So you’re going on an extended – or permanent – trip out of town and you need to take a long-distance road trip with your cat? Don’t stress! With some proper planning and preparation, your trip can go off without a hitch.
Here are some important things to consider when planning a road trip with your cat in tow:
Before You Go:
Schedule a Pre-Trip Vet Visit. This is important for all cats, but especially if your kitty has an existing medical condition. Find out if you need to make any special precautions for cats that are taking medications. Get copies of your cat’s medical records and current vaccination information. If you’ll be crossing state lines, some states require health certificates from your vet within the past 30 days. Chances are you won’t be asked to show them, but they are good to have on hand, just in case.
Find Emergency Vets Along your Travel Route. Hopefully you’ll never need this information, but if a crisis happens, you’ll be prepared.
Pack a bag with some of the comforts of home for your cat: your cat’s regular litter, a litter scoop, toys, a blanket or bed, and some bottles of the water your cat is used to drinking. Don’t forget some pet wipes and paper towels to clean up any messes that might happen during your trip. If your cat is a nervous traveler, bring some Feliway spray or Rescue Remedy to help calm him.
Carriers and Crates:
It’s absolutely imperative that your cat rides in a crate or carrier while in the car. It’s unsafe for him (or her) to be loose in the car while you’re driving.
Choose a carrier that’s large enough for your cat to stand up, move around, and stretch in. If you plan to keep your cat in the car for more than six hours at a time, choose a larger crate that will fit a small litter box and a no-spill water bowl, too.
Withhold food from your cat the morning of your trip. This will help with those kitties that tend to get nauseous or carsick. It will also reduce the likelihood of your cat eliminating in the car, too. And anyone who’s ever been in the car with a cat who’s just pooped can appreciate taking that precaution!
Just like we humans need to stop and stretch our legs, it’s nice to give your cat a break, too. But, resist the urge to let your cat out of the car. If you let your cat out of his carrier, do not open the car doors and don’t take your cat out of the car unless he’s secure in his carrier. It’s just too risky. A loose cat near the highway spells disaster.
If you’re driving more than 10-12 hours, plan to stay overnight in a hotel. There are many pet-friendly hotels that won’t charge you a deposit to keep your cat in the room with you. Set up a disposable litter pan on top of a large trash bag. When you’re ready to go in the morning, clean up is a breeze!
One Last Thing:
As tempting as it is to stop and check out all the interesting places along the way, don’t ever leave your cat alone in the car for more than a few minutes, regardless of the weather. It’s simply too dangerous.
With just a bit of preparation and planning, you and your cat can make it safely to your destination! What’s the farthest you’ve traveled with your cat? Tell us below. And, if you found this article helpful, pin it!