Traveling with Cats in a Car Long Distance (17 Essential Tips)

How to travel with cats in a car long distance? What are the essential tips for traveling with cats in a car long distance? What is the best way to travel long distance with a cat? How to make traveling with a cat easier and enjoyable?

If you are planning to travel long distance with a cat in a car, then there is a 99% chance that you might be searching for the answers to these strategic questions. Isn’t it?

And why shouldn’t you? After all, it’s the matter of your cat’s safety. Right? And when it comes to traveling with cats in car long distance, you must be familiar with all the car travel safety tips for cats to help you prepare for a smooth, fun, and safe trip.

traveling with cats in a car long distance
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Nowadays, we get to see that people love their pets way too much than they love fellow human beings around them. It is, in fact, a trend these days to have dogs or cats as pets alongside other animals as well. More and more people are getting inclined towards adopting pets and keeping them along with themselves at their homes.

But what happens when you travel out? Where would you keep your lovely cat while driving cross country?

Well, even if you are travelling, you can still take your pet along with you so that you do not have to miss them while on the trip and keep worrying about their well-being back at home, even if there is someone to look after the pets.

Today, we shall discuss cats as pets. Cats are very adorable of all the pets and thus, traveling with cats in a car long distance does not seem to be an issue of any kind. If you own a cat and you want to take it out along with you when you travel for a long distance, then here are some essential travel safety tips for traveling long distance with cats that you can follow.

So just keep reading to know what is the best way to travel long distance with cats and learn more about driving cross country with cats happily, safely, and comfortably.

17 Essential Tips for Traveling with Cats in a Car Long Distance

Undoubtedly, traveling a new place can be an exciting and eye-opening experience for most of us, but the same thing does not apply to our pets. Like most of the pets, Cats hate moving. Yes, it’s true! Unlike dogs, cats don’t seem to enjoy the experience of travelling a long distance by car.

Cats are creatures of habit. They like stability and want to be surrounded by all familiar things. These are the reasons why you can’t put a cat in a moving car without any preparation and proper conditioning.

Yes, if you want to make a road trip with your cat safe, peaceful, and enjoyable, then you will have to make sure your car is comfortable, resourceful, and travel-friendly according to your cat’s needs.

Don’t worry, though. There are some very helpful and easy cat travel solutions to make traveling long distance with cats in a car simpler. Are you ready to learn what they are? Here are 17 most essential tips for traveling with cats in a car long distance you can try today. Here we go:

Choose a Pet-Friendly Destination

When you travel long distance with cats, you must remember that it is not like other pets who are drive friendly. In fact, cats are prone to develop motion sickness and may also feel stressed during the journey.

Which is why, you must try to choose such a destination to travel which is pet friendly, so that when you reach there, your pet cat can relax and chill to overcome the long road journey that it had just completed.

There are many hotels and accommodations available these days, which is pet friendly, and they provide every means to make your pet feel comfortable and happy. Even if you are traveling cross country with a cat, you must make sure there is no barrier for carrying your pet along with you in the border.

Are you wondering how to find pet-friendly hotels and places to stay with dogs or cats when travelling cross country by car? Well, you can use the popular pet travel and hotel booking sites like BringFido, Expedia Travel, and Pets Welcome, etc. to search and book pet-friendly hotels.

find pet friendly hotels

We hope now you know the answer to your questions – How to find hotels that are pet friendly and how to choose a pet-friendly destination.

Choosing a pet-friendly destination sums up to be a place where your pet feels like home, in terms of comfort and relaxation. And when it is your cat, traveling to a pet-friendly destination is almost a must-have as cats are very delicate animals and do not love to travel places leaving their comfort zone.

Shop the Right Cat Carrier for Car Travel

Cats are very fragile pets, and we need to take extra care of them while we take them out for a long drive in our car. As they love to stay where they are and also afraid of leaving their territory and comfort zone, it is not always a good idea to make them travel along with you to some long-distance destination.

But suppose at all you need to carry your pet cat along with you while you travel a long distance in your car. In that case, it is highly recommended that you buy the best cat carrier for long distance travel to make your cat feel comfortable and healthy during the tiring journey.

