We see a lot of cat travellers on the world wide web, especially on Instagram, and they are the type of accounts that get a lot of attention, followers and interaction on their pages. Why? Because travelling with your cat is still deemed unusual. Thanks to social media though, more and more people are realising that it is possible and safe to travel with their cat.
As much as social media tries to tell us otherwise, you can't just pick up your cat, buy them a cool carrier and set off in to the sunset on a road trip. Most of these travelling cool cats have been raised from a young age to travel and be active in the great outdoors. They have got used to the sounds and noises of the outside and have experienced this for many years beforehand. Don't be fooled in to thinking they bought a cute kitty, and instantly became travel buddies.
It takes work, patience and sometimes persistence if you want your cat to enjoy their travels. Although some cats really are travellers by nature and do seem to enjoy the car from the get go, it is rare, so don't jump in to a decision without planning your trip as you risk causing unnecessary stress to your kitty.
What Do I Need When Road Tripping With My Cat?
Taking road trips can be a fun, rewarding adventure for everyone. British country roads, especially towards Cornwall and Devon, are surrounded by beautiful scenery and wildlife and it beats taking the motorway for hours on end.
When you travel alone, there are many things to take into consideration, but after many trips these things become second nature to most of us. We make sure we have enough petrol in the car, that we have money for our trip, our passports, other important documents, clothes and other necessities we will need for our time away. But when we travel with our pets there is whole other bunch of considerations that we must take in to account, especially with our cats!
So assuming you have prepared your cat for car travel, or they have travelled before, take a look at our feline travel checklist!
If you are leaving (or returning to) the UK, you'll definitely need to get your travel companion a pet passport. In the UK, these are issued by a qualified vet. Ask your vet if they are able to provide pet passports, if they can't they should point you to someone who can. You'll need to get rabies vaccinations and a microchip before your vet can provide the passport. In most cases this is done in one appointment and takes a few minutes. Speak to your vet for more information, and see the government website for more information on pet passports.
A Secure Cat Carrier
When you travel anywhere with your cat, by car or otherwise, you'll need a cat carrier.
When you are road tripping with your cat, the last thing you need is them running wild in the car, or worse, napping under your brake pedal. Stay safe and pop them in a carrier, this will also make your kitty feel much more secure during the journey. There are many on the market, we'd recommend a strong fabric cat carrier such as this one that will circulate as much air as possible and allows your cat to see out of it.
If you and your cat are travelling with friends, your cat could be supervised in the car outside of their carrier, using their own cat car seat belt. This allows them to stretch their legs safely in the car, whilst keeping them contained to a small area, avoiding distractions for the driver. Of course you'll also need a harness to clip it to.
Disposable Litter Trays
These are perfect for car trips, camping and hotel stays. These disposable litter trays are made of bio-degradable materials and come with handles, making them portable and convenient. They are strong enough to use without needing a litter change, just use and throw away as needed and replace with another.
It's a good idea to stick to the same litter that you would usually use at home, as cats tend to be quite sensitive to change. The last thing you want when travelling is your cat inappropriately urinating outside of their litter tray.
Familiar Items From Home
A cats sense of smell is much stronger than ours, and they each carry their own territory marking scent. It's a good idea to bring some toys, bedding and other familiar items that your cat has used so that they travel with a familiar scent. This can help keep them calm during a car journey.
We'd also recommend a handy Feliway Travel Spray for car journeys. Just spray the calming synthetic pheromone every so often to calm your cats anxiety. They are also available as a plug in for home use.
Food & Water Bowls (+ the food & water!)
Probably the most important thing not to forget is the food and water along with travel bowls. When you travel with your cat, try to stick to the same brands of food your cat is used to at home. Any change in diet can cause temporary diarrhea and sickness, and you really don't want this when travelling in the car! Your cat will also appreciate some familiarity.
You might want to invest in some collapsible travel water bowls for easy carrying, or if you have the space, use your regular feeding bowls.
Important to remember when travelling in the car with your cat:
- Make sure you offer your cat some drinking water frequently
- Stop to allow them to stretch & walk
- Offer the use of the litter tray
- Never leave your cat in the car alone (not even with a cracked window - heat can effect cats much quicker than humans)
- Micro-chip and ID Tag your cat - unfamiliar environments could startle your cat to run off if they feel scared.
- Always use a harness and lead if you allow your cat to walk outside of the car. (Previous training necessary)
- Don't feed your cat 6 hours before traveling. Eating before traveling can make your cat sick, so it's best to stick to this rule. If your cat is a frequent traveler than it may be used to traveling, in which case you know your cat well enough to decide if it's a good idea to feed before traveling.
- It's a good idea to have a vet check your cat over before they travel, and to discuss your travel plans with your vet. Make sure your cat is fit for travel and has no health issues that could be made worse by stress.
- Enjoy your travels and tag your photos with #allpawsabroad on Instagram! We'll feature them in our Gallery!
Don't forget to LIKE US on Facebook!
So there you have it! You now know what essentials to bring with you on your road trip to keep your kitty happy in the car, now we want to know where you're going! Planning a trip or recently returned? Tell us about the experience and share your tips in the comments.