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Readers Respond: What was your worst mistake in travel with a cat? What would you do differently?

Responses: 33


From the article: Travel for Cats

Traveling with a cat can be an enjoyable experience, or a nightmare, depending on how well you plan in advance. By accustoming your cat to a carrier well in advance, even an emergency trip to the veterinarian can be accomplished with a minimum of panic.

Share your worst experience in traveling with a cat. Escape from the carrier, "pee accident?" What could you have done differently to avoid this? This is your chance to help other readers learn by your mistakes. Think of this as your own "mini-article" for the About.com Cats site. Questions and replies to other posts will not be published.

travel condo

I travel from NY to Fl with my cat, but not happily. I bought a big dog carrier with room for a bed,litter box ,and food, but she still complains. A warning about hotels, it's all good until you're ready to leave, much like when we leave home, she can sense itand will find the most difficult area to hide in. We have had to move furniture and mattresses, not a fun way to begin the day. I would also recommend using flea meds before traveling, mine is an inside cat( so I don't usually) and they can pick stuff up in hotel rooms.
—Guest katiemacny

Beware of Tranquilisers

I have traveled heaps of times with my cat, both on the plane and in the car, long distances and am about to take him on another cross state move. My vet and my sister (vet nurse) both dont agree with tranquilisers. even if they seem relaxed, the truth is they are paralyzed and cant move or make a noise to let their stress out. It is much better for them to be able to stress it out in their own way, not be even more terrified because they cant.
—Guest Chelsea

Dont travel without catnip

Catnip spray is amazing turns scared cats into happy quiet content cats hardly believable
—Guest Lyn

From MA to AZ With 2 Cats

We drove from MA to central AZ with 2 cats-all went amazingly well. Kitties rested contentedly in their carriers for the most part; periodically, I would let one out to roam inside the vehicle for 10' or so every few hours. The only almost-problem arose when the truck broke down. I had one cat loose in the truck when I stopped; kitty immediately had to rush to the window to see why we were stopping. As he did so, he stepped on the button for the electric window...managed to open it enough so that he COULD have jumped out had I been slower/had he been faster to realize his opportunity! All was well, however-I grabbed him, and my husband and a friend who was making the journey with us was able to take the cats (both in their carriers!) along ahead while I waited for a tow (for 2 hours). Moral of the story: always be VERY conscious of what COULD happen-even if it seems like it never would/could!

Thanks for Sharing

Thanks for sharing this Franny. I am about to move 4500 miles (from Los Angeles to QLD, Australia) with 6 cats!
—Guest Annabella777

No problems

I moved from southern Utah, where I was working at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, to Florida with 4 cats in a Toyota Tercel! A coworker mapped out the route for me as she had driven it many times with her dogs. She told me all the towns with Motel 6's where I could stop for the night. Problem - she didn't tell me there was a 1 pet per room rule, so I had to sneak the 4 carriers into the room, hoping no one was watching. I couldn't afford 4 rooms each night! When checking in, I told the desk clerk I had a cat. I wasn't lying, because I did have a cat, and another, and another... I pre-purchased enough disposable litter boxes for the journey, throwing them in the dumpster each morning before leaving the motel. I packed canned and dry food and bowls, but used the motel water. No problems with that. I kept the "Do not disturb" sign on the door if I had to leave the room. I drove no more than 8 hours per day, so the cats had ample time to eat, drink, and use the litter box.

from Kentucky to Nova Scotia

When I married my husband and moved with him to Nova Scotia, we moved my two cats along with us. We had a 25 ft UHAUL, pulling a trailer that held my car. Inside the cab of the UHAUL, we had 2 carriers, one on top of the other. Our cats, Lily and Rudy did pretty good. We would stop and let them out every so often for the litter boxes. We kept the days short, 8-9 hours and would let them run loose in the hotel rooms at night. But I really was glad when that trip was over.
—Guest diana