Curious to find out what is the safest and best cat carrier for long distance car travel? Here are some of the top-rated picks and best cat carriers for traveling with cats in a car long distance:

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The cats are furry animals who are soft and adorable as well. And you can’t be harsh on them by providing them with a hard carrier! Thus, it is recommended that you buy soft and cozy carriers for your cats while you travel long distances with them. When you are taking them out, it is your responsibility to look after their health and comfort!

Let Your Cat Get Used to the Car and Cat Carrier

All living beings are subject to changes and adaptation at the same time. They are created in such a way that they would encounter lots of changes in their lives, and they would slowly become adapted to their lifestyle habits. Thus, animals also possess the same adaptation pattern and can adjust themselves in situations that are not their habit of living.

That is why it is recommended that you train your cat to be accustomed to car travel by taking it out for a few minutes to a few hours of ride regularly. As cats are nervous creatures and do not gel well with car traveling, they first need to be introduced to the car riding for a shorter period, and then you can take it out for long driving sessions.

While traveling with cats in a car long distance, you must also keep in mind to carry all the essential things that it might need during the ride so that your pet can remain in a healthy condition throughout the trip.

Take Your Cat to the Vet

It is advisable that you take your cat to the veterinarian before taking it out for a long drive. This is because you never know what kind of health condition your pet has, and a long journey can cause some unwanted situation which you would not like to face during your drive.

So, to be sure of the cat’s health condition, you must go for a regular checkup date with your vet and prevent any health issues with the pet during the journey.

The vet can also advise you well on any medicine or other treatments to be accomplished while you take your pet out for the drive so that it remains fit and healthy during the trip and does not succumb to the situation.

When traveling with cats in cars, you must keep in mind that they are not like other pets who enjoy long car rides. They are stressed during such long trips, and thus you must be extra careful towards them during the entire journey.

Get Your Cat Microchipped

Though this is usually done when the cat is outdoors or has probabilities of getting lost, it is still a good idea to get the cat chipped when you are taking it out for a long drive in your car. The cats’ microchipping is done by the vets using a needle, and the chip is the size of grain rice.

It is placed subcutaneously between the shoulder blades of the cat and is not a hurtful process. It takes a few minutes to complete the process and does not produce any allergic reactions to the cat’s body as well.

The primary purpose of such microchipping is to get to find your cat if it is lost somewhere during the ride when you take it out for short breaks. Traveling with your cat is not always a good idea, given the fact that cats are not ride-friendly, but if you must take a long ride with your cat, then microchipping it is indeed a good idea to think about!

If you are a new cat owner and planning to microchip your cat before going on a road trip, then you might find this microchipping guide quite useful for you. In this guide by WebMD, many veterinary experts answer most commonly asked questions about microchipping your dog or cat. It will help you in learning a lot about the microchipping process.

Use a Cat Harness and Leash for Extra Safety

Who does not love to be extra careful about a pet? We all do! And more so, when it’s an adorable pet cat! The cats are very furry and adorable creatures, and we love to pet them to that extent, where the mere thought of losing them might give us goosebumps!

So, to be extra protective towards them and keep them safe during the long drive, we must carry ourselves a cat harness and leash. When traveling with your cat for a long distance, it is mandatory to take short breaks during the drive and take your cat out for a short walk or a stroll.

And when you have a harness or leash around the neck of your cat, you can at least look after it when you are out of the car and do not worry about it going anywhere. There are several types of harnesses available that are comfortable and pocket friendly at the same time, and you must buy one accordingly.

If you want soft adjustable vest harnesses and leash for cats, then here are some of the top-rated cat harnesses and leash you can buy for your cat when preparing for your next road trip:

Last update on 2020-09-30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

All these cat harnesses and leashes come with adjustable and padded cat vest that are best for walking and travelling. If your kitty is exceptionally active and likes playing around, then the use of a leash and harness adds an extra measure of safety to it during the travel.

Pack Cat Chew Toys and Chew Sticks

Cats are sensitive creatures, and they do not like to travel places just like other pets. Thus, it would be best if you were very particular with your packing choices when taking your cats out for a long drive. You will find many tips for traveling with cats in a car long distance, and almost all of those are helpful enough to make your cat feel comfortable during the ride.

