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CAT / training & behavior

How to Travel Safely With Your Cat

Keep kitty content on the road or in the air


Have cat? Plan to travel? Though most cats aren’t as portable as dogs tend to be, a little advance planning will help ensure your feline gets where you’re going with minimum of stress.

For anyone traveling with a cat:

  • Call ahead of time to make sure cats are allowed at any hotels where you’ll be staying. If you’re visiting (or renting) someone’s home, be sure the owners aren’t allergic to cats.
  • Check with your vet well before the trip. Your cat may need certain shots, especially if you will be traveling outside the U.S. Ask your vet for a current health certificate you can bring with you as proof that your cat is up-to- date on all vaccinations.
  • Do not travel with your cat unless he or she is healthy.
  • Remember to bring your cat’s regular food and treats. Bring a litter box or arrange for one at your destination. A crate pad, some familiar toys and a blanket will help make your cat comfortable and will be a reminder of home.
  • Provide plenty of water and make sure your cat stays hydrated while traveling.

Traveling by car with a cat

  • Never let cats roam free in your vehicle; they can get startled or distracted and cause accidents. A carrier is a must at all times. Choose a hard-sided carrier just big enough for your cat to stand, lie down and turn around in. Secure the carrier in the backseat with a seatbelt.
  • Never leave a cat in a warm vehicle, not even with the windows down. If you get out of the car, bring your cat — in the carrier — with you.

Traveling by plane with a cat

  • Check well ahead of time to be sure the airline will let you fly with your cat in the main cabin, and ask what size and type of carrier you’ll need.
  • If your cat absolutely must travel in the plane’s cargo hold, clear it with your vet first. Do not travel in very hot or cold weather; the cargo area in a plane may not be climate-controlled.
  • Tag your cat’s carrier with your name, phone number and address (both your home address and the address of your destination), in case your pet is lost or misplaced in transit.
  • Do not give your cat a tranquilizer. Vets say it can affect the animal’s body temperature and blood pressure while in the air.
  • Try not to feed your cat just before flying. (Cats have trouble opening the airsickness bag.)
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