traveling with cats

Traveling with Cats The Best Ways to Enjoy Life’s Adventures

While traveling with cats is not as common as traveling with dogs. You won’t find as many cat-friendly hotels, but there’s no reason why you can’t take Fluffy with you on your next adventure.

You can travel with your cat using different modes of transportation such as trains, planes, automobiles, trains, and etc. Find out everything you need to know to learn how to travel with a cat without having to use medications or sedation.

My sister and I were wondering what the best way was to travel with our cats. So I’ve done all the research and found all the answers the questions that will help you travel safely with your cat.

Can You Travel With Cats?

There are some cats that like to travel, but felines are normal creatures of habit that thrive on routine. They are territorial animals and their routines are your schedule and your household routines.

This may sound boring to humans, but this is what makes your cat feel safe and confident.

If you love traveling and don’t want to leave your kitty behind, you can get them used to it. Of course, not all cats are going to love traveling.

But there’s no reason why you can’t give it a try and see if cat traveling is in your future. I’ve done my best to bring you all the best cat travel tips to help make your life’s adventures more enjoyable.

So grab your favorite beverage and learn everything you need to know about traveling with a cat.

Tips for Traveling With Your Cat

As a pet lover, you have several different options when choosing your mode of transportation. Many pet-friendly transportation companies make it easy to escape to another city in the US or even visit a country abroad.

Before you decide which mode of transportation you’re going to take with your cat, make sure you read the tips below to get an idea of what to expect with your four-legged friend.

However, here are a few travel tips to help make it a little less stressful for both of you:

Traveling By Car

  • The first thing you need to do is to make sure that your cat is both comfortable. Find a great and sturdy cat carrier that allows enough room for them to stand up, stretch, and turn around in easily. Cover the bottom with of the carrier with padding that won’t slide when they are moving. You’ll also want to put their favorite blanket and toy inside the carrier.
  • Secure the carrier with a seatbelt to prevent accidents. A seatbelt can save everyone’s lives in case of an accident.
  • Pack their cat harness and always have them on it when you stop at rest areas.
  • Don’t forget to take some cleaning supplies in case your cat gets car sick. You’ll want to take along some cleaning cloths, paper towels, OXY stay, and odor remover. If your cat does get sick, it’s important to clean up the vomit immediately.
  • If you’re taking a long distance road trip, make sure you stop frequently and take kitty out of the carrier and allow them to stretch their legs.
  • Once you arrive at your destination, if you’re moving into a new home, try to keep your cat’s stress level at a minimum. Keep them confined to one small area, this will help them become relaxed. Take time out and spend time with them in the new environment.

Traveling By Plane

  • Decide ahead of time whether your cat will be traveling in the cargo hold or in the cabin with you. The ideal way would be to travel with your cat in the cabin. However, some airlines do not allow pets in the cabin, if they do, the cost can add up significantly.
  • Arrive at the airport early. Some airlines will limit the number of pets that can fly in the cabin. Arriving early will ensure that you’re able to board early and make your cat comfortable before the rest of the flight boards.
  • Use an airline approved cat carrier. Ensure that the carrier fits under the plane seat. If you’re unsure or have questions on the dimensions you need, call the United PetSafe Desk At 1-800-575-3335 or 1-832-235-1541. Several airlines like Southwest and others will allow domesticated cats and dogs as long as they are in an airline approved carrier.
  • Take along a cloth: This cloth should be big enough to cover the openings in the carrier so your cat won’t become more anxious about everything going on around them. The less they see, the less chance they have of becoming more anxious.
  • Keep your cat’s health certificate on hand. Most airlines will require it when taking your cat along. They’ll want to make sure that their vaccinations are up to date.
  • If your cat cries a lot, you may want to consider a sedative. I’ve listed several methods on this article above.
  • Withhold food and water the night before flying. As long as your cat is healthy they will be fine without drinking water for up to 24 hours. Make sure that you’ve lined the carrier with some absorbent padding, just in case they do have an accident during the flight.

