Cats are natural explorers, inquisitive, always interested in everything that is going on around them – all of which can make a car journey exciting or scary for a cat. Cats are, above all, individuals, and will respond differently in different environments.
To ensure that traveling with a cat is a safe and happy experience for all concerned, there are a few things to consider.
First, safety is highly important. If a cat is allowed to roam freely around the interior of a vehicle, there is a possibility they will cause an accident. Startling the driver, getting in the way of the controls, jumping at the window, or just generally playing can cause a distraction. Cats should be kept in a carrier at all times when traveling to avoid such incidents.
Talk with your veterinarian before taking your cat on a trip. They may have specific recommendations to follow for your individual cat. Most cats will benefit from a little exercise, food, and water before setting off, but your veterinarian may know a good reason why this is not appropriate for your animal.
Plan your journey so you can take breaks. Cats can get road sick just like humans, and they will always appreciate some fresh air. Whatever you do, do not leave the cat alone in the car whether they are in a carrier or otherwise – the temperature inside a vehicle can increase rapidly and have a very detrimental effect on the health of your pet.
Cats will also want toilet breaks too, so give them access to a litter box when you stop. Some cats may have little accidents while traveling – do not punish them as it is not their fault. Stop as soon as you safely can and clean up the mess. Neither you nor the cat will want to travel with it!
Make sure that your cat is microchipped. In the event that you lose your cat when you are far from home (or even close to home for that matter) having a microchip can help to ensure that your cat is returned to you.
If you are staying in a hotel when you reach your destination, make sure they allow cats. There will be nothing worse than arriving and then having to return home again as you ca not stay.
Finally, remember to take food with you, and plenty of any medication that your cat requires. Traveling by car can be stressful, so make sure to show your cat as much love as possible during the journey.