Travelling With Your Cat

Photo of Karen Dell

Karen Dell

Senior Editor • Backyard Cat Enclosures

27 September 2016

Whether it’s a veterinary appointment, moving house or a good old-fashioned road trip, the chances are that you will have to travel with your cat at one time or another.

Cats are creatures of habit so it’s not really surprising that they don’t like travelling. And really, just think of the trip from your cat’s perspective - bundled into a roaring death machine with no debate or preparation. No wonder they hate it! So before you apply for their first kitty passport, try to plan out a journey that is genuinely purr-st class.

A Cat Carrier

A cat carrier is essential if you’re travelling with your cat be it by car or plane. It will keep your cat safe and contained while in transit. It can be very difficult to change gears with kitty claws digging into your forearm.

If you can train your cat to feel safe in its carrier, you’re on the way to success. Introduce your cat to the carrier as soon as possible to give him time to adjust. Leave it open on the floor and make it look as inviting as possible with some soft bedding, toys and treats. If he’s allowed to wander in and out of his own accord he will feel much more comfortable when the time comes to use it for real.  Too many cats are forced into the carrier at the last minute which makes them anxious and distressed.

Unless you like to live dangerously, put some litter some litter in with your cat, or try and line the carrier with some newspaper. For longer journeys, make sure to have some water on hand. Food probably won’t stay in your cat very long, and you should avoid feeding your cat for a few hours before travelling.


It’s not always necessary to give your cat travel medication: take into consideration how they have responded to previous travel experiences, their temperament, medical history and any advice from your vet.  Trial any medications prior to the trip to see if there are any side effects - that way you’ll know what to expect.

The Three Types of Travel Cats

There are three different travel cat personalities that you should look out for:

  1. Cool as a cucumber: your cat is pretty comfy in its cat carrier and doesn’t really see what all the fuss in this article is about. Congratulations, your cat loves the engine’s purr.
  2. Frozen solid: if your cat looks nervous, tired, and stays perfectly still for the length of the journey, it’s probably experiencing motion sickness. There’s not much you can do, although some medical options (or even ginger) might help.
  3. Burning up: your cat hates this, and wants you to know all about it. Pacing in its enclosure and meowing uncontrollably are typical. Your cat is probably terrified. Try doing more work with the cat carrier next time, and if all else fails consider sedatives for longer trips.

Check in

Make sure that whoever you’re staying with, be it friends, family or in a hotel know that you are taking your cat and inform them of any requirements you may have. If you are staying in a hotel it is a good idea to provide reception and housekeeping with written instructions. It’s also probably a good idea to check that they’re okay with you bringing your cat in the first place.

If you do decide to take your cat away with you make sure your cat is microchipped and that your contact details are up to date to so you can be reunited if your cat should go missing.

There’s other ways for your cat to take a trip: check out our pawesome article on catnip.


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