Traveling By Bus

  • Call ahead and make sure that your cat is allowed on the journey. Most pets are allowed on public transportation and subways, there are some bus lines such as Greyhound and Megabus that do not allow cats or dogs. Service animals are always welcome.
  • Find out if your cat needs their own ticket to board.
  • Avoid traveling during the busiest times.
  • Find out if your cat is allowed to travel with you in the cabin or below the bus in the storage compartments.
  • Give yourself plenty of time to arrive and board the bus. This will give you enough time to carefully place the cat carrier underneath the seat in front of you. If it doesn’t fit under the seat, you will have to hold the carrier in your lap.
  • If you can’t find an empty seat, make sure that it is occupied by someone that likes cats and isn’t allergic to them.

Traveling By Train

  • Call ahead and find out if your cat is allowed to travel by train and how much it will cost. Every company charges different amounts and Amtrak has a $25.00 pet fee.
  • Some companies won’t allow your cat to be on the train for more than 7 hours. Find out ahead if there is a trip limit for your feline.
  • Is there a weight limit to how much your and carrier?
  • Can your cat board and ride inside the train? Most trains companies will only allow you to ride Coach Class with a pet.
  • Take along a small blanket to cover your carrier so they don’t get anxious from all the other passengers.

Traveling By RV

  • Give your cat time to get used to the RV. If it’s completely new, they won’t automatically feel at home when you introduce it to them.
  • Call the campground you’ll be staying at and see if they require cat vaccine records or your cat’s health certificate.
  • Some campgrounds charge a pet fee per night and have a maximum number of pets per campground.
  • Schedule a vet visit and get your cat vaccinated. They are going to be around other animals, so you want to make sure they are protected.
  • Set up an area in the RV that belongs to your kitty. This is where you will place their food, cat carrier. (make sure that the carrier is secure and won’t move during transport)
  • Don’t let Fluffy run around loose while your driving. If you’re involved in an accident or have to make a sharp turn or brake all of a sudden, they can be hurt.
  • Get a cat window box and let them sit in it to enjoy the views once you reach your campsite. Cats love sitting in a window box and seeing what’s going on around them. Plus you won’t have to worry about them running away.

These are just some of the most popular modes of transportation for cat travel. This doesn’t mean that they are the only ones that you can take. Some people have taken their cats on:

  • Cruises
  • Boats
  • Motorcycles
  • Bicycles

As I mentioned, not all cats will enjoy taking life’s adventures. It all depends on the breed and the training.

Is It Safe To Travel With A Cat?

As long as you’re a responsible pet owner, there’s no reason why you can’t travel safely with your four-legged friend.

Whether you’re moving across the country, traveling or just going on expeditions with your cat. Your feline friend will be fine as long as you properly prepare them for the trip.

Cat Care Travel Tips

Here are some more tips to help you care for your cat while taking expeditions. Discover how to make the most of your adventures.

What If Your Cat Gets Lost While Traveling?

The best thing you can do is take all precautions to prevent your cat from slipping away. However, accidents happen and hopefully, you’ll never have to experience this. But it’s best to prepare for the worse.

  • Ensure your cat has proper identification.
  • Make sure that your cat’s ID tags have your cell phone number that you’ll have in your possession while traveling.
  • Consider getting permanent forms of identification such as tattoos or microchips. These make it much easier to find Fluffy.

If your animal is lost, then follow these tips to help ensure that you’re reunited with your four-legged friend.

  • Stay calm and don’t panic
  • Don’t leave the location where your cat last was. There’s a good chance that your cat will wander back to that same area.
  • Leave the travel litter box or bed outside the door.
  • Check the local shelters.

Hopefully, it won’t take very long for your cat to return. If they haven’t returned in a few hours, you may want to consider hanging some fliers with your contact information.

Important Cat Travel Tip

Regardless of the mode of transportation that you choose to wander with your feline. The most important thing to remember is this.

Don’t feed your cat the morning of your trip or while you are driving. They will be fine as long as you fed them around 4-6 hours before your trip.

