Traveling With Cats – What You Need to Make It Go Smoothly

Traveling with pets is always a bit of a hassle, but traveling with cats is something else entirely. Most cats are creatures of comfort, they like their homes and like to be in places that they know. However, just because they’re not natural seekers of travel, it doesn’t mean you can’t travel with a cat. Traveling with cats is quite possible. However, it is going to require a little extra planning.

traveling with cats - woman with a cat in a backpack

Unless you happen to have very good luck, you can’t wing it when it comes to traveling with cats. Most areas of your trip are going to have to receive more attention. Between regulations covering taking them to different places, inoculations, and even finding accommodation, there is a lot to do. While plenty of people might think that traveling with a pet has to be expensive, there are ways you can travel with your cat and keep costs down.

If you opt to leave your cat at home, then traveling and cats still have a bit of conflict. You’ll need to decide what it is that you’re going to do with your cat. There are plenty of options for cat caretaker for a trip. You’ll have to choose between a friend, hiring someone, sending your cat somewhere to be looked after, or someone dropping in at home to check in on your pet. While cats can survive on their own for a night, they can’t be left unattended for extended periods of time.  There is a lot to consider when it comes to traveling with cats.

What to Do with Your Cat When You Travel

 The main decision you have to make is if your cat should stay or go? This is a decision that is different for every pet owner, and for the circumstances. There are a few main things to consider when deciding whether your cat should stay at home or come with you.

Traveling With Cats - cat in a carry box

How Long Are You Going to be Away?

If your trip is only for a weekend, bringing your cat isn’t as much of a priority. However, if your trip is for a few weeks then you might have to have a bigger think about things.


Some places are going to make travelling and cats a more natural combination. If you’re visiting relatives or somewhere that is only a car drive away, it isn’t going to be much trouble to bring your pet along with you. Although a trip in a plane might be a bit harder. On top of that, really long haul flights can make things very complicated for bringing a pet. You have to keep this in mind.

Your Cat’s Age and Health

The age and health of your cat is going to be a factor when you’re deciding to bring them or not. A young cat might not deal with travelling very well. Equally, an older cat might be good without the hassle of moving from place to place. If your cat has a health condition this can seriously complicate your travel plans.

Traveling to Other Countries

Different countries have different regulations for which pets can and cannot enter. In blocks of free movement like the EU, this isn’t as much of a worry. However, if you’re going to need a visa then you need to research pet requirements. Your cat may have to be up to date with vaccinations that aren’t standard where you’re from. Different areas have different types of pet diseases flying around, a pet that isn’t prepared may not fare well.

How to Get Around When Traveling with Cats

If you’ve decided to travel with your pet, then you need to start looking at the practicalities of doing so. While accommodation is a concern, you first have to actually get there. How you take your cat with you is going to vary depending on how you’re travelling.

Traveling With Cats

Traveling with Cats by Car

If you’re going by car with a cat, things aren’t too complicated. The most important thing will be to get a good quality cat carrier. This will help to keep your pet safe, secure, and comfy throughout a car ride. You should pick one that will suit the type of journey you’re making. It needs to be appropriate for your cat to spend some time in if you’re going for a while. Equally, you need to prepare for the weather. Ensure it isn’t too hot if you live somewhere with good weather, or warm enough if your car is going to get a bit chilly. Remember to allow fresh air into the car a bit more often for your cat.

quality cat carrier for travel
Cat carrier – View on Amazon

If you’re going for a long time in a car, you need to make some stops. Getting out of the car to stretch their legs on a leash can be a great way to break up the journey. You should also stick to your normal feeding routines, but be conscious of car sickness that can occur in animals.

Traveling with Cats on a Train

A cat carrier is also going to be a necessity on a train. It needs to be very secure though. The last thing you want is your cat roaming the carriages mid journey. Other passengers might not be as keen on playing with your pet as you are. Make sure you leave some thick pads or newspaper in case your cat has any accidents. You should prepare to either sit near a luggage rack if there is space for a cat carrier to sit comfortably there, or have the cat on your knee if there is not.

