We just arrived in Washington after an 18-hour road trip with our cat Nala. While there are a few things we would do differently next time, the trip actually went really smoothly. After scouring the Internet for the past few weeks, I realized that there is a lot more information out there about how to travel with a dog than with a cat. I wanted to write this post to give some tips and tricks for an easy road trip with your cat.Tip #1 – Give your cat plenty of space!
I can’t stress this enough. Your cat will be a lot more comfortable if he or she can move around a bit. We bought a carrier meant for a small to medium sized dog, and I think that was a perfect amount of space for the long trip.
In the past, we’ve used our typical cat carrier on road trips, but Nala hates that tiny, confined space.
Tip #2 – Buy some relaxation chews
I can’t speak for your cat, but Nala handles stress about as well as a plate handles soup. So, we decided to drug her a little bit. We found some calming/relaxation chews at Petsmart that worked wonders. However, I would recommend feeding the chews to your cat before you put her in the car, otherwise she probably will be too stressed to eat them.
Tip #3 – Don’t give them much food or water
Again, cats don’t deal well with change. If you give them a bunch of food and water right before you forcibly take them outside their comfort zone, things will likely get ugly. Unless you like the smell of cat pee, then give them food by all means.
Obviously, you don’t want to starve your cat. I would advise giving them some food and some water each time you stop for food.
Tip #4 – Make a small litter box out of a plastic bin
Nala is a champ! She held it for 18 hours. However, if your cat doesn’t have the willpower of an olympian, it’s good to have a small litter box that fits in your cat’s oversize crate. You can either buy an overpriced one for $20 at the pet store, or you can get a plastic bin for $4 at Target. The choice is yours.
Tip #5 – Bring familiar blankets and toys
To alleviate stress, it’s important to make your cat feel comfortable. For Nala that means bringing her favorite blanket and some of her favorite toys (aka q-tips). Basically you just want to make your cat feel at home.
Tip #6 – Put your cat near the front
Unless your cat hates you, they will probably feel more comfortable if they can see you and if you can occasionally pet them during the long journey. If you want to make your cat hate you, take them on long road trips in tiny crates.
That’s all I’ve got. If you’ve got tips and tricks for road trips with cats, please let us know in the comments below.