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Tips for Car Travel With Your Cat

By Michele C. Hollow

Tips for Car Travel With Your Cat

Whenever I pack for a road trip, my cat climbs into my suitcase. I look into those sweet big eyes and say, “Sorry, but you can’t come with me.” But with an increasing number of hotels, inns, and resorts becoming more pet-friendly over the past few years, it is possible to bring your cat with you -- especially if it’s a road trip.

My first choice is to leave my cat at home. Cats are territorial and enjoy being in familiar places, so we hire a cat sitter. However, according to the U.S. Travel Association, about 15 percent of the U.S. population takes cats on road trips.

Traveling with a cat is a lot like traveling with kids. You must include rest stops, so if it takes two hours to reach your destination, plan on taking three. Here are some essentials you should always pack for your pet-friendly road trip:

  • Carpet cleaner and paper towels, in case of any accidents in hotel rooms
  • Your cat’s medical records, any meds he may be taking and a good first aid kit
  • Cat toys
  • A gallon jug of water
  • Extra food
  • A comfortable crate with toys and a blanket in it

When you get to your destination, make sure the hotel personnel know that you have a cat with you and that it is staying in your room. This way, there will be no surprises when the cleaning staff enters your room. Usually, hotels place pet signs on doors so they know not to keep them open.

You can also have pet sitters -- many pet-friendly hotels offer this service -- come into your room while you are out. Arrange this before you leave, and spend time with the pet sitter before you go off on your own. This way, you will be able to see how your cat and the sitter get along. Being in new surroundings can be daunting. Having a reliable cat sitter at your hotel will put your mind at ease, and make your cat feel more comfortable as well.

Michele C. Hollow is a journalist and an author who specializes in writing about animal welfare. Her blog, Pet News and Views, covers pet care, wildlife, and people who work with and on the behalf of animals. 

Posted on August 12, 2011

melissa says: i have always left our cat mollie at home , when we go on a road trip. how dose this make her feel.

Posted on July 20, 2011

Suzy says: Hitch your car to the back of the RV.

Posted on July 20, 2011

Cheryl says: We transport cats and kittens to other transporters. Please remember to look for a shadded area at lunch time for your car and keep the windows down a bit plus keep the cats crated. Have a good trip!

Posted on July 21, 2011

Frank says: I had to evacuate for hurricanes when I lived in Louisiana. I was worried about travelling w/ a cat. Everything was prepared in the SUV. I pulled the backseat and secured and xtralarge carrier cage and her litter box. She was miserable all the way from Lake Charles to Tyler. I even had a video player for her...she likes watching tv(I know I know). She clawed and meowed the whole so I decided to let her out and wander the truck. WALLA!!!! She was great...she even sat on the console by me. She just wanted to see the countryside too. Now I use her carrier cage as a lookout so she can relax during the ride. When I recently moved to Phoenix, Az from Louisiana (2day drive) I wasn't worried with Captain Booger @ my side. So if your cat's in a carrier and she's meowing miserably take a chance and let her wander the vehicle. Note: my cat won't make a pit stop til the truck stops. Keep that in mind. You may not have to go, but does whistle britches need too?

Posted on July 17, 2011

I. Harper says: We are driving to Mexico from Canada, a trip of approx 7 days. I would like to take our car with us, do you have any helpful suggestions. We travel in a 19 foot R.V. Thanks

Posted on March 14, 2011

Sarah Brown says: How do you deal with all the meowing in the car?

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