Traveling with Cats on a Plane

Planning ahead is going to be a lot more important on a plane. Cats are typically not allowed in the main section of a plane. This means you’re going to have to check with your airline. They will need to be placed in a part of the plane that is heated, pressurised, and appropriate for pets. As long as your pet is allowed on your plane, you will have to follow your airlines directions. They typically want a particular sized carrier. You will also need to give them some pads or line their carrier for the journey. This should preferably be something that minimises odour!

Some pet owners use sedatives when taking their pet on a trip, this is particularly common on planes. Only some tranquillisers are safe for use in planes with the changes in temperature. While your pet will be in a heated area of the plane, it still changes temperature rapidly in different stages. Cats can’t regulate their temperature in the same way as us, and some tranquillisers can get in the way of this. This is something you will have to discuss with your vet if you feel it is an option.

What Items Should I Take With Me When Traveling with a Cat?

When you’re traveling with a cat, there are some essential items that you need to take with you. These are things that will make the journey go a little easier.

  • Water Bottle – A water bottle to dispense some water is essential.
  • Cat Carrier – This is obviously a necessity.
  • Cat Leash and harness – This will be helpful for any form of transport to allow your cat to stretch their legs before they reach their destination.
cat harness
Cat harness View on Amazon
  • Any Medicines that are Needed – This is an essential, for clear reasons.
  • Food and Water Bowls – Your accommodation might not have these available for you.
  • Food – A small amount of your pet’s food will be helpful so they don’t have to switch diet.
  • Treats – Even on a trip, a cat needs a treat every now and again.
  • Litter box and Litter
Imac Zuma Taupe Cat Litter Box
Imac Zuma Taupe Cat Litter Box
View on Amazon
  • Familiar Comfort Items – A blanket or some favourite toys will be helpful for our cat settling into somewhere new.


Finding accommodation when you’re travelling with a pet can be hard. While cats are quite independent, you shouldn’t let them out to explore the new location on their own for their first week somewhere new. You could run the risk of your cat becoming lost in a brand new place. This makes it really important that you find appropriate accommodation for you and your cat.

Hotels and hostels that allow pets will usually advertise this. However, it may take a lot of trial and error before you find one. There are various websites that catalogue pet friendly locations for you. This can be a lot quicker than just checking with individual hotels. Some even allow some more advanced search options, like finding a pet friendly road trip route.

Traveling With Cats

There is also the option of using Airbnb. These are more informal stays in other people’s homes. It is easy to find pet friendly accommodation in most places if you’re happy to go with something more casual like this.

Cat Sitters

If travelling with cats isn’t going to work for your current trip, then you have to find someone to take care of your pet when you’re away. There are a few different options open to you when looking for a pet sitter. Some will fit some trips better than others. While leaving your cat for a while might not sound like the best situation, your cat might have some fun playing with someone new for the week, even if they miss you.

Having a Friend Cat Sit

Having a friend cat sit can be a good option if you know someone who would be willing to do so. If you have a cat friendly friend who wants to do this, you can decide whether your cat will visit their home for the time you’re away or if they will visit yours. If your cat goes to their home while you’re away, ensure that it gets along with their pets.


Another option is to go for a professional cat sitter. This can come in the form of someone visiting your home with your permission to check in on your cat, or putting them in a cattery. This will depend on what you think will suit your cat best. Some pets might enjoy the company that comes with a cattery, and others may prefer staying at home. You should have an idea of which your cat would like based on their personality.

Enjoy your travels!

Travelling with cats doesn’t have to be a headache. While it is more difficult than travelling on your own, it can be also very rewarding. Whether you’re taking your cat with you or leaving them at home, proper planning can help make your trip go smoothly.

traveling with cats -  - travel cat bag

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