One of the important cat travel accessories that would be beneficial when traveling with a cat is the cat chew toys or cat chew sticks. These types of cat toys are useful to keep the cats entertained and busy throughout the ride. They can remain indulged with these chew toys for a more extended period, and chances are less than they would feel bored or stressed during the journey.

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These chew toys come in different shapes and sizes depending upon the variation of your cat. These are also very inexpensive stuff to take along with you when going out for a long drive with your cat.

Buy Cat Calming Treats for Car Travel

Out of all the cat car travel accessories, having cat calming treats is one of the best things that you can think of carrying with you when taking your cat out for a long driving session. Cats are such pets who do not like to travel much, more so, if it is in a car and for long hours. They are humble creatures loving their own space and territory and hate it when they have to move someplace else, that too in a car!

It is usual for them to get excited or frightened when you take them out for a long drive in your vehicle. And when the cats get nervous inside the car during the ongoing trip, it would be difficult for you to handle them or calm them down to normal.

Last update on 2020-09-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

So, in such cases, having crunchy and soft cat treats in your car shall help you deal with this situation quickly. Such calming treats include cat spray, cat diffuser, cat collars, cat wipes, cat supplements, etc.

Get a Cat Anxiety Jacket

Travel anxiety is very common amongst cats. And when it is your pet cat, you won’t like to see it in a stressful condition or anxiety. Thus, you must be well prepared to tackle its anxious mind while traveling long distances with the cat in your car.

There are many cat travel accessories available for the same, out of which, having a cat anxiety jacket ready for tackling such a moment is the work of an intelligent mind. The anxiety jacket for cats create constant pressure on the cat’s torso and instigate a feeling of gentle calmness during moments of anxiety.

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But you must remember that the cat must not wear the anxiety jacket during the entire travel period. It is good to remove the jacket every 1-2 hours and let the cat be in a free state of mind before feeling anxious again! This way, you can complete the entire journey and keep your cat calm at the same time.

Get a Cat Sedative for Traveling in Car

How long can a cat travel in a car? This is a question that worries many travelers who travel with their pet cats. Well, after going through the entire article, you will have an idea of how long a cat can travel in a car, but as of now, you must know that though a cat can travel for more hours, they feel sick or anxious during the long drive in the car.

And for this reason, you must adapt to every precaution needed for the ride to make your cat feel comfortable and healthy during the journey. One such method of carrying your cat in a long drive without much hindrance is to sedate it using the cat sedative for car travel available in the market.

Well, it might not always be a good option for cat lovers to sedate it and change its state of mind for the journey, but if your cat gets troubled too much during the ride, then most vets suggest sedating it in safe doses. There are cat-friendly sedatives available in the market, which you can use to consult with your vet.

Maintain an Ideal Temperature in Your Car

While we know that traveling long distances with cats is not always a good idea as they are sensitive to long drives in a car, but if you need to do so, you must make sure that you make the journey a comfortable one for them! And for that, maintaining an ideal temperature inside your car is highly recommended.

How much temperature is ideal for traveling comfortably in a car for a long-distance? Well, it generally depends on what breed of cat it is or how well adapted to the climatic conditions it is!

But in general, cats do not prefer too hot or too cold temperatures. Though their furry body helps them stay calm during cold temperatures, it is suggested that you do not lower your car’s ac too much. Also, you must keep the car AC or your portable car air conditioner on at a moderate temperature so that it does not feel the heat.

Last update on 2020-09-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

There are plenty of air cooling fans and portable air conditioners for cars in the market at a relatively affordable price. Portable car air conditioners, Rooftop air conditioners, Fan air coolers, and Bucket + Fan Coolers are some of the most popular portable car ACs options.

Now it’s entirely upto you which types of portable air conditioner you want for your cars or trucks to control the temperature inside your vehicle and create a much more comfortable, enjoyable environment for your cats.

Keep Your Cat Hydrated

If you are traveling in the scorching summer season, you must know that it is as essential to keep your cat hydrated as it is keeping yourself hydrated in such weather conditions. If you are looking for tips for traveling with cats in a car long distance, then this might be helpful to you.

