Cat Car Travel Tips

Safe cat car travel begins with a secure and well-designed cat travel cage. Cat carriers help your pet to feel more secure during the ride and prevent accidents and escapes. For his safety and yours, your cat should be confined at all times when traveling by car.

Before the trip, obtain a suitable carrier. Your cat should be able to lie down fully when inside.

Features of a Well-designed Cat Carrier:

  • Sturdy, solid design with no sharp edges;
  • Secure latches that open and close smoothly;
  • Easy to clean interior-plastic preferred;
  • Adequate ventilation.

While it is not mandatory, a "top load" feature is very helpful. It lets you drop your cat in from the top rather than push him in through the side.

Once you've selected a travel cage, begin to familiarize your cat with the carrier. Leave it open in an area your cat frequents and let him inspect it. Put a favorite blanket or toy inside to encourage exploration.

Prior to the trip, take a test run. Put your cat in the carrier and take a short ride. Expect your cat to cry and complain a little, especially if this is a new experience.

Successful Cat Car Travel Tips:

  • To avoid nervous vomiting, do not feed your cat within four hours of the trip.
  • Many cats prefer to be able to see what's going on around them. You can elevate the carrier by securing it to a car seat. This lets them watch the scenery and keep an eye on the driver.
  • Some cats prefer to be kept in the dark-literally. If your cat seems anxious, cover the carrier with a light blanket. It may help soothe his travel stress.

Do not release your cat inside the car while you are driving. Doing so could cause an accident. If you must release your cat from the carrier while you are in the car, pull over to a safe location. Close all the car windows fully.

If your cat becomes extremely agitated-clawing or biting at the cage or showing signs of obvious physical distress--return home. If after one or two practice trips, your cat is still showing signs of high anxiety, speak to your veterinarian. A mild sedative may help prevent extreme travel stress. Warning: Do not use a sedative if your plans include air travel.

Once you've reached your destination, allow your cat to become fully acclimated to his new surroundings. Do not release your cat outdoors until you are fully confident of the safety of the area.

With a few simple precautions, your feline co-pilot can travel safely and easily.