Moving by Car with Your Cat

Moving by Car with Your Cat

As cats do not particularly enjoy travel, and tend to howl, many cat owners are tempted to try to sedate their pet, however this can be very dangerous, especially if your pet has a negative reaction and you are on the highway, miles from veterinary care.  So the first rule is DO NOT sedate your cat, View for effective information now..

The second rule is ALWAYS use a cat carrier, kennel, or even a secure cardboard box.  Ideally this should be something the pet has seen before.  Leave the carrier open in your home with a towel on the bottom so your cat can get use to coming and going on its’ own and is not frightened.  If you have been unable to have your cat use the kennel prior to your trip, put a towel with his or her scent in the kennel for the trip itself, or even one of your (unwashed) shirts, something with a familiar smell.

Car with Your Cat

Most trips begin in the morning so I will assume yours is too.  The night before your trip make sure the cat is fed early but remove the food before bed time.  Remove water first thing in the morning.  It is a good idea to fill a container with water from home, because on your trip, the cat may refuse to drink different water.  Bring a litter tray with you, ready for use at your destination.  Make sure the cat has an opportunity to use the litter box before the trip.  Put the cat in the carrier and get ready to leave. 

A cat will probably howl and meow for a good portion of the trip.  Do not yell at them, remember this is very stressful for most cats, turn the radio on and try your best to ignore your cat.  You may find putting a sheet over the kennel will help.  Make sure the kennel is not in the sun if it is a hot day. 

NEVER let a cat out of the cage durring your trip at any time, even to be loose in the car.  This is unsafe for you, and the cat, and may even be illegal in some areas (to have a pet loose in a traveling vehicle).  Even at stops for yourself, keep the cat in the carrier.  Keep your stops brief.   Letting the cat out puts it at risk for escape, and cats in places they do not know often will not even respond to familiar voices or people. 

If you are traveling more than an eight hour distance with your cat it is best to break up the trip with an over night stay at a Pet Friendly Hotel.  If you are doing this, set the cat up in the bathroom for the night, give it food, water, and the litter box in the bathroom.  This keeps the cat in a smaller space which will stress it less than having the full room to run around in, plus if your hotel room door is opened, you do not want to risk the cat running out.  If you are only there for one night, make sure you remove the food just before bed time, and water first thing in the morning.  Ideally spending two nights in a row will be better for your cat, but is not always possible. 

traveling more than an eight hour distance

When you reach your final destination, put your cat in a small room to let it relax while you unload the car.  This may be a bathroom or bedroom.  If this is a new house that you are moving in to, select a room where you might want to keep the cat for the first few weeks while you set up house to allow it to adjust out of the way of the unpacking activity.