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CAT / new pets

How to Travel with Cats

Tips for safe travels with your feline friend, from a PetSmart expert.


Traveling with a nervous cat isn’t easy. Preparation and planning ahead can help make a trip more successful, whether you’re headed across town or across the country.

At least 10 days before the trip:

  • Contact your veterinarian to make sure your cat’s vaccinations are up-to-date and that your cat is healthy enough to travel. Always take a copy of your pet’s medical records with you.
  • Always consult a vet before medicating anxious cats. Medication is not recommended for air travel.
  • Make sure your cat is microchipped.
  • Confirm that your travel destination is cat-friendly.

A few days before the trip:

  • Clearly label your cat’s carrier with your contact information.
  • Leave the carrier out for your cat to see, so it’s not completely new on travel day.
  • Put your cat’s bed in the carrier, which will help send the message, “this is a safe place.”
  • Trim your cat’s claws. Anxious cats may scratch people while traveling.

Right before you leave:

  • Be sure your cat is wearing a collar and an ID tag.
  • Get your cat into the carrier. If they resist, try turning the carrier onto its back end and gently lowering your kitty in, hind legs first. It may help to have another person help guide your cat’s back legs in.

While you travel:

  • If you’re driving, take frequent breaks so your cat can use the litter box.
  • Make sure your cat stays hydrated.

Dr. Robyn Jaynes is PetSmart Director of Veterinary Services and a pet care expert.