If you are planning on traveling with your cat, you may have questions about how to do that without stress. Today, the Stoney Pointe Pet Hospital vets explain the best way to travel with a cat, without stress.

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 critical factor to consider is whether your cat is up to date on their vaccines and parasite prevention. Different states have different regulations regarding pet vaccines, but in most states, keeping your pet's rabies vaccine up to date is the law. So, make an appointment with your veterinarian before you leave so that your cat's core vaccines are up to date, your cat is vaccinated against any lifestyle diseases that are common in the area you're visiting, and any parasites can be treated or prevented.

Do cats like to travel? Should I travel with my cat?

There are various things to consider and prepare for depending on your mode of transportation and the length of the journey. We'll go over how to travel with a cat by car, plane, and even train or ship in the sections below. 

How to Travel With a Cat in a Car

Purchase a Suitable Cat Carrier

Cats are generally uneasy in cars and should be transported in a carrier for their and your safety. To prevent the carrier from bouncing around and injuring your cat, use a seat belt to secure it.

Don't Put Your Cat in the Front Seat

Even if your pet is in a carrier, the deployment of airbags in the front seat can be hazardous to your pet; therefore, it is best to keep your cat's carrier restrained in the back seat(s) of your vehicle.

Keep Your Cat's Head Inside the Vehicle

If your cat's head is sticking out the window, they are at risk of being hit by debris or having their lungs damaged by the cold air. Never transport your cat in the back of an open pick-up truck.

Bring a Human Designated to Care for Them

It is preferable if a human is present to monitor and comfort your cat while riding in the back seat. This will make your cat feel more at ease during the journey.

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 poses a significant health risk. Heat is dangerous to pets, and what seems like a short time for you could be an eternity for your feline companion. When it's 72 degrees outside, the temperature inside your car can quickly rise to 116 degrees. Even with the windows slightly open on an 85-degree day, 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's 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 avoiding it if at all possible. Driving is usually preferable to flying. There may be boarding options available that will allow your cat to relax in a home away from home.

Chose an Airline that Will Allow Your Cat in the Cabin

Many airlines will allow you to fly with your cat in the cabin with you, for an additional fee. 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

Many trains allow pets and service animals. You must check with the railway to see if pets are permitted on your train journey. If they are, then the same rules that apply when traveling with a cat in a car apply. Passengers will be required to exercise and feed their cat(s) at station stops.

How to Travel with a Cat on a Ship

Many trains allow pets and service animals. You must check with the railway to see if your pet is permitted on the train. If they are, the same rules apply as when traveling in a car with a cat. At station stops, passengers will be required to exercise and feed their cat(s).

Need to find boarding for your cat? Feel free to contact our Rochester vets with any questions you may have.