How to Travel Long Distance With a Cat: Things You Should Do When Traveling Long-Distance With Your Pet

Before traveling long-distance with a cat, you must take your cat to the vet for a check-up and ensure they are fit to travel. Once you have the green light, choose a comfortable and secure carrier for your cat. Bring familiar items for your cat, such as their favorite toys, blanket or pillow, and treats.

Plan your journey, and take breaks for your cat to stretch, eat, and use the litter box. Keep your cat safe by keeping them securely in the carrier while traveling. Do not let your cat roam in the car, as it can be dangerous and distracting for the driver.

Important Steps in Travelling Long-Distance With a Cat

Visit the Vet

Visiting a vet before traveling long distances with a cat is essential to ensure that your cat is healthy enough for the journey and to take any necessary precautions to prevent any health issues or stress-related problems during the trip.

A vet can check your cat’s overall health and identify any underlying health conditions that may pose a risk during travel. In addition, some medical conditions, such as heart disease, respiratory issues, and diabetes, can be aggravated by the stress of traveling, so it is important to identify and treat these conditions before the trip.

Your vet can also ensure that your cat is up to date on all necessary vaccinations and preventative treatments, such as flea and tick medication, to protect it from any illnesses it may encounter during its travels. For example, if your cat is prone to travel anxiety or motion sickness, your vet can prescribe medications or sedatives to keep your cat calm and relaxed during the trip.

As a cat owner, it can be concerning if your cat keeps throwing up during travel. Motion sickness is a common cause of vomiting in cats; some may be more prone to it than others. If your cat experiences frequent vomiting during travel, it’s important to consult with your veterinarian to rule out any underlying health issues.

Some airlines and countries require a health certificate for your cat, indicating that your cat is healthy and fit to travel. For example, a vet can provide this certificate after a physical examination and reviewing your cat’s medical history. Also, a vet can offer tips on traveling with your cat, such as how to make the carrier more comfortable, how often to take breaks, and how to make the journey as stress-free as possible.

Get the Right Carrier

Choose a sturdy and secure carrier so your cat cannot escape or get injured during travel. A flimsy or poorly made carrier can break or open easily, putting your cat at risk. The carrier should be large enough for your cat to move around comfortably but not too big that your cat will be tossed around during the journey.

A too-small or cramped carrier can make your cat feel uncomfortable and stressed. On the other hand, a carrier that is too large can be difficult to maneuver and may cause your cat to slide around during transport. 

The carrier should have enough ventilation to keep your cat cool and comfortable. Lack of ventilation can cause your cat to overheat, which can be dangerous. The carrier should also be easy to clean and maintain. Cats can be messy, and accidents can happen during travel. A carrier with a removable and washable lining makes it easy to keep the carrier clean and hygienic for your cat.

Additionally, the carrier should have a locking mechanism to keep your cat secure during travel. This is especially important when air travel, where carriers may be subject to jostling and turbulence.

Gradually Introduce the Carrier

Cats are naturally cautious and can be stressed when introduced to a new environment. Introducing the carrier gradually can help your cat feel more comfortable and less anxious about being confined in the carrier during travel.

A carrier that your cat is familiar with can help reduce travel anxiety. Introduce your cat to the carrier several weeks before the trip, and make it a positive experience by placing treats and toys inside. This will help your cat associate the carrier with a positive experience and feel more comfortable using it.

Allow your cat to explore the carrier at their own pace. You can place treats and toys inside to encourage your cat to go in and out of the carrier. This will help your cat become more comfortable with the carrier and feel more comfortable confined in it during travel.

Once your cat is comfortable being inside the carrier, take them on short practice runs in the car to help them get used to the motion of travel. Start with short trips around the block and gradually increase the duration of the trips. When your cat is familiar with the carrier, they are likelier to feel calm and relaxed during travel. This can help reduce their stress levels and make the journey less stressful for you and your pet.

Pack Familiar Items

Packing everyday items when traveling long-distance with a cat is important because it can help your cat feel more comfortable and secure in an unfamiliar environment. For instance, packing your cat’s favorite toys or bedding can help provide a sense of security and reduce anxiety during travel.

Your cat’s familiar scent can help them feel more comfortable and secure in a new environment. Packing items that have your cat’s scent can provide a sense of familiarity and comfort for your cat. 

Everyday items can also help maintain your cat’s health and well-being during travel. Bringing your cat’s regular food and water bowls and their regular food and medications can help ensure your cat stays healthy and happy during the journey.

Cats can further exhibit behavioral issues, such as scratching or hiding, when stressed or anxious. Packing familiar items can help reduce stress and anxiety, which in turn can help reduce the likelihood of behavioral issues during travel.

Plan Your Journey

Planning your journey involves researching the best routes, pet-friendly accommodations, and rest stops. This can help you avoid any unexpected roadblocks or detours during the trip and ensure you have a comfortable place to stay each night.

Planning your journey considering your cat’s needs, such as feeding and bathroom schedule, is important. This can help prevent your cat from becoming anxious or uncomfortable during the trip.

Planning your journey can also help ensure the safety of your cat. For example, you can take breaks every few hours to allow your cat to stretch their legs, use the litter box, and get some fresh air. You can also plan for emergencies, such as locating the nearest animal hospital or vet clinic along your route.

Planning can also help ensure your cat’s comfort during travel. It can help you prepare for unexpected situations, such as your cat becoming car sick or refusing to travel. In such cases, you can have a contingency plan to identify the nearest rest stop or pet-friendly hotel to ensure you and your cat are safe and comfortable.