Skip to Main Content
Ask About Financing

How to Travel With a Cat: Tips for a low-stress trip

How to Travel With a Cat: Tips for a low-stress trip

Would you like to travel with your cat? You may have questions about how to do that without stress. In this blog, the Palmyra Animal Clinic vets explain how to travel with a cat with success.

Preparing For Any Trip With Your Cat

If you are planning to travel with your kitty - whether moving, visiting, or going on vacation - you will need to plan. 

One essential point to consider is whether your cat is up-to-date on their vaccines and parasite prevention. Different states have different regulations regarding vaccines for pets, but in most states, keeping your pet's rabies vaccine current is the law. So be sure to schedule a visit to your veterinarian before you leave so that your cat's core vaccines can be brought up to date, your kitty can be vaccinated against any lifestyle diseases that are common in the place you are headed to, and any parasites can be treated or prevented.

Different Journeys & Different Preparations

When traveling with your cat, you'll need to think about different things depending on how you're getting there and how long the trip is. In this guide, we'll cover traveling with a cat by car, plane, train, or ship.  

Traveling by Car with Your Cat

Purchase a Suitable Cat Carrier

Make sure your cat travels safely in a carrier. Always use a seat belt to secure the carrier in the back seat to prevent any accidents. 

Don't Put Your Cat in the Front Seat

Avoid putting your cat in the front seat due to airbag risks. Stick to the back seats for your pet's safety. 

Keep Your Cat's Head Inside the Vehicle

If your cat's head is sticking outside the window, they're at risk of debris striking them or the cold air harming their lungs. Never transport your cat in the back of an open pick-up truck.

Bring a Human Designated to Care for Them

If possible, have someone ride with your cat in the back seat for comfort and reassurance during the journey. This will help your cat feel at ease. 

If Your Journey is Longer than 6 hours, They'll Need Litter

If your journey by car is shorter than 6 hours, then your cat will most likely be fine in a standard carrier. If your cat will need to be in their carrier longer than that, you will need a larger accommodation that gives them space for a small litter box. It's a good idea to consult your vet before traveling for advice on the kind of kennel or carrier best suited to your cat's needs and the journey ahead.

Don't Ever Leave Your Cat in the Car Alone

Leaving a cat alone in a car is a serious health hazard. Heat is a risk to pets, and a short time for you could be an eternity for your feline companion. When it's 72 degrees Fahrenheit outside, the temperature inside your car can heat up to 116 degrees within an hour. On an 85-degree day, even with the windows slightly open, the temperature inside your car can reach 102 degrees in just 10 minutes. Irreversible organ damage or death is possible after only 30 minutes alone in a vehicle - even if you don't expect it to take that long to return, it is not worth the risk.

How to Travel with a Cat on a Plane

Do cats like to travel by air? The short answer, of course, is no, but sometimes it cannot be avoided. Here are the things you should know about traveling with a cat by plane.

Air Travel Can be Dangerous for Cats

Air travel can lead to oxygen deprivation or heat stroke in animals. Persian cats, in particular, are susceptible to these effects, as are other animals with "smushed-in" faces.

Consider All Alternatives Before Flying

Because flying is so stressful for cats, we recommend taking another option if possible. Driving is generally superior to flying. There may be boarding options available that can let your cat relax comfortably at a home away from home.

Chose an Airline that Will Allow Your Cat in the Cabin

Many airlines allow you to bring your cat in the passenger cabin for a fee. However, it's important to know that some animals suffer harm or get lots during flights, mainly due to extreme temperatures, poor ventilation, or rough handling. While most animals flown in the cargo area of airplanes are fine, you should be aware that some animals are killed, injured, or lost on commercial flights each year. Excessively hot or cold temperatures, poor ventilation, and rough handling are often to blame. In either case, you must inform the airline well in advance that you are bringing your cat with you. If you must travel with your animal in the cargo hold, research airlines and select one with a good reputation for animal handling.

If You See Something, Say Something

If you see any mistreatment of an animal by an airline, yours or otherwise, make sure you say something about it! You could save a life.

How to Travel with a Cat on a Train

If you're planning to take your cat on a train journey, first confirm with the railway if pets are allowed. If they are, follow the same guidelines as traveling with a cat in a car. Remember to give your cat exercise and meals during station stops. 

How to Travel with a Cat on a Ship

Most cruise lines only allow assistance dogs, and some permit pets only on specific routes, typically ocean crossing. Some lines permit pets in private cabins, but most confine pets to kennels. Contact your cruise line in advance to find out its policies and which of its ships have kennel facilities. You have to use the ship's kennel, ensure it's sheltered, and check on your pet regularly. 

If you have questions about traveling with a pet or other options, contact the Palmyra Animal Clinic vets today for more information.

New Patients Welcome

Palmyra Animal Clinic is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

Contact Us

Contact (717) 838-5451