Traveling With Kitty - By Car
A Companion Animal Care Article from

This Companion Animal Care directory is presented to help people seeking reliable resources, tips, and information for companion animals.


[email protected] on Animal Rights Online

Most cats adapt well to riding in the car if they are already comfortable with their cat carrier. The carrier should be sturdy & roomy enough to allow the cat to stand up & turn around. Long before your departure date put the carrier in one of Kitty's favorite sleeping spots. (The doors on most pet taxis can be removed for use in the home.) Line the bottom with a something he has already slept on or use a piece of your clothing that has been worn, but not washed. From time to time place a food treat in the carrier. If this doesn't entice Kitty to enter, you will have to resort to feeding him his regular food in it for awhile

For the safety of your cat and you, don't ever consider letting him roam freely in the car while you drive. He could be thrown against the inside of the car in the event of a quick stop or he could distract the driver & cause a serious traffic accident. Kitty might feel more secure & consequently, ride more quietly, if you cover his crate with a towel while the car is in motion. You might have to experiment to see what works the best.

Before you leave home encourage Kitty to use the litterbox by pouring fresh litter into his box. Some cats that are not used to riding in the car eliminate in their carriers 10-20 minutes into the trip. If you think this is a possibility, buy some "puppy pads", absorbent, disposable pads (similar to disposable diapers) & line the bottom of the crate with them. In case of an "accident", the cleanup will be easy.

Your cat can go as long as you can without stretching his legs. After you stop, put on his leash for safety before you let him out into the car & offer him water & a litter break. Many cats have been lost at rest areas when the owners stopped for a break, by scooting out the door or through a crack in the window. His collar should be equipped with an identification tag containing the telephone number of someone who could be reached while you are on the road. It is also a good idea to carry an up-to-date photo of your cat for the purpose of making "lost cat" flyers in case the unthinkable happens. Cats for Dummies by Gina Spadafori and Paul Pion, DVM has many useful tips for traveling, among them are the following:

Never leave your cat unattended in a car--if the heat doesn't get him, a thief may. If you're traveling with your cat, your meals are mostly going to be of the drive-through variety. If you absolutely must leave your cat in the car--for your bathroom break, for example -- park in the shade, roll the windows down a little & be quick -- & we mean five minutes. Even better, take your cat & his carrier in the stall with you. He has seen you there before; he's not going to be shocked. If you want to kick around for a while, shopping & sightseeing, & still make sure your cat is safe, look up a local veterinarian in the phone book & see whether you can make arrangements for a few hour's boarding. Most veterinarians are very amenable to helping out -- usually at a very reasonable cost. You can also leave your pet in your motel room -- but always in a crate for safety.

Return to Companion Animal Care