12 Tips on How to Road Trip with Your Cat

Summer time is vacation time, and many of us like to include our furry family members in our vacation plans. If you’re planning a road trip with your cat this summer, we have some tips to make your journey safe and stress free.

  1. Get a healthy start! The last thing you want is to have to deal with a health issue in a strange place. Have your cat examined and be sure to have a copy of his/her vaccines. While San Francisco, CA does not require rabies for cats many other states do! Make sure to check ahead of time if you’re traveling to a state that requires rabies vaccination. If you are traveling into Canada or Mexico, you will also need a health certificate.
  2. Keep your cat in a sturdy, well-ventilated carrier big enough for them to stand up and turn around in comfortably. Line the carrier with a towel and a tiny litter tray, and secure the carrier to the seat with a seat belt. Hundreds of pets are injured or even killed in car accidents every year because they are not properly restrained. Not to mention a loose cat in the car is very distracting to the driver. It is also not unusual for a nervous cat to try and escape through a cracked window or an open door.
  3. Keep the carrier from wobbling by creating as flat a surface as possible. Many times you can use towels underneath the carrier to keep it balanced. Towels also protect the car from any unintentional bathroom accidents.
  4. Pad the carrier with something comfy to make travel easier and less bumpy.
  5. Talk to your cat as you go. If he or she complains always answer reassuringly.
  6. Be sure your cat is tagged, microchipped and registration is current, Have a photograph to show around in case he/she gets separated from you and be sure your cat is wearing a collar with an ID on it.
  7. Pack an ample supply of cat food (don’t depend on being able to buy your brand on the road), collapsible food & water bowls, bedding, litter & litter box, favorite toys, a pet first aid kit, medications, and plenty of clean water.
  8. Map out your itinerary ahead of time, and be sure you have reservations set up at pet friendly accommodations along the way.
  9. Make the ride as smooth as possible. Avoid lurching forward. Brake smoothly and take turns lightly.
  10. NEVER leave your pet unattended in a parked vehicle. On warm days the temperature can rise to 120 degrees in just minutes. Have a plan for how you will handle food breaks. Drive-thrus or picnics are great options!
  11. Keep feeding to a minimum during travel, and avoid “people” foods. Pets can get carsick just like people!
  12. When you arrive at your destination, let kitty scope out the new indoor setting from the sanctity of the carrier or smaller space (small room/bathroom); then offer food, water, and litter outside it. In strange surroundings, ensure that all doors and windows are shut as tight as can be before the kitty emerges from the carrier.

Happy and safe travels!