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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 cat isn’t easy. Whether you’re headed across town or across the country, take time to prepare and plan ahead.

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.
  • Also ask your veterinarian about anti-anxiety medications, supplements, or calming pheromone sprays that may benefit a nervous cat during travel. (Always consult your veterinarian before medicating anxious cats.)
  • Make sure your cat is microchipped and registered.
  • 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 treats or 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.
  • Bring food, treats and portable dishes for road trips and a litter box for long journeys.
  • 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.
  • Secure the carrier in the car with a seatbelt. And don’t let your cat roam around the car while you’re driving; their movements may be distracting and dangerous.

While you travel:

  • If you’re driving, take frequent breaks to offer water and allow your cat to use the litter box. Keep a leash handy and be extra careful to ensure your cat doesn’t escape from the car and run away.