Having a Successful Vacation with your Cat: Keep it Safe and Simple

With summer right on top of us, many of us may be making our vacations plans to take advantage of some well-needed time off. However, since many of us consider our kitties to be part of the family perhaps the thought of not having the company of our beloved kitties is unbearable. In fact, some of us may be thinking about taking them along on their vacation.

Vacation with your cat

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If bringing your cat with you is included in your vacation plans, there will be several decisions you will have to make, depending on your destination, how far you will be traveling and what means of transportation you will be using. Since air travel with cats can be quite complicated, personally, I don’t recommend it. I think that traveling by car (if at all possible) is far simpler.

Naturally, you want to make your kitty’s “getaway” time as safe and secure as possible. I can’t imagine anything more distressing than losing a kitty while you are traveling. To help your kitty to have a fun and positive vacation experience with you, here are a few simple suggestions:

For a couple of week prior to traveling make sure that your kitty is “carrier-proof”. Leave the carrier open in an area that your cat enjoys. In the carrier place a favorite toy along with some tempting treats. When your cat seems comfortable in the carrier, close it and walk around the house with your cat inside the carrier. After a few minutes, release the cat and give her a favorite treat. After a few days of lengthening the time your cat is in the carrier, put her in the carrier and drive around the neighborhood. Always follow these short excursions offering her that favorite treat.

Take along a litter box with which your cat is familiar, litter, toys and her favorite food. It is a good idea to include some all meat and broth baby food just in case her appetite is “off”. In your “getaway bag” include paper towels, cloth towels, cleaning supplies, a First Aid Kit and a list of veterinarians in the area to which you will be visiting. Being prepared for emergencies certainly helps to prevent stress and anxiety should accidents or illnesses occur.

Also include health certificates, a rabies certificate and other pertinent paper work. Make sure that your cat is wearing an identification tag. If your cat is not accustomed to a collar or harness, several weeks in advance of the trip, get your kitty used to wearing them. On the ID tag, be sure to include a phone number where you may be reached. Consider microchipping your kitty, since it can help you to be reunited with your cat even while you are away.

Before making lodging reservations, make sure that any hotel or motel at which you plan to stay is “pet friendly”. You can find a list of “pet-friendly” by visiting Pets Welcome. Be aware that some facilities may require a “pet deposit” to cover any accidental damage to the room.

Never leave your cat in a parked car unattended, even if the air conditioner is running. If the engine stops running, the heated car becomes a death-trap. Cats who get overheated can quickly expire. Even though stops require a little extra planning, it is crucial. Always keep your cat in her carrier while you are traveling. There is hardly anything more dangerous to both the driver and a curious cat who is exploring under the pedals. Some cats love to perch on the rear window ledge; but this is an accident just waiting to happen.

You can feed your cat a very light meal a couple of hours before your departure. For your cat’s comfort, make several “pit stops” along the way, offering her the litter box during this time. Be sure to supervise her during the stop and be certain that all the car doors are securely closed.

With these few safety tips as a guide, you can expect to have a fun-filled vacation, with the added pleasure of your beloved cat accompanying you.

Since some folks do prefer leaving their cats at home while they are on vacation; in a future article we will be featuring a discussion on this topic.

What are your thoughts about taking your cat with you on vacation? Share them in a comment.




Photo credit: 1Funny.com

9 thoughts on “Having a Successful Vacation with your Cat: Keep it Safe and Simple”

  1. when we go away on vacation we leave the cats at home. we’re usually not gone for more than 4 days but i do have pet sitters, none the less.

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  2. I lost my cat sitter this year. He moved and is no longer accessible for daily care. He was one in a million. I may have to up the ante to get him to drive those extra miles…

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    • M E King, I feel for you. Are there any techs at your vet’s office that do cat sitting? I would definitely inquire at the office. Some techs are willing to take care of kitties when their guardians are away. Since I have a chronically ill kitty if we had to leave I would for sure hire one of the remarkable techs that work for our amazing vet. Just a suggestion…..

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      • This time we may well choose to board them at the vet clinic. I will ask to inspect the facility at the end of June when my problem child goes in to have her mouth fixed. Ah that 40 dollar shelter kitty. But she’s worth every cent.
        My vet is 100 mile round trip. The one closest is the vet I sued for killing Kitten. The next closet decent one has the vet tech that scruffed Kitten in the middle of the back. And that very tech came up on one of the lists that have background checks…eh NO.

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  3. We traveled with our 3 young children, 4 dogs and 6 cats. Our vacations were always planned with the pets’ welface and comfort in mind. We had a pickup with camper shell and my husband built benches and put in an old VW van seat in the bed, We also had a small travel trailer. Each animal wore his or her H-harness and leash when going from truck to trailer They were all given ID tags. I had a file box with everyone’s medical records, vaccination records, ID photos-and that includes the kids and ourselves as well. We stopped at campgrounds each night. The kids had games and toys in the camper. Litter boxes and toys for the cats and dogs, and at stops there was food and water for all (kids, too). We had a routine whereby kids, cats and dogs were all taken from truck to trailer. We never lost anyone,and we were all glad to get home. We did this when the kids were small-30 years ago. I don’t think I’d do it today, though. We would never take the pets into Mexico, although we did go into Canada once. That was an experience I never want to relive. Thank heaven all kids and pets were extremely well-behaved.

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  4. Although friends do travel with their cats, successfully, I not only do not, my family and I have never been vacation-takers (different socio-economic background, by far!) so this doesn’t apply. Good suggestions for those so fortunate, though, and a great picture!

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  5. Michael,

    When we moved to Florida from New York, since we had just the right car, we had the room to put a huge dog cage in the back seat area (put the back seats down flush to the floor). Marty drove Sir Hubble and Dr. Hush Puppy (then one year old kitties)to our new location. The cage was a great idea- had litter box, scratching post, and we lined the bottom with soft towels. They sang to him for the entire trip, but they had lots of room to move around in safety. When Marty made stops he offered them a little food, but gave them their main meals in the motel. He never left them in the car unsupervised, using drive- through fast food restaurants so he could be in the car with them all the time he was traveling. They had lots of fun in the pet-friendly motel rooms too!

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    • Thanks for that Jo. I think the large dog cage is a good idea and I am pleased it worked for you. I have not tried it but plan to travel up north and thought it might work for Gabriel.

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  6. Thanks for this Jo. Would you recommend allowing your cat out of the carrier when travelling long distances in a car? Or perhaps getting one of the dog cages that fits into the entire rear area of a car to allow a cat to move around a bit?

    I have taken my cat on vacation two times. Once to Ireland! A long way. We had two cats. We let them roam around the car. The lady cat slept on the dashboard and the boy slept on the rear shelf against the rear widow. It worked out fine.

    You just have to make sure they don’t end up down at the pedals!

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