Cats continued

Eventually the barking would start. When I would look over Siam was still sitting in front of the tent calmly grooming while the dog barked and circled. As the dog edged closer Siam would carefully wash between his extended claws apparently totally oblivious of the dog. Eventually the dog would get closer and then when he finally would get within Siam's arm reach those claws would flash out and tge killer dog would run off yipping with blood streaming from his sliced nose. Unfortunately Thanksgiving morning we woke up to find that Siam had been vomiting a clear liquid during the night. By the time we finished breakfast he was dead. I am sure that one of the dog owners had poisoned him. Today I have four cats who hate to get in the car. In addition there are three cats who come in through the cat door and chow down. One is a feral male who has not been neutered. I have gotten him to come onto my lap for treats. He allows me to pet him but he does not admit to liking it.
—Guest gldvorak


Over 50 years ago I was too poor and ignorant to have my cats spayed. I had gotten a free black female cat who yowled a Siamese and before long she was pregnant. One of the babies was born pure white and within days the tips of its ears and tail began to darken. I imaginatively named him Siam. He became a most unusual cat! I could talk to him and he would behave appropriately. Siam loved to ride in the car, he would move back and forth between the dash and the rest of the car. If I turned as he was coming through the steering wheel he would simply hang on and spin with the wheel, he ever showed the least bit of fear. In those days we went tent camping and as soon as the gear began to accumulate in the living room Siam would be on top of the pile. At the campground he would mostly sit on the rug in front of the tent, except at mealtime when he was near where the food was being prepared. Invariably someone would come by and say, "You better put your cat away. My dog kills cats."

Trips to the vet

My cat HATES going to the vet. Every time we bring out the carrier, she is out of sight. On the ride down she moans and no doubt is scared out of her mind, but she never has accidents and is pretty cooperative. It helps to put a treat inside the carrier too. We haven't taken a long distance trip with her yet, but we are planning on taking her to florida this summer. Hope it's not a bust!
—Guest allie

Use Care With Tranquilizers

We took our two cats from MI. to FL. in the car. The alpha cat pooped his way to FL. How can one cat hold that much?? We spent much time at gas stations wahing kitty and cage. He was so nuts, I gave him a tranquilizer given to us by our vet. Never again! He went somewhere else and spent the whole day rubbing his head on the metal mesh of his carrier while moaning deep. He suceeded in wearing the fur off one ear and it never grew back. The other cat reached thru his cage and slapped his brother in the face like he was saying, "straighten up you fool!"His pre-pill behavior was preferable, and it didn't slow down the pooping.

Drove 3,000 Miles with 2 cats

I just moved from Dallas Texas to Seattle by car. We drove for 5 days over 3,000 miles with a 2-year old boy Siamese Flame Point and a 5-month old Tortie girl. The Flame rode in his carrier and looked out the window the whole time and whined and generally complained as much as he could. But the Tortie baby rode on my son's lap in her small carrier quietly and looked out the window - she was an angel. I did not know Torties are so tough! At night we would let them run around the hotel room and eat and potty (I limited the driving to 6 hours a day) and by day 5 they hated that car and they still do! I piled theirs with our t-shirts and the scent helped calm them. Plus we stopped every 2-hours and walked them on leashes for 15-20 minutes. So driving with kitties can be done but you MUST have a carrier and leashes with cat harnesses for safety.
—Guest Paula

Poor scrunched-up kitty

I bought my first cat's (Simba's) carrier shortly after I bought him, when he was just a kitten about the size of my shoe. (That's a big shoe, granted!) I didn't take into account the fact that he was going to grow a whole lot bigger! When, after a year and a half, I moved cross-country and had to fly with Simba, I suddenly realized all I had to put him in was the small carrier, which he could still fit into, but he was very cramped. When one person at the airport saw me with Simba in the carrier, he grumbled about how insensitive some pet owners are. I felt really bad. I just didn't know any better, that a cat needs room enough to stand/turn around in a carrier. Now I know better and will make sure I have carriers big enough for my cats at all stages of their lives.

Car Travel with cat

I found a safe and secure way to travel with your cat in the car. I just purchased the Kurgo Skybox Booster Seat, which provides a secure alternative to carrying cases. I have used it twice. No more kitty crying.
—Guest Lucy

Gotta love em

I have 2 6 month kittens one stab and kumo. They sleep in the cat carrier at night because they are hyper beyond belief. Even with them sleeping in the carrier when we go in the car they flip out, they cry and shake. My girlfriend does all she can to make them feel comfy but until they are out of the car they are just not happy kittys!!
—Guest sniggles

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