Cats tend to become dehydrated quickly in warm conditions as they do not possess a strong urge to drink water, often unlike other animals. And when they suffer from dehydration, you can notice symptoms like dry mouth, sunken eyes, loss of appetite, lethargy, panting, etc.

So, to keep it hydrated during the entire journey, you must look up to ways that shall not condition it to face dehydration. Like, providing them with foods with high water content or letting them drink water more often. This way, you can prevent any type of dehydrating conditions of the cat during the long drive.

Get a Portable Cat Litter Box

This is the most crucial accessory amongst all the cat car travel accessories. A collapsible and portable cat litter box is essential when you are traveling with your cat for a long distance. As you cannot always find a suitable place during the drive to make your cat litter, it is easy to have a litter box inside your car so that both you and your pet cat can remain hassle-free with the littering issue.

Last update on 2020-09-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

You must also train your cat to litter in the litter box not to make your car dirty. There are many types of portable litter boxes available, which can be easily kept inside your vehicle and the cat carrier. These boxes are easy to carry and easy to dispose of also!

When you have portable litter boxes inside your car, you do not have to worry about your cat even when it is a long one!

Take Frequent Breaks and Make Time for the Outdoors

Are you stressing over the fact of how to travel with cats in a car long distance? If yes, you must not freak out and follow some essential tips to avoid severe issues on the road. All these tips are useful enough to keep your cat in good condition when traveling a long distance in your car. Alongside all these tips, this one also allows your cat to travel a long distance in a better manner.

Allowing your cat to take a walk and short breaks during the journey shall increase its chances of surviving better during the entire trip. It is recommended that you take such a break every 2-3 hours so that your cat (and you) can feel relaxed during the journey.

When the cat is inside the car for long hours, it can feel irritated and nervous, and thus, to relive it from any kind of distress, you must take a short break and make time for outdoors.

Never Leave Your Cat Alone in the Car

How to travel with a cat in a car? Well, by now you already know how to travel with your cat in a car for a long distance. There are some tips and recommendations that you must follow during your trip with your cat. But apart from all these precautions to keep your cat safe, you must also think upon the fact that when you are traveling with your cat, you can’t leave your cat alone inside the car.

Understandably, you might also need some alone time when going for a long drive, but you must also think of your pet cat in every situation. And as cats are afraid of such long car journeys, you must be extra careful towards them during the trip.

If you leave them alone in the car, they might be more nervous or might get out of the vehicle as well. Mishaps do not take time to occur, and so, you must be aware of such facts while traveling with your cat in the car!

Don’t Forget Cat First Aid Kit for Any Emergency

Can a cat travel a long distance? Yes, it can! But with some precautions being taken care of by the pet owner! There are several things that you might carry along with you when you are going out for a long drive in your car, they might be equally useful for your cat as well.

But if you forget to carry a cat first aid kit along with you, then maybe you are missing out on important stuff.

As there can be emergencies during a drive for us humans, there can be emergencies with the animals. And having a cat first aid kit can save your cat from such emergency conditions during the drive.

Last update on 2020-09-30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The cats might feel stressed during the trip, or they can have an upset stomach, or even in worse situations, they might suffer accidents. During such moments, the emergency first aid kit can be of real help to you and your pet cat!

Make the Ride Smooth and Slow

The best way to travel long distances with cats is to make the journey comfortable and smooth. And for that to happen, rash driving or speed of the car has to be maintained by you. Cats are already afraid of such long journeys in the car, and if you choose to drive very fast and irregularly, you will do more harm to your cat than you can ever imagine.

You must decide to drive slowly and smoothly in the road so that your cat does not panic and can adjust with the ride.

It is understandable that when you are traveling a long distance, it is not possible to drive too slowly or smoothly all the time, but you must try to maintain the speed and smoothness as much as you can so that your cat does not feel the stress of driving such a long road trip.

FAQ for Traveling with Cats in a Car Long Distance

If you found the above explained essential travel safety tips for traveling with cats in car long distance useful for you and your cats then you will find these most popular FAQs even more beneficial for your trip. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions on the internet by the cat lovers that might be helpful to you in understanding whether it is fine to take your cat for a long drive:

Can You Take a Cat on a Road Trip?