This will minimize them vomiting in their carrier during the trip.

What About Cat Sedatives?

There are several ways to calm your kitty down so they can travel. For instance, you can use sedatives, medications, or try natural sedatives to calm your kitty during while traveling or even visiting the vet.

Some cats don’t do well during travel and they will usually meow, moan or pant the entire way. This causes them to experience feline stress and it makes your life and everyone around your cat to be miserable.

Are Cat Sedatives Safe?

Many people have sedated their cats with Benadryl, and other over the counter medications. As long as you give your cat the proper dosage, they should be fine.

However, if you don’t feel good about sedating your cat, I’d recommend asking your vet about the proper way to get Fluffy to travel.

They will be able to provide you with the medication that you need to help your cat travel without experiencing a bunch of stress.

Finding Cat-Friendly Hotels

It will take some time to find hotels for cats because they are not as popular as the ones for dogs. However, many hotel chains and motels allow domesticated and well-behaved animals.

If you’re planning on taking a long distance road trip or visiting a different city, always do your due diligence to find a place for you to sleep. You don’t want to have to worry about sneaking your cat in and getting caught.

Follow these tips to find a pet-friendly hotel.

  • Make hotel reservations in advance. If you plan on staying at a hotel, you’ll want to make sure that they allow pets. Not all hotels allow pets, so make sure that you do your due diligence and find one that accepts both cats and dogs. You don’t want to be driving around aimlessly trying to find a hotel when you get to your destination.
  • Take the time to read the hotel’s website pet policy. Find out what their pet fee is and what they expect from you in advance.
  • Make sure that your hotel room is free of hazards that could harm your cat. Keep them contained to one room and don’t allow them to go into the bathroom. Bring their cat carrier into the hotel room so they have a familiar place to sleep.
  • Keep them quiet and show them where the litter box is so they won’t have any accidents.
  • Never leave your cat unattended in the room.

Cat Travel Checklist

traveling with a cat checklist

Traveling with a cat is kind of like traveling with children. You need to make sure that you pack their favorite toys, beds, water and food bowls, harness and leash, backpacks and etc.

Ask yourself what are you and kitty planning to do? Are you planning on taking adventures with your cat? If so, then you’ll need to ensure that you have the proper gear.

Use this list to help you pack what your kitty will need while traveling, you can also check out the resources page for more recommendations.

Road Essentials for Cats

  • Cat seat harness
  • Cleaning supplies (enzyme cleaner for accidents)
  • Seat belt adapter
  • Cat carrier (soft or hard carrier)

Kitty First Aid

  • Medication
  • Recent Pictures of Fluffy
  • Microchip information
  • Blankets and toys
  • Vaccination records

Health and Hygiene

  • Toothbrush
  • Fresh litter
  • Scratching post
  • Pet shampoo
  • Brush

Your Kitties Favorite Things

  • Toys
  • Catnip
  • Cardboard boxes

Pet Essentials

  • Litter box (disposable or another type)
  • Cat carrier
  • Harness
  • Collar with pet ID tags
  • Microchip (it’s not very expensive to get)
  • Food and water bowls
  • Cat food (wet/dry)
  • Favorite treats
  • Bottled water (in case they are finicky and don’t want to drink)

Every cat is different and some will require different things than other cats. However, the lists above are a good starting point to help ensure that Fluffy is prepared to travel.

Plan for The Unexpected

No one wants to deal with any unexpected things that can cause havoc or nightmares. But it’s always best to prepare for the best but be prepared for the worst.

Hopefully, you and kitty have a great voyage, but here are some things that you need to prepare for:

Cat-Friendly: Not everyone loves cats, but according to this pet poll, more people prefer dogs over cats. There’s a good possibility that you’ll encounter someone who does not like Fluffy or complains the entire time about your cat.

Unexpected Delays: Whether your traveling by air or taking a road trip, you could run into an unexpected delay such as a flat tire or airline delays. Make sure you have travel insurance which will help cover those unexpected overnight stays, lost baggage, trip cancellations or etc.

