How to travel with a cat

Many people don’t enjoy taking their cats on a road trip with them because they don’t know what is involved in travelling with a cat. The occasional cat is fearless and doesn’t mind going places, however, leaving comfortable surroundings can be downright terrifying for most cats. 

Nevertheless, taking a cat on the road is not inherently problematic. The secret is to get your cat used to traveling progressively and gathering supplies well before the departure date. 

Before deciding to take your cat with you on a trip, experts advise that you train your cat to walk on a leash.   

How can I teach my cat to walk on a leash?

Leash training is crucial to making it a successful trip for you and your cat. If your cat is still a kitten, you have a great opportunity to raise it to be adventurous. Compared to adult cats, kittens are more flexible and adaptable to new situations. But don’t worry, even an adult cat can be trained even if it is grouchy at first.

When you initially put a leash or collar on your cat, there is a high possibility he will not like it. He may be reluctant to move for the first few moments in his harness until he gets used to it, but don’t worry – this is normal. 

Your cat may act strangely the first few times you attach a leash or collar to him. This is because he will initially find it difficult to move in the harness while he’s getting used to it.

Leash training advice

Before introducing your cat to busy or noisy areas, take him to a quiet and calm area first. Start in your home, where he feels comfortable, and then move to a quiet park, and later attempt busier areas with people.

It’s likely your cat will get a lot of attention when you take it for a walk. People often try to pat or take pictures of a cat when they see it on a leash. Anytime you or the cat doesn’t feel comfortable, feel free to decline.

Why you should teach your cat to use a leash

Once your cat has learnt to walk on a leash he will likely want to investigate after getting a taste of it. You won’t have to worry about what will happen to him once he exits the carrier, whether you bring him to cafes, go trekking with him, or even take him on a plane.

When looking into cat leash training, you may find numerous websites advising against trying the method if your cat avoids sitting outside the front doorway and shows no interest in going outside. This is not necessarily good advice for all situations.

Some cats may be afraid to walk outside because they are new to the environment. However, in time and with practice, they can find the courage to experience and discover new things and places.

While leash training, your cat will lead you around. When your cat is initially sniffing everything, you’ll have to be patient and ready to stop frequently still till he gets used to it.

Vet-approved travel tips – How to travel with a cat


  • Put your cat in a carrier: This is the most important step when travelling with a cat. Cats frequently try to cram themselves into small areas – such as underneath the car seat or the break pedal when they’re scared and you certainly don’t want that when you’re driving.
  • Fearful Cat? Speak with your veterinarian: Many cats struggle to handle the stress of travel. Your veterinarian can provide useful guidance when determining whether your cat needs any anxiety medications before embarking on your adventure.
  • Bring the usual litter box for your cat: Bring your pet’s regular litter box with you if you can. Your cat will comfortably relieve themselves in their litterbox when they recognize their familiar smell.
  • Organize their favorite blanket and toys: A cat will feel more at home while traveling with familiar bedding, towels and toys in the carrier. Experts claim that cats are extremely precise about the areas they infuse with their scent. A familiar scent makes your cat feel more relaxed and at ease.
  • Bring your cat’s preferred treats: Your cat should always have a selection of its favorite foods on every trip. Make sure to include your cat’s favorite goodies and their usual food and drink.


  • Keep the cat in the vehicle: Never leave the cat in a heated car – just like you would never do with other living creatures. Cats are unable to sweat as much as we can, so avoid leaving them in the car if the temperature is 70 degrees Fahrenheit or above. Be sure to keep the windows open on a warm day and your cat safely contained in their carrier.
  • Put the cat with its arch-nemesis: Cats, like humans, value their privacy, especially when it concerns avoiding other animals with whom they don’t get along. Try to put as much distance as possible between your cat and other pets if you’re traveling with another animal that doesn’t interact well with them. Everyone will travel better without hissing or growling.
  • Open the car door unless you are certain your cat is safe: Make sure the cat is completely secured in his carrier before you open the door. You don’t want a runaway cat on your trip! A cat under stress will seek out any opportunity for escape.

Make arrangements in advance 

One of the best things you can do for your cat before a trip is to prepare him for travel. Take your cat on several brief trips in the weeks leading up to your vacation if he hasn’t been in a car much beforehand. 

To get the cat acquainted with the cage’s scent and the car’s motion and noise, be sure to place it in the same travel cage that you’ll use on your journey.

While the cat is in the car, give him some snacks. If necessary, get prescription motion sickness medicine from your vet. You can control motion sickness with anti-nausea drugs like chlorpromazine. 

Symptoms of motion sickness in cats include vocalizing after a short time in the automobile, excessive drooling, immobility, excessive pacing or activity, vomiting, or the uncontrollable need to urinate or defecate.

Ginger has long been used to cure nausea in people, and it is acceptable to treat cats as well. It is available in liquid or chewable form online or through your veterinarian clinic. 

To assist your cat is noticeably disturbed, apply a few droplets of ginger in a treat and give it to him before leaving the house.

If you have tried everything else and your cat will not allow itself to be moved, then you may have to look into tranquilizers with your vet’s guidance.

There are also over-the-counter antihistamines like Benadryl and prescription drugs like alprazolam (Xanax) to treat anxiety as alternatives. Always consult your vet about dosages and listen to their recommendations.

A few days before your trip, test out sedatives at home. Keep an eye on the cat’s attitude – if anything goes wrong, you still have an opportunity to call your veterinarian and change the dosage or try a new medication. Most sedatives should merely relax your cat and not completely put them to sleep.

Prep the cage the night before the trip. If the cage floor requires more padding, put a second towel underneath the cage and place the towel the cat has been lying on at the bottom. To keep the cat company, include a favorite toy as well.

Before you leave, make sure your cat eats and give it free access to the litter box. While unnecessary, if space allows, a tiny litter box can be placed in the cage. Never leave your cat in the carrier for more than eight hours without giving it access to food, water, and the litter box. 

Your cat won’t enjoy spending the entire day in a carrier, so be sure to give him time to stretch his legs – the collar and leash will come in handy in this situation. Put the leash on and then let your cat move around the car for about twenty minutes. 

It’s not a bad idea to offer your cat an opportunity to use the toilet, but don’t be worried if the cat rejects it.

After arriving at your location

There are several things you can do to help your cat settle into your new location once you arrive at your destination. These include:

  • Ensuring the space is appropriate for a pet – always inform your hosts before arriving that you will be bringing a pet.
  • Before opening the crate, double check the space is space is calm and cat friendly and set up their food, water and litterbox.
  • After a long trip, your cat may be anxious and hesitant to leave the cage or carrier. Give him enough time to acclimate, emerge at his pace, and investigate his new surroundings. Ensure there are some familiar items around from home.

When you’re traveling with your cat, maintain your cat’s routine as closely as possible, including feeding and playtime schedules. Come up with a routine that you stick with when travelling so he feels secure and safe.

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