The answer is undoubtedly yes but with some precautions! When you’re taking your cats out on a road trip, you must be well equipped with stuff that would be useful to keep them in a steady condition during the journey.

Like the best cat carrier for cars, cat foods, and other essentials so that your pet cat does not find the ride to be a difficult one. You must also feed the cat right on time and make arrangements for a comfortable sitting place for them inside the car to avoid any kind of discomfort of the cats during the drive!

How Long Can a Cat Travel in a Car?


Usually, a drive of up to 6 hours is excellent when driving a long distance with your cat, but it is not that you cannot travel for more hours. You can take your cat for a drive for two days or even more. But you must take short breaks during your trip and make the cat get out of its carrier so that it does not feel the burden of the long drive and suffer from car sickness.

You must be alert of the cat’s behavior while on the long drive, and if you notice any unnatural behavior, you must stop the car and let the cat out for some time.

Why are Cats Afraid of Car Rides?


Cats are afraid of car rides mainly because they are domesticated pets, and they hate to leave their territory and move to a new place. Cats love to live where they are, and thus, they do not quite go down well with the car rides.

Also, they do not enjoy the car rides because it is an instinctual change to their daily routine, and they do not adjust well with that! So if you are traveling long distance with cats, know that they might not like the ride, and the experience might be bitter for them.

Do Cats Get Car Sick?


Yes, cats do get car sick even when you take proper care of them during the ride. Most of the time, cats suffer from motion sickness, resulting in excessive drooling or vomiting. They might also suffer from anxiety and stress when taken out for a long drive in a car.

Cats do not prefer movements out of their territory, and thus it can get uncomfortable for them when they travel in a vehicle. So, if you are traveling long distances with cats in the car, know that they are not going to like it too much and may develop car sickness.

Can I Sedate My Cat for a Long Car Ride?


Yes, but most veterinarians suggest that it must be the last option to think upon while you take out your cat on a long drive in a car. There are many tips for traveling long distances with a cat, and you can follow those tips to make your cat comfortable during a ride.

Even if at last, you find out that your cat is suffering from motion sickness, then you can resort to sedating it with sedatives such as sleeping pills, diphenhydramine, benzodiazepines, etc. It is not good to alter the cat’s mental condition, but even if you want to sedate it, consult the veterinarian once.

What Is the Best Cat Carrier for Long Distance Car Travel?


Cats prefer soft and comfortable carriers or crates when they are traveling long distances in a car. Though the hard carriers are better at protecting them if there is an unusual accidental activity during the travel, it is better to think of the comfort of the cats while traveling than to provide them with a hard carrier.

You can still search for What is the best cat carrier for car travel? And find out the cat carrier which is best suited for your cat during the long-distance travel by car.

Author’s View on Traveling with Cats in a Car Long Distance

Most of us today are pet lovers, and thus when it comes to traveling long-distance leaving behind our pets, we start feeling disheartened! That is why I have penned down these essential tips for traveling with cats in a car long distance so that you don’t have to feel awkward leaving your pet cat behind at home when you are moving cross country.

In my opinion, it is natural to carry a pet cat (or dog) along with you when you travel long distances as the affection and love we have towards them is immeasurable! But if you are carrying your pet along with you, then you must follow certain things so that the long drive does not make your pet sick or they get hurt in any way.

traveling with cats in car long distance
Moving cross country with cats in a car? Here are 17 essential tips for traveling with cats in a car long distance

These 17 essential tips for traveling with cats in a car long distance are very useful for you and your pet cat if you plan to travel long miles together. If I had to carry my pet cat along with me on a long drive, I would have genuinely followed these codes of conduct to ensure my dear pet cat remains safe and healthy during the long trip!

Did we miss something in this list of essential tips for traveling with cats in car long distance or moving cross country with cats? Let us know in the comments. Please feel free to share with us if you find any other effective and best ways to travel long distance with cats in a car.

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About Amy Cuban

I am an automotive enthusiast who loves to be around cars. I enjoy working on cars in my spare time and love anything related to automobiles. I like using different types of car accessories, car gadgets, and innovative car care products.

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