How To Go On A Long-Distance Road Trip With Your Cat?

Long-distance Road Trip with Your Cat | MissyMoMo


Have you ever traveled long-distance with your cat? If not, you're probably wondering how to do this as painlessly as possible. Some cats will love the experience, while others will hate every minute of it. So how can you ensure that car travel with your kitty is as safe and enjoyable as possible?


Have your cat microchipped

In case your cat escapes from the carrier during an emergency or when staying at motels along the way, having them microchipped will greatly increase the chances of getting them back safely. Be sure to keep the microchip information current with your contact information if you move before the trip.


Take your cat to the vet

It's a good idea to take your cat to the vet before going on long-distance car travel with your cat. A checkup will ensure that they are healthy enough for travel, and your vet may have some tips to make your journey as stress-free as possible. If you are traveling with a kitten, it's vital that they have had their first vaccination at least two weeks before departure.


Choose the right cat carrier

Cats should always travel in appropriate cat carriers to keep them secure. The carrier needs to be large enough for your cat to stand up and turn around in, but not so big that they can't feel comfortable inside it and get some stability from the walls. You also want to make sure that there are plenty of air holes.


Get your cat used to their carrier

You'll want to get your cat used to their carrier before the trip. Leave it out in a room that they spend a lot of time in, with food and water inside of it so they can get used to going inside on their own. When you're ready for the trip, place some soft bedding inside as well as one of your clothes with your scent on it. You might also want to place a pair of old shoes inside — the odor from these helps reassure your cat that they're not alone and helps them feel safe.


Get your cat used to the car

Cats tend to hate change and get stressed out easily. To make things easier for both of you on your road trip, get your cat used to riding in the car before you leave. If possible, acclimate your cat to the vehicle a few weeks in advance by taking short trips around town and gradually increasing the distance and time spent in the car. This will help reduce stress when it comes to the time for a long trip as well as reduce their risk of getting carsick.


Prepare for emergencies

If you do get into an accident, you'll want to make sure your cat is as safe as possible. An escape-proof carrier will keep your cat contained even if the car is damaged, which makes it easier for rescue personnel to locate them and less likely that they'll panic and run off when they get out of the vehicle. It's also a good idea to have a first aid kit specifically geared toward cats on hand so you can administer prompt attention to any injuries they might suffer in an accident until your vet is available.


Feed your cat several hours before departure

Cats are sensitive to motion and will become disoriented and sick during a long car ride. A full stomach can trigger motion sickness for some cats, so avoid this potential problem by feeding your cat at least three hours prior to departure. You will want to make sure that they have plenty of time to digest their food before getting on the road.


Bring along something cozy

If you are planning on making multiple stops along the way, consider bringing along a soft blanket or towel that has been with your cat at home. Placing this over the carrier will help your cat feel more secure and relaxed.


Bring familiar items from home

Your cat will feel much more comfortable and relaxed in the car if they have things from home, such as a blanket and their own food and water bowls. You could also bring something that smells like you or another member of your family so that they associate something familiar with their new surroundings.


Bring treats and toys

Toys will help keep your cat entertained and distracted for the duration of the trip, which helps to prevent meowing and general fussiness. Bring some treats for your cat as well. Choose their favorite canned food or moist treats that can be easily broken into small pieces. You can use these treats to reward your cat and help them associate long car rides with positive experiences.


Bring along a litter box

One of the best ways to prepare your cat for a long road trip is to bring along a litter box so they can relieve themselves when needed and feel at home. Never put anything other than litter in the box, and be sure to use the unscented litter. Also, make sure the box is easy to clean. If you're driving for more than two hours, you may want to stop and scoop out the litter mid-trip. Keep some plastic grocery bags in your car to help with cleanup, and plan your stops at rest stops that have pet areas where you can dispose of the waste.


Pack essentials

Make sure to take plenty of food, water, and other essentials that your kitty will need during their journey. Take more than you think you'll need – just in case there are delays or any other unexpected occurrences that might cause your trip to take longer than planned. Packing extra food and water is also essential if you're moving across the country and won't have the time or opportunity to stop at stores along the way.


Keep your cat hydrated

Cats don't like change, and a new environment like the car can be stressful enough that they won't drink the water you provide them. While this is bad in any circumstance, it can be deadly if your cat becomes dehydrated while you're on a long car ride. One way to avoid this problem is to bring along a small water dish or cup with a lid. When you stop for gas or food, fill up your cat's container with bottled water so they'll have something familiar if they get thirsty.


Schedule regular stops along the way

When taking a long car trip with your cat, you should plan for periodic stops every four hours. If your cat is a kitten or if you have a second cat traveling with you, stop more frequently. When you stop for a rest break, take your cat out of the carrier and allow them time to stretch their legs and use the bathroom. Cats are creatures of habit, so try to stick to a schedule as much as possible. This will help your cat feel more comfortable during the trip.



Long-distance Car Travel with Cats | MissyMoMo


There's no denying that even an hour-long car trip with your cat is an exhausting experience. While this list won't completely eliminate the stress of long-distance travel for cat parents, hopefully, it has prepared you to make the best of a bad situation.