Years ago, I traveled between my home in California and one in Nevada. I would be at each home for several weeks at a time so it was a necessity that I take my cat with me. At the time, Hollywood was my only cat so this was an easier, and entirely different, undertaking than it would be today with my five failed fosters.
The trip was a long one – about seven hours – so I really didn’t want her in a carrier all that time. I had already trained her to walk on a leash and harness which was the smartest thing I could have done as far as travelling goes. When we stopped at rest stops, she would get out, walk around and take care of business. She rode on a pillow on the console between the seats in front of the air conditioner and was a happy camper. She was a wonderful traveling companion! She wasn’t always the confident traveler but it didn’t take her long to get comfortable. I had a small SUV so I had a back area where I could put her open carrier and a litter box. She would move from the front to her carrier when traffic, especially big semis driving by, would frighten her. This was much preferred by me to her crawling under the driver’s seat! Eventually, even the semis didn’t rattle her and she sat happily beside me for the whole trip. With all the concern over animal safety during an accident now, I don’t know that I would do things quite the same, but we enjoyed our travels together back then and it just wouldn’t have been the same with her confined to her carrier.
Tips for Traveling with Your Cat by Car
- Leash and halter train your cat
- Get it used to being in the car before the trip
- Make sure your cat is accustomed to being confined in its carrier
- Be patient and reassuring
- Be sure your cat will be welcome everywhere you plan to stop
- Be sure your cat has identification and consider microchipping
- Never open your car door or window when your cat is unrestrained
- Feed at least 3-4 hours before you start your trip
- Carry water, bowls and your cat’s regular food
- Take along some of your cat’s favorite toys