrier while traveling. The last thing that you would ever want to happen is your cat escaping the car when you open the door in a strange place.

Purchase Bottled Water

Cats need to stay hydrated just like we do. Plan ahead and pick up some drinking water to keep handy in the car, in case you find that your cat is drinking more water than eating, or they accidentally tip their water dish over.

Remember that you should never leave your cat alone in the car, so stopping for water will be nearly impossible if you’re traveling without another person.

Call Ahead to Hotels

If you’re not able to drive straight through, decide where you’re going to stop for the night and start calling ahead to hotels to verify that they are pet-friendly. The last thing you need is to finally stop when you’re exhausted, only to find that the hotel doesn’t allow your cat.

And last – be extremely careful about opening car doors, or doors in general around your cat.  They’re escape artists, so if they find a way to get out of their carrier and you open the door – the cat can and most often will, run away.