13 Things to Pack when Traveling with Your Cat

Do you like traveling? Do you have a cat? Traveling with your kitty makes those days away from home more adventurous and fun! Whether you want to enjoy the outdoors or visit friends, don’t let your furry baby miss out on all the fun. 

But there are lots of mistakes that you can make when traveling with your cat. Your fun adventure could end up frustrating if you forget to pack some of the necessities. We are here to help. Here’s a list of 13 things not to forget to pack before you leave.

Traveling with a Cat
Photo by Chewy on Unsplash

1.  Litter box

Of course, you’ll need a litter box. When she’s gotta go, she’s gotta go! You could opt to carry her litter box, but that could be bulky. Alternatively, try a portable litter box or a disposable one or two. They are lighter, easy to carry, and easy to clean. A portable litter box is also purrfect for long drives. Don’t forget to bring some of your kitty’s favorite litter along as well. Familiar items always make travel easier.

2. Other Toiletries

The litter box is only but one essential toiletry for your kitty. Here’s are other toiletries to include in the list:

  • Litter scoop
  • Plastic grocery bags. They make excellent travel poopy bags. Plus, it’s a great way to recycle!
  • Big trash bags. Carry a few; you will need somewhere to put the disposable litter box. 
  • A small hand broom and dustpan. 

3. Food

Although your kitty’s surroundings will change, your kitty’s food should not. Changing a diet can cause digestional upset which is unpleasant for both of you. Treats can help a kitty who hesitates to eat during travel, as many of them do. They also can be a reward for good behavior. Remember, you are going on a fun-filled adventure together. Rewards are inevitable.

Make sure you carry her favorite canned food and plastic can top. She won’t finish the whole can in one meal, and you’d want to keep the rest safely in the fridge for later. Feeding in portioins also means that you should remember to carry the following items:

4. Water Bowl/Bottle

Since cats don’t drink that often, it is easy to forget about the water bowl/bottle. But it’s crucial. After all, how will kitty rehydrate during the trip? 

Make sure you pack a collapsible water bowl and bring plenty of bottled water.

5. Mats or a Foldable Cardboard 

We may want to say that kitty is purrfect. She doesn’t make a mess on the floor when eating or drinking. But we all know that’s far from true. Spare your host or the hotel staff the frustration. Carry a mat or foldable cardboard to place under the food and water bowls during feeding times. 

6. Harness and Leash

Cats like to explore new environments. They are natural hunters and, unless restrained, they can stray and get lost. There is nothing that can ruin your adventure more than losing your precious pet. Don’t overlook the harness and retractable leash when packing, especially if your cat doesn’t like to be held. It could be the best item you included in the travel list when traveling with your cat. (see more on protecting your cat from loss below)

Cat on a leash
Photo by Zo Gayah Jonker on Unsplash

7. Safety During Travel

Are you planning to travel by plane? Check with the airline for airline compliant cat carriers. An airline cargo hold is a scary place for a cat. Some airlines are pet friendly allow you to fly with your cat in the cabin in a carrier that fits under the seat in front of you. Of course, your cat must be in a high-quality carrier. But it’s much better than flying in the cargo hold. 

Related: Steps to acclimate your cat to a cat carrier

Remember to check with the airline on their pet policy before making plans.

A high-quality carrier can also come in handy for long road trips. But pet safety during auto travel is a lot more complicated. For your cat’s safety (and your safety as well) your cat should be restrained when traveling in a car. A sudden stop at slow speeds can send your kitty flying. Better to ride in a crate, carrier or harness.

Remember to pack a pet sling or backpack with ventilation for your pit stops. Never leave a pet alone in a parked car. Even with the windows cracked, temperatures can climb quickly and put your pet in harm’s way.

8. Napping 

High-quality carriers also often double up as cat beds. If you can, carry something your cat is familiar with such as a cat cave, a comfy bed, or a pillow for her comfort while at the destination. Also, carry one of her blankets. It will have a familiar scent and help your cat get comfortable with their new surroundings. 

9. Grooming Supplies

Cats get stressed when they travel and shed more when they are tense. Besides, all the travel and eating while on the go could cause her to look like a mess. Kitty may need a little help with grooming. So carry along a brush, cat shampoo, and a lint roller. If you want to learn more about grooming your cat as well as cat habits, diseases and taking better care of your cat, you could also consider taking a cat grooming course.

10. Your Cat’s Favorite Toys

Put one or two of your cat’s favorite toys on the packing list. They will help to keep the little kitty entertained while away from home. If you plan on a road trip, take time to stop and play with your cat. They need to get those muscles moving to counter the fatigue involved with limited movement.

11. Medication, Medical Records, and Veterinary Contacts

Does your kitty take medication? If yes, be sure to pack enough supplies and take a photo of the prescription and store it in the cloud or on your cellphone for easy reference. Make a list of veterinarians and veterinary hospitals in along your route or in your destination area. Note their addresses, operating hours, and telephone contacts. It will save you a ton of trouble and frustration if there’s an emergency and your kitty has to see a veterinarian.

12. Pack a Pet First Aid Kit when Traveling with a Cat

When we talk about emergencies, a first aid kit must be nearby. Be prepared to handle emergencies before you get to the vet. You could opt to buy one or fix one up from supplies you already have at home. Just make sure it has the following items:

  • Gauze
  • Non-stick Bandages
  • Hydrogen Peroxide
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Rectal thermometer
  • Blunt end scissors
  • Petroleum jelly
  • A syringe
  • Eyewash

13. Identification and Paperwork 

Lastly, don’t even think about leaving home without your cat’s identification and paperwork. Ensure that you fit the cat with a collar with an ID tag and a vaccine tag. Better than an ID tag, get your cat a microchip. A microchip is a great way to uniquely identify your cat and can help to reunite you if it gets lost. When you register your information in the manufacturer’s database, animal control agencies will be able to contact you if your kitty is lost. Before you leave, check the details registered with the chip company, and ensure they include a cell phone number you’ll have access to on the journey!

If you are crossing state lines, carry a copy of your cat’s health certificate and rabies certificates.

Traveling with a cat can be fun. Ensure that you include the above items in your packing list. That way, both you and the kitty will enjoy the time away from home. In case you have to leave her home on short notice, learn what to do to make her feel comfortable.

Emila is a freelance journalist and blogger with a love for those with four legs! She has grown up around animals and pets and wants to use her knowledge on pet behavior, training, and lifestyle tips to help other pet parents live the best possible life with their furry friends.



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