Take Extra Cash: Depending on which mode of transportation you’re taking with your furball, most of them charge either a one-way or round-trip pet fee. Make sure you have enough to bring your cat home.

Download Apps on Your Phone: There are literally several smartphone apps that I download whenever I visit a new city and they are Google Trips, CityMapper Eber, HotelsTonight, Uber, and WhatsApp.

Make sure you download those apps before you leave home and don’t know whether you’ll have access to the Internet.

Hopefully, you have a great trip and won’t encounter any unexpected delays, but sometimes things are just out of your control.

Holidays: If you’re traveling during the holdays or busy tourism season, then you’re going to run into more delays, and higher costs. In the United States, the busiest month for tourism is July, followed by June and May.

Pet Insurance: Most cat owners don’t think about getting pet insurance when traveling with their cats. However, you never know when Fluffy might get sick or injured. Emergency vet visits can be around $800 – $1500 depending on where you live and what type of emergecy.

If you’re visiting an international destination, make sure that the policy clearly states they cover veterinarian visits outside of the United States.

Things to Do With Your Cat?

Now you might be thinking, what can I do with a cat while on vacation or just traveling? Well, here are some activities that you can consider doing with Fluffy.

  • Teach them to walk on a leash. It will take some patience, but it can be a great way to safely experience the outdoors.
  • Take them on a hike (make sure that you get a good cat backpack they’ll enjoy sitting in)
  • Absorb some culture of the destination city.
  • Watch TV (after a long trip, both of you will be worn out, spend some quality time watching your favorite shows)
  • Take a catnap with your fluffy furball.
  • Visit a cat-friendly brewery or other places that allow cats.
  • Take Fluffy boating (don’t forget the leash and life jacket)
  • Build a DIY cat tree for your Fluffy to climb.
  • Take them on a cruise (the Queen Mary 2 is the only cruise line that allows cats)

You can’t do as much with a cat as you can with a cat. If you’ve never traveled with your feline before, you may be lost on what to do or where to go.

Get creative and experiment with new things. Your kitty will let you know whether they enjoy something or not.

Where to Take Your Cat?

There are plenty of cities and destinations you can visit with your cat. Before you plan your vacation, make sure that your cat has their vaccinations, health certificate, microchip, and their passport if it’s required.

The following list is perfect for cat lovers and the best part is that they provide your feline friend some furry love because they love cats.

  • Hotel Monteleone, New Orleans: (they roll out the red carpet for cats)
  • The James Hotel, Chicago: (they even offer an in-room feline menu)
  • Cat Island, Japan: Small Japanese island Tashirojima is called “Cat Island.” Their belief is that felines represent “wealth and good fortune.” Sorry, no dogs allowed.
  • The Best Little Cat House: This luxurious cat hotel is a chain that is located in Burbank, Pasadena, and Los Angeles, California.

Spend time browsing the Internet, I’m sure that you’ll find tons of other places you can take your feline friend.

Best Travel Destinations for Cat Lovers

  • South Korea
  • Amsterdam
  • Istanbul, Turkey
  • Super Lucky Cat Temple, Tokyo
  • Kuching, Malaysia
  • Talkeetna, Alaska

Some of these destinations allow you to bring your cat and some don’t. Before traveling with your cat to an international destination, make sure you find out what the country requirements are. Visit the United States Department of Agriculture site for the requirements.

Bottom Line

Cats are not born to travel. If you want to explore and go on adventures with your cat, it is going to take some patience and training.

The best way to make traveling easier for your cat is to get her used to it early in life. Start taking them for short drives.

If your cat hates it and suffers from anxiety and stress. You may want to consider leaving them at home or boarding them while you travel the world.

Not every breed can be taught to travel, especially, if you have adopted an older cat. Make sure that you’re paying attention to what your cat is telling you.

Related Articles On Traveling With Cats

How to Travel With A Cat On A Plane

What Size of Carrier Should I Get?

References and Further Reading

Mikkel Becker – Vet Street – Teach Your Cat to Love Riding In The Car