The Ultimate Checklist to Take Your Cat on a Road Trip

September 21, 2022 6 min read

Checklist to Take Your Cat on a Road Trip

As a cat owner, it is difficult to leave your cats at home and go for a vacation. Even if you have made arrangements for your cat to stay in a new home, leaving it is a disheartening idea in the first place. There are a plethora of questions that pet parents have when they are considering hitting the road with a cat — Will my cat be able to adapt to the changes?" "Is it a good idea to put the cat in a carrier" or "What if my cat falls ill during a road trip?" Well, these questions as a cat parent are justified — you do not want your cat to be uncomfortable during the adventure.

We want you to be worry-free when planning a trip with your pet. Therefore, here is a checklist of things that will help you enjoy your time on the road with your furry friend. As long as you are prepared and cautious, nothing can stop you and your cat from having fun while exploring the world on a road trip.

Checklist for a Trip with Your Fur Baby

Travel More With Your Cat Before The Trip Begins

Make sure your cat is comfortable driving long distances, and to do so, take your cat for small-distance driving. This will help in reducing stress and getting familiar with driving sessions. For a cat, driving could be scary, and traffic lights, motion, honks, etc. would only add to it. If your cat is comfortable with its carrier at home, that does not mean it will feel safe in a carrier during driving as well. Therefore, if you have time before your actual trip begins, make sure you take your cat for rides every evening or at whatever time of the day.

Visit The Vet For Recommendations

Even cats suffer from motion sickness like humans. Therefore, it is always advisable to see your vet and ask for recommendations and medications if the cat falls sick during a road trip. When you visit the vet, make sure to have a health checkup of your cat so that later you do not face any issues and the trip goes smoothly. Carry medication advised by your vet and follow precautions of any kind if your cat is allergic to specific food items or anything else.

cats and vet

Carry Food And Water Items That Your Cat Likes

It is a bad idea to carry food that your cat might not like. As a cat parent, you must check what food items your cat will relish the most because chances are that your cat might lose its appetite during a road trip. In such a case, food and water items that your cat likes the most will come in handy. Also, carry enough supply in case you do not find a store or similar product in the new geographic area. But, most importantly, remember to carry bowls for serving food and water to your cat.

Arrange for an ID

Like small babies, even cats need an ID card so that in an unknown location, if need be, they can be found and reunited with their owners. Losing a cat in a new territory is hard in any parent's mind and soul. And to protect you from such heartache, an ID stating the name of the owner, location, address, and contact details will surely help.

Look For The Right Carrier

Unlike humans and dogs, cats are not comfortable travelling in cars. They need a carrier to ensure they are safe and sound while you hit the road for a fun vacation. However, every carrier is not a perfect pick for your cat. According to the American Association of Feline Practitioners, a cat owner should go for a fibreglass carrier or commercial plastic one because they are resistant to any impact on the road. Also, carriers help cure motion sickness and protect the cat from any visuals.

Make The Carrier Comfortable For Your Cat

It is not about just finding the right carrier for your cat. It is essential as a cat parent that you give it time to adjust to it too. You can place your fur friend's favourite toys in it, or you can give it time to explore its new home whenever you go for a road trip. But, remember, do not push your cat to like the carrier. Also, you can keep the carrier open so that the cat feels comfortable exploring it, and when settled, it can spend hours in the carrier.

Yes, A Cat's Bed Is An Essential Travel Item

Cats usually do not like a change of place. Therefore, whenever hitting the road with your cat for some fun, remember to carry its bed or favourite blanket. While the cat is already stressed about the new location and facing car sickness, having a bed or an item they like to cling to while sleeping can help reduce stress during a road trip.

cat bed

Let Your Cat Settle In At Its Own Pace

Once you have arrived where you wanted to be on a road trip, ensure to help the cat become familiar with this new environment. To do so, let your cat stay in its carrier and calmly observe the surroundings near it. Once you have settled and unpacked, lock all the exits and open the door of the carrier. Give your furry friend a chance to explore this new location all by itself.

Also read: Cat Parenting: Here's Everything You Need to Know

Prepare A Cat Bag That Is Accessible On The Road

As a cat parent, you might have packed everything you need for your cat. But wait — What if you need something for your cat immediately and it is loaded under your bags at the back of your car? To avoid such situations, it is advisable to carry a cat bag that has all the necessary items your friend will be needing during a road trip. You can place this bag in front or put it somewhere in the back where it's easily accessible when needed.

List of Must-Dos While Going for a Road Trip with your Cat

Look Out For Unusual Behaviours

Keep an eye on your cat once you reach a new location. It is completely normal for a cat to behave a bit off in new settings. Your friend might end up sleeping for long hours or vomit a couple of times. These situations are normal only if they last a day or two. If this continues to happen for long, take your cat to a professional vet immediately.

Make Stops On The Road

Though your cat can hold its pee for more than 48 hours at a stretch, it is no reason not to stop on the road. Make a stop every 4-5 hours and feed your friend to make sure it does not feel hungry and is hydrated enough. Also, this can be the time to offer your cat its litter box just in case it wants to poop or pee.

Never Leave Your Cat In A Carrier Alone In The Car

The travel situation is itself scary for your cat. Make certain you do not make it more anxious and stressful by leaving the cat alone in the car. Any vehicle tends to heat up fast during hot summer days, and this rise in temperature inside the car can cause serious harm to your friend inside the car.

List of Recommended Products

  • Go for a carrier that is airy, sturdy, and makes the cat feel just at home.
  • Carry cat toys and favourite items that can ease the stress.
  • Carry a cat travel spray that produces cat pheromones to calm its anxiety.
  • You can also go in for calming edible items for your cat if the spray does not work.
  • Carry a small litter box that is a perfect fit during a road trip.
  • Carry enough food and water supply along with extra bowls to serve them.
  • It is recommended to carry more than one harness just in case you lose one.
  • Save your vet emergency contact on your phone in case you need it during odd hours or while staying in remote locations where there is no immediate vet availability.
  • It is always advisable to carry disposable liners or old towels to ensure your cat's carrier stays clean and fresh and your car does not get spoiled with the cat's vomit or poop.


cats and road trip

Travelling with a pet might sound scary, but it is a thrilling experience when you are fully prepared. You can have a wonderful time with your furry friend on the road only if you have planned for it in advance. Ensure to keep all the basic items ready before you begin your road trip. Also, it is an advantage if you have planned for any uncertainties that might happen with your cat on the road, like calming its nerves with medication.

Next, check out: Things You Need Before Taking Your Cat On a Trek

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