Most pet owners know how to travel with a dog, but feline friends are often left with pet sitters when owners go on vacation. Traveling with cats isn’t impossible, though, and there are plenty of reasons that you may want or need to travel with your cats. Moving to a new house, going on a road trip, or taking regular hiking adventures are all common activities that cats can join you on.
For multi-cat households, making sure both your cats are comfortable while you travel can be a challenge. So, we put together these tips and tricks to help you prepare for your trip, whether you’re traveling by airplane, moving to a new house, road-tripping in an RV, or even traveling with two cats and a dog. Let’s get started!
Preparing for a Trip
1. Accessible Clean Water
No matter how long your trip is, clean water is one of the most important things that your cat will need access to. While it might not be wise to leave a bowl of water in their carrier while you’re driving, you should take regular breaks and give them water to keep them hydrated.
Bear in mind that they’ll also need to use the litter tray at some point. If you can’t let your cat out of their carrier when you take a break, you can put a litter tray in their carrier with them. Make sure you check it regularly to see if you need to clean it out.
2. Disposable Litter Boxes
Unlike dogs, which are happy to do their business during walks around rest stops, it’s safer to keep your cats confined to their carriers for most of the trip. They will need somewhere to go to the bathroom, though, and even pet-friendly hotels won’t cater to their toilet needs for you.
Fortunately, you don’t need to carry bulky litter trays around, as there are various disposable or collapsible litter trays that you can use in your car, RV, or pet-friendly hotel. If you’re traveling with two cats, it’s best to have at least two litter trays. For cramped RVs, you can get away with only having one if you clean the litter out regularly and ensure that your cats don’t bully each other when they try to use it.
3. Leash Training
House cats don’t get many chances to explore like their outdoor-loving counterparts, and active cats can get grumpy if they’re cooped up for too long. Leash training enables you to take your cats on walks around rest stops or RV parks. Make sure you use a harness and leash designed for cats, and take the time before your trip to get your cat used to the new item.
You should also be cautious of busy rest stops or RVs moving around the parks that you stay at. Loud noises may startle your cat during adventures outside, especially in unfamiliar areas.
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Finding the right cat collar can be tricky with so many options on the market. Our favorite is the Hepper Breakaway Collar, a durable hemp collar with adjustable slip-locks, a reliable quick-release buckle, and an included jingle bell to keep your local wildlife safe. This collar is stylish and practical, perfect for any cat!
At Excited Cats, we’ve admired Hepper for many years and decided to take a controlling ownership interest so that we could benefit from the outstanding designs of this cool cat company!
On the road, keeping your cats comfortable is essential. During the journey, this means placing their favorite blankets in their carriers and taking regular breaks for water, using the litter tray, or cleaning up any bouts of carsickness.
How you prepare for the journey can also make your travels simpler. Make sure your cat views their carrier as a safe spot, and get them used to car rides. Introduce them to the vehicle when stopped, and take them on short trips around the neighborhood. By slowly building up to longer trips, you’ll help reduce the chances of your cat suffering from carsickness.
5. Up-to-Date Microchips
Even if you take every measure possible to ensure that your cat doesn’t escape during your travels, accidents happen. Cats have a knack for losing their collars, so any contact information on them will be lost too. This is where microchips come in handy.
If your cat doesn’t already have one, make sure you get them microchipped before setting out on the road. Also, ensure that the information on the chip includes everything that someone will need to get in contact with you to get your cat home.
When it comes to traveling with two cats, planning the trip properly is the most important thing that you can do. Before you set out, carefully plan your route. Consider pet-friendly hotels or RV parks, along with rest areas and even the location of emergency veterinary clinics.
Planning can also help you figure out how long you’ll be on the road. You’ll be able to work out how much time you can spare, if any, to give your cats a break from being stuck in their carriers. Only let them out when you’re not driving and when the doors are shut securely.
7. Veterinary Records and Health Certificates
Many places that you can travel to with your cat, whether a different state or another country, have different regulations when it comes to the health of your cat. You can benefit from keeping veterinary records and health certificates within easy reach during short trips too. If you need to go through a border checkpoint, up-to-date medical records can make passing through much easier.
They can also come in handy if your cats escape. While veterinary records won’t help find them, they’ll prove that your cat isn’t feral or a danger to people whom they might encounter.
Leash training is a good way to give house cats a chance to explore the outdoors, but certain felines will always be too skittish for you to rely on the harness and leash. If you spend any amount of time traveling with your cat, especially if you have more than one, a carrier is essential.
A secure carrier will keep your cat safe during a long drive. It’ll also help you cart them from place to place without the risk of losing them if they get scared.
For long road trips, you can give them a chance to explore the car once you’ve stopped at a rest stop, provided that all the car doors are shut. Just remember to put them back in their carrier before you head off or open the car door. Unrestrained animals can be a dangerous distraction while you’re driving.
