Long-distance car trips can be pretty challenging for owners, given how stressed cats often become during trips.
Indeed, it’s an odyssey that’s going to require careful planning and preparation.
While we’d recommend avoiding such journeys unless absolutely necessary, they’re perfectly possible provided you’ve got the right kit.
Here’s a comprehensive guide for that will hopefully ensure a stress-free car trip for both you and your cat.
Travel-Friendly Cat Carriers
An essential element of any cat travel plan is to select an appropriate cat carrier.
These are some of the features you should look out for before purchase.
Take care to choose a carrier that’s spacious enough for your cat to stand up, turn around and lie down in with relative ease.
It doesn’t matter if your cat is a nervous traveller or not. If he doesn’t have enough space, he’s going to get stressed.
Investing in a large enough cat carrier is going to help ensure comfort and hopefully keep the stress levels to a minimum.
The carrier should also have ample ventilation to allow for proper airflow which in turn will help keep your cat cool during the journey.
Multiple Entry Points
A carrier with multiple entry points, such as a top-loading option, will make it easier for you to access your cat for comforting, feeding and also transition.
You won’t want to be moving the carrier around to get at your cat, especially if the carrier is harnessed in place.
Attachment Points/Loops for Seatbelts
Opt for a cat carrier featuring secure closures to keep your cat safe during the trip.
Products with built-in attachment points or loops for seatbelts are a good idea too.
Ideally, you’ll want to securely fasten the carrier in your vehicle.
* Remember to familiarize your cat with the carrier before the trip. Place it in your home and encourage your cat to explore and spend time inside. This will help your cat feel more comfortable and relaxed during the actual journey.
Where to Buy Travel-Friendly Cat Carriers
Travel Litter Boxes for Car Journeys with Your Cat
Travel litter boxes are portable, easy-to-use litter solutions designed specifically for cats during travel.
Compact and lightweight they can be easily set up inside your vehicle or at rest stops, ensuring your cat has a comfortable and familiar place in which to expel.
You’ve basically got two options here – either go with a foldable litter box or a disposable one.
Foldable litter boxes are made from lightweight, waterproof materials and are easy to pack and set up when needed.
Disposable litter boxes are also good options – suitable for one-time use, they can be discarded after your trip.
Maintaining Cleanliness During Your Cat’s Car Journey
Maintaining cleanliness during a long car journey with your cat is going to make for a far more pleasant trip.
Your cat’s dignity is going to be maintained while also ensuring that you won’t be overcome by nasty whiffs while driving.
We strongly recommend you consider taking some of the following items with you.
Litter Box Liners and Extra Litter
Using liners for the travel litter box will make cleaning a far more manageable experience.
You’ll also be able to keep your car’s interior clean thereby avoiding a visit to your local valet.
Also be sure to pack extra litter during the trip – you really, really don’t want to run out.
Litter Scoop and Disposable Bags
To further aid with litter box cleaning, bring a scoop and disposable bags to dispose of used litter.
Pet-friendly cleaning wipes are extremely helpful for quick cleanups, such as wiping your cat’s paws, face or coat, not to mention your car’s upholstery.
Absorbent Pads or Towels
As most owners will attest, surfaces underneath litter boxes often become damp or stained.
With this firmly in mind, you’re going to want to invest in some absorbant pads or towels:
Placing absorbent pads or towels beneath the litter box or on the car seat will help protect your car interior from dampness and spillages.
Odor Eliminators and Air Fresheners
Odors emanating from your cat’s litter box are a strong possibility, not matter how diligent you are in keeping things clean.
So bring along some pet-safe odor eliminators or air fresheners to neutralize unpleasant smells during the car journey with your cat.
Opt for natural or unscented products to avoid irritating your cat’s sensitive nose.
Hand Sanitizers and Paper Towels
Keeping litter boxes clean while also handling cat food or treats aren’t the most hygienic of activities.
Therefore keep a hand sanitizer and paper towels on hand for personal hygiene and quick cleanups.
Have a designated trash bag to dispose of used litter, wipes and other waste that will no doubt get generated during a long car journey with your cat.
By preparing these items and being proactive with cleanliness, you can ensure a more comfortable and enjoyable cat car journey.
Where to Buy Travel Friendly Litter Boxes/Accessories
Food and Water Accessories
It’s going to be really important to keep your cat well-fed and hydrated during your journey – the following items are essential travel accessories for cats.
Collapsible Food and Water bowls
These lightweight, compact bowls can be easily folded and stored when not in use, making them ideal for travel and for keeping your cat well-fed and hydrated. Once you’re done, just stow them away.
