How To Travel With A Cat In A Car (Step By Step Guide)

Traveling in your car with your little cat friend can be quite tricky, right?

Well, cats are very quiet animals, so they are not very good with vehicles and noise. Besides, they always like to keep their territories marked and stay confined in them.

So it gets very uncomfortable for them and sometimes even quite scary when they have to travel, especially in vehicles like cars that make noise while driving it. Furthermore, it becomes even more difficult if you have a shy cat.

Then should you stop traveling with your cats and leave them behind alone in your house? Not really. What you need are proper guidance and preparations to make them feel at ease while traveling and getting used to it.

And so you have to manage some time before the actual departure date and get the best preparation done.

Trust me, if you learn and follow my guide on how to travel with a cat in a car you’ll never leave your little feline friend alone and uncared in your house while traveling anymore!

Now, let’s get to the guide on how to travel with a cat in a car-

Things to do before traveling:

how to travel with a cat in a car

According to, the best kind of travel with your cat doesn’t begin the day of traveling, it begins before a few days of the travel.

Most of the cats are not fond of traveling in vehicles and some of them feel even extremely terrorized in the speedy movement of the car and the noises.

So you need to make some pre-travel arrangements to avoid any discomfort of your cat and yourself. These steps are very important for knowing how to travel with a cat in a car:

Preparing the car

When the date of the departure is fixed, the first thing you have to do is to prepare your car properly for your cat. Keep in mind that most cats can hold their poop a for 1-2 days. Most of the people use air freshener in their cars. If you are one of them you have to make sure if your cat can bear the fragrance.

To make sure, spray a little bit of the air freshener in the room your cat stays and see if he reacts adversely or weirdly. If it does, get rid of the car. While preparing your car, make sure-

There’s no fragrance inside your car that makes your cat feel uneasy. Some cats extremely hate the smell of black pepper and cinnamon and act harshly. So find out which one your cat seems to like if you have to use an air freshener.

There’s no show piece or stuffed toys inside the car that may frighten your cat. For example, cats are extremely scared of cucumber or snake-shaped stuff.

The seats of the car are steady enough to carry the weight of your cat and the cat carrier.

The cat carrier can be tied to the seats properly.

Your car doesn’t have engine issues and makes excess noise.

Getting the right cat carrier

One thing you must never do is anyhow set your cat free inside the car while traveling. There is news of cats getting out of the car and being lost forever. So buy a suitable cat carrier. There are plenty of cat carriers with good functions in very reasonable price in the Amazon or local markets. But keep these few things in mind while buying the carrier-

The size of the carrier is enough for your cat for lying down or staying in standing position. So it will feel comfortable inside and won’t be nervous.

The carrier is sturdy enough to hold the weight of your cat.

It has a proper ventilation system for your cat to breathe properly inside.

It has a very good security system with locked doors or zippers so your cat can’t get out and escape.

The carrier can fit properly on the car seat.

It has netted windows or something like that so that your cat can see the outside scenery and know that you are here with it. It will make his nervousness fade away.

The carrier comes with long handles or belts so you can tie it with the car seat for extra safety.

There’s enough space inside the carrier to keep foods and treats.

Adjusting your cat to the travel

When you want to know how to travel with cats in a car long distance you must know how to help your cat adjust or familiarize to the travel way before actually traveling. Because if you don’t do that and take your cat on a travel suddenly, it’ll feel frightened that may even result in having panic attacks. Do these simple things to help it adjust to the travel-

First put a piece of fabric or towel or even some toys on your cats’ bed for a few days and then put them inside the carrier. So your cat will have the familiar smell in the new carrier.

You can spray the same air freshener that you use in your rooms inside the carrier or even in the car.

Keep the carrier in the room your cat stays in with the door of the carrier open. You can even put some treats inside so that your cat goes in and out and familiarize with the carrier.

Take your cat inside the car and keep him there for 15minutes every day.

Take it to test drive to nearby places like parks or cat shops so he can get used to it.

Monitor your cats’ behavior while traveling and see if they have any hyper activities like panic attacks or motion sickness. If they have any of them give them proper medication so that they can stay relaxed in the journey.

If it’s a long journey in the car, you should visit a vet and have a full body checkup of your cat. If you see your cat has panic attacks or motion sickness in the test drives, you might need to sedate your cat.

In that case, ask your vet to give medicines and injections to keep them de-stressed.

Packing and getting in the car

Packing is a very important part of the preparation. So be very careful while packing so you don’t leave anything important of your cat behind. While packing make sure you’ve taken-

Cat food, water, and other treats to make the trip enjoyable for your cat.

Prescribed medicines and injections if your cat suffers from anxiety, motion sickness, fear while traveling.

Your cats’ favorite toys to keep your cat busy and forget nervousness.

Identification tags with your phone number, car number, and address on it.

Extra poop bags.

When you are done with packing go through the stuff and check again if you have missed anything. Before about 4-5 hours of starting for the travel, feed your cats so that they don’t get to have a full stomach while traveling and have motion sickness. Then when it’s time to get in the car-

  • Put a collar with safety handles around your cat’s neck.
  • Then get him inside the carrier and talk to him so that he knows it’s normal.
  • Tie his collar handles with the carrier for additional safety.
  • Lock the doors or zip the carrier and double check it to keep your cat safe inside.
  • Then get the carrier in the car and tie it with the car seats tightly so your cat feels stable while driving.

You are ready to go!

Things to do while traveling

According to Wikihow, when you are in the car it means all the preparations are already done.

So it’s time for you to enjoy the trip while keeping your cat in check. But must follow these while traveling-

Keeping your eyes on the road

If it’s you who is traveling the car, must keep your eyes on the road and not on your cat. But if you feel your cat needs to be checked, then take small breaks in driving and check your cat.

Taking short intervals

You can take short intervals while driving to interact with your cat. That time you can get your cat out of the carrier and pet him. But do not forget to keep the doors locked and windows closed.

Checking your cat’s behavior

You must check your cat’s behavior while driving, if it behaves differently, you should talk to them and if needed pet them or give them treats to feel at ease. If your cats are frightened they will:

  • Keep screaming continuously.
  • Scratch the inner surface of the carrier.
  • Try to get out with all its strength.
  • Urinate on the carrier.
  • Make sounds like ‘hiss’ if you try to touch it.

If your cat becomes really frightened and gets panic attacks, it may need to be sedated. In that case, stop driving and give your cat medicines and injections to de-stress them.

Things to do when the trip is done

Well, now that the trip is done, you don’t really need to do much. Let your cat out, pet it and help him to cope with the new place and feel relaxed.

So that’s my guide on how to travel with a cat in a car with the best preparation possible.

Follow it thoroughly to have the most relaxing travel with your little feline friend and let us know how your trip went on the comment below.

Additional Resources:

avatar Noah
I’m Noah, chief editor at VIVO Pets and the proud owner of a playful, energetic husky (Max). I’ve been a volunteer at Rex Animal Rescue for over 2 years. I love learning and writing about different animals that can be kept as pets. read more...

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