Tips for Airplanes
9. Call the Airline
Going on car trips or staying in an RV can give you a great deal of control over how you travel with your cats. Flying with your pets is another matter. Different airlines have different regulations for pets in the cabin. Some airlines will let you keep two cats in one carrier, while others will only allow one per passenger unless the cats are kittens between certain ages.
The easiest way to figure out whether you can fly with two cats is by asking the airline directly. Double-check which carriers are acceptable and how many cats you can take on board. Be prepared to change your travel plans if you can’t find an airline that is affordable and allows you to keep both cats with you while you travel.
Tips for Moving to a New House
10. Load Last and Unload First
Relocating — whether it’s a house move or a camping trip — is always a hassle. The best idea here is to ensure that your cats spend the minimum amount of time possible in their carriers. They’ll be in them for a while regardless, but the less time they spend waiting around, the less irritable they’ll be.
When you pack your belongings into your car, leave plenty of space for both cat carriers. Keep your cats in a secure room while you pack up, and once you’re ready to go, load them into their carriers and put them in the car. Once you arrive at your destination, the carriers should be the first things that you remove from the car. This goes for stays in pet-friendly hotels too.
11. Let Them Out in a Secure Room
Your arrival at your new house should be part of your planning, especially when you’re moving with cats. After unloading your cats, put them in a secure room, and set up any water and food dishes, along with their litter tray and a few familiar blankets and toys. Once both cat carriers are in the room, the cats can come out and explore their new surroundings.
You can also use this trick for any pet-friendly hotels if you need to make multiple trips to the car for your luggage. If the hotel lets you leave cats unattended, let them stretch their legs in the bathroom while you grab everything that you need from your car.
Tips for RV Trips
12. Get Them Used to Indoor Living
If your cats are used to exploring outside, it’ll be difficult to convince them to stay in your RV full time. You also run the risk of losing them somewhere during the trip if you let them out on their own at any parks that you visit.
To counter this, it’s best to get your cats used to being house cats. Less-active breeds are the easiest to work with here because they’ll be happier to curl up and nap rather than explore. However, with plenty of indoor activities, your energetic feline can be taught to love indoor life too.
This process should start a few weeks before your planned trip, so you don’t have to teach them to stay inside while you’re on the road.
13. Go to Pet-Friendly RV Parks
RVs are homes away from home. You can keep any number of pets inside that you like. Many RV parks do welcome pets, but some have stipulations on how many pets they allow at any one time and on what type of pet. While one RV park might accept cats and dogs, another might prefer dogs only.
If you don’t have another choice, you might get away with having multiple cats in canine-only RV parks if the cats never leave your RV. This isn’t a good idea if you want to take your feline for a walk around the park, though.
When you plan your trip, check the rules at the RV parks that you plan to stay at, to make your stay more pleasant.
14. Start Young
The younger your cat is when you start road-tripping with them, the easier it’ll be to get them used to the routine, especially if you’re planning on living in an RV full time or you take regular trips. Younger cats will also find it easier to adjust if they’ve had fewer trips to a veterinarian to associate road trips with.
You can travel with older cats too, but make sure you spend more time getting them used to the RV or road trips in general before you start your vacation. Making sure they associate road trips with something good instead of a trip to the vet will help them settle into their new routine.
15. Take Regular Breaks
If you don’t spend your entire vacation camped out in one RV park, you’ll spend most of the time on the road. Taking regular breaks is important for you and for your cats. Make note of rest stops along your way, and stop regularly. Stopping for lunch or a bathroom break or just to stretch your legs will give you a chance to check on your cats too.
You can even let your cats out of their carriers for a bit. Even if you don’t let them outside, you can keep the car doors shut and give them a chance to explore. Remember to make sure they’re back in their carriers before you set off again.
Tips for Multi-Pet Traveling
16. Personal Space
If you are traveling with a dog and two cats, knowing how to keep the peace between all three animals is worth knowing. If you’re in an RV, creating a dog- or cat-only spot can make the fur-flying altercations less common.
For cats, this can be as simple as a basic cat tree in front of a window. You’ll be able to feed them on the higher perches, and the extra height will let them stay out of your dog’s way.
During long car rides, keeping your dog away from the cat carriers can help too. While your canine might think that they’re helping by sticking their noses through the bars, your cat might not appreciate having their space invaded, especially during a stressful move.
Traveling with pets is a challenge, but it can save time and money when it comes to hiring pet sitters. You might not be able to travel with your two cats the same way that you can with dogs, but they can enjoy a road trip just as much. Give both felines plenty of time to adjust to the car and to driving around the neighborhood before taking your trip.
Keep them both restrained in separate carriers while you’re driving, and take plenty of breaks to make sure they’re as comfortable as possible.
Featured Image Credit: Creative Cat Studio, Shutterstock
- Preparing for a Trip
- Tips for Airplanes
- Tips for Moving to a New House
- Tips for RV Trips
- Tips for Multi-Pet Traveling