No-Spill Water Bottles and Bowls
Designed to prevent leaks and spillages, no-spill feeding bottlers and bowls keep your car clean and your cat hydrated.
A lot of no-spill water bottles typically feature a ball-bearing or vacuum-sealed mechanism in the spout.
This only releases water when your pet licks or pushes against it, thus helping to prevent water from dripping or leaking when not in use.
Other models include raised or tapered edges to keep water contained, while others feature floating or weighted inserts.
Travel-Friendly Food Storage Containers
To keep your cat’s food fresh and free from contaminants, bring along an air-tight food storage container.
Easy to clean, portable and durable, you’ll be able to simplify feeding times, doing away with the need for a tin opener as well as reducing your trash.
Just fill the container up with your cat’s food before you leave and store it in your car until needed.
Some travel food containers also come with built-in portion control features, including measuring marks or separate compartments – very helpful for measuring out the correct amount of food.
Comfort and Calming Aids
Ensuring comfort is going to be big priority when you take your cat with you on your travels.
You’ve got a couple of options here.
Cat Travel Beds and Blankets
Cats thrive in familiar environments, so try to offer familiarity and security by providing a comfortable travel bed along with the cat’s usual blanket/bedding.
This can go a long way in alleviating anxiety. Also find a cozy, secluded spot in the car that’s shielded from the sun or any drafts.
Calming sprays and can help alleviate mild anxiety during long car journeys.
Keep in mind though that if Tiddles is freaking out, it won’t matter how much you use.
Lightly mist the spray on a blanket, towel, travel bed or litter box approximately 15-30 minutes before putting your cat in the car.
Keeping your cat occupied during the journey will help to avoid anxiety, especially those filled with catnip.
These products are known to have a calming and soothing effect on many cats.
However, it’s worth testing your cat’s response to one before introducing it on the car journey – not all cats react positively to catnip with some even becoming agitated.
Where to buy Comfort/Calming Aids
Considering all of the items required for a stress free car journey for cats, it’s kind of easy to forget about the actual transition from vehicle to final location.
While cat carriers are perfectly fine, you might want to consider leaving it in the car, especially if it’s securely strapped in.
Cat backpacks provide a convenient alternative. Lightweight and easy to carry, they keep cats safely enclosed while providing them with good visibility.
The latter is pretty important – after such a long car journey, you’re cat is going to want to check out his surroundings properly!
Thorough planning and preparation is important if you’re going to travel long-distance with your cat.
By equipping yourself with the essential cat travel accessories outlined in this article, you’ll go a long way in creating a comfortable and stress-free experience for both of you!
Highly-Rated Travel Accessories for Cats
Frequently Asked Questions about Car Travel with Cats
Q – How do I prepare my cat for long travel?
A – To prepare your cat for long travel, gradually acclimatize them to their carrier, harness, or backpack by allowing them to explore and spend time inside it at home. Ensure your cat has up-to-date vaccinations and has a microchip or identification tag. Consult your vet for advice on managing motion sickness or anxiety and establish a plan for feeding and hydration during the trip.
Q – How do you carry a cat while travelling?
A – Carry your cat in a well-ventilated, secure and comfortable carrier or backpack, or harness and leash. Always handle the carrier gently and securely to minimize stress.
Q – How long can a cat travel without peeing?
A – Cats can typically hold their bladder for 8-12 hours. But it’s best to provide opportunities for your cat to use the litter box every 4-6 hours during a trip to minimize stress and discomfort.
Q – How stressful is travelling for cats?
Traveling can be stressful for cats, given that they’re sensitive to changes in their environment. Although it varies between individual cats, stress can be managed by preparing your cat for travel, providing comfortable and familiar items, offering ample food and water and using calming products.
Q – Should I cover my cats carrier when travelling?
Covering your cat’s carrier with a light blanket or towel can help create a sense of security and reduce visual stimuli. However, ensure that the carrier remains well-ventilated. Also take care to monitor your cat’s behavior – not all felines appreciate having their carrier covered.
Q – How long can a cat travel in a car?
The duration a cat can comfortably travel in a car depends on the individual cat and how well they tolerate travel. Some are able to handle trips lasting several hours, while others may become stressed during shorter journeys.
It’s therefore essential to keep a close eye on your cat’s behavior and comfort, taking breaks as needed.
Q – Should I feed my cat before a road trip?
Feed your cat a small meal 3-4 hours before the road trip to minimize the risk of motion sickness and vomiting. Provide water and small amounts of food during the trip, following your veterinarian’s recommendations for feeding during travel.