Travel with cats does not have to be a disaster. Cats travel by car well if conditioned to it in advance of long trips. These tips will make travel easier on you and your cat, and will guarantee future invitations for you and your cat to visit again.
1. Plan AheadMake sure your cat will be welcome everywhere you plan to stop. Many hotels and motels allow pets, so do your homework first, and find out the rules, before planning your itinerary.
You don't want to expose your cat to any more risks than necessary, so make sure his shots are current before travelling. It would be also be a good time to ask your veterinarian if she recommends a mild tranquilizer if your cat is particularly nervous about travelling. Be sure to bring a health certificate and proof of vaccination with you -- you may need both when travelling through some states.
3. Rehearse Travel at HomeA 500 mile or more trip is not the occasion to test your cat's travelability. Accustom her to her carrier by letting her sleep in it, then take her on increasingly longer local drives well in advance of your trip. Make travel a fun occasion, with plenty of rewards, and your cat will soon be a seasoned veteran at travel.
Invest in a good harness with securely attached ID tags. Include your name, address, phone number, as well as contact info for your vet. Leave your itinerary with your veterinarian in case they should receive a call that your cat has been found. Tattooing and microchipping are a plus. With his harness and a leash, you can take your cat out to stretch his legs on rest stops.
Cats should never be allowed to wander freely inside an automobile. Frightened cats invariably head straight for the foot pedals. Kitty will be much more comfortable in her own carrier, with a blanket and toy inside. Try a sturdy metal crate with a solid bottom, or if you plan later to fly with kitty, one of the soft-sided carriers made for in-cabin use. Both are available in most pet stores.
6. Bring the NecessitiesFor continuity in your cat's routine, bring a supply of his regular food and water. A large thermos full of ice cubes is a plus in warm weather. Pack separate dishes for food and water, a litter pan, litter and scooper, along with litter disposal bags. Don't forget toys and bedding. By planning well in advance and covering all the bases, you and your cat will ensure future invitations.