Greetings travelin’ cats, Skye Blake here! We’re now looking at an important consideration when taking trips with your cat. What’s your travel destination?
- Where Are You Going With Your Cat?
- Destination: Vet/Emergency Clinic
- Destination: New House
- Destination: Theme Park or Other Travel Attraction
- Destination: Hostels
- Destination: Hotels, Motels, Airbnb & Resort
- Destination: To Grandma’s House We Go
- Destination: Other States or Countries
- Inspiring Feline Travel Videos
- Related Pages of Interest
- List of Sources
Where Are You Going With Your Cat?
When traveling with your cat, it’s important to consider your destination, even if it’s a short trip.
A hotel or other place you’re staying overnight is a travel destination, just like a park or city.
Will your cat be welcome? Does it make sense for her to be there? Will she be with you constantly or stuck in a hotel room?
Cats are territorial and when they’re insecure in a new environment they start marking to have ownership of the territory and secure themselves from predators.
Nobody’s going to appreciate that!
When you arrive at your destination, set up a cozy spot for your buddy with her things, so she can adjust to her surroundings.
If your cat is trained and comfortable with new sights, smells, and sounds, she can adapt well no matter where you travel.
Stops Along the Way
How many stops you make is an important question when traveling with any animal. Think of every stop as a destination point.
Leaving your cat in the car is a risky move because we felines don’t have a good cooling system in our bodies.
It’s even worse when we’re stressed! It’s not worth the risk.
Half an hour break for lunch may be nothing to you, but the wrong conditions can easily hurt or kill your cat.
If you’re traveling in the heat of summer, your cat might be best left at home.
Stopping to Eat
If your cat is coming with you, plan in advance how to deal with meals and bathroom breaks.
For example, you could pack your lunch and eat at a rest stop picnic area and have your cat on leash with you.
Or you can use fast food drive-thru windows to get your meals and eat in the air conditioned car.
Destination: Vet/Emergency Clinic
The only trip most cats take is to the vet and, frankly, we felines are not impressed or amused!
While you might not think of the vet’s office as a travel destination, to your cat it’s quite the trip.
So, it’s important to help your buddy be comfortable on any trip.
Be sure you complete the training you’ve started…
You’ll be amazed at how smooth your trips will be when she understands that good things happen in the carrier and car.
When you call her to get in the carrier, happy and unafraid of the motion, smell, and noise of a car, you’ll reap the rewards of your work.
Yes, you can do it! This is vital in an emergency situation and her life is worth it!
You’ll be glad you did.
Destination: New House
Moving your entire household feels to your cat like his whole world is upside down (because it is)!
A cat’s secure territory has been blown up and no longer feels, smells, or looks like his own.
This makes him very insecure, and he’ll respond with attempts to secure his territory again (rubbing and pee marking).
If you’ve been in the path of a tornado that wiped out your whole neighborhood, you’ll know the feeling.
There are ways you can reduce the stress for your buddy.
Find out how to help your cat when moving at “Moving With a Cat…An Adventure!“
Destination: Theme Park or Other Travel Attraction
Ok, so you’re going to Walt Disney World®…
What will you do with your cat all day? What if they don’t allow cats at the attraction or she doesn’t like being there?
You might be lucky enough to find boarding at an attraction, but most don’t offer that.
Is it fair to stick your cat in a new situation she might not handle well?
All these questions must be answered to know if it’s responsible to take your cat with you.
If you’ll be leaving her alone for long periods anyway, it might as well be in her favorite spot at home with someone checking on her.
Be sure to contact all hostels you plan to use to ask if they allow cats.
In following this trail, I found no helpful information, so it’s probably best to assume they don’t allow pets.
That’s reasonable, given the nature of hostels. But if you contact them ahead of time, you may find exceptions.
Here are a couple places you can start…
Hostel World – search any country
Destination: Hotels, Motels, Airbnb & Resort
Make sure any hotels, motels, resorts or home share houses (airbnb) accept cats.
Many say “pet friendly” but only accept dogs (can you believe it?). Check to see if any fees or deposits are required.
Some home shares have cats living there that will hang out with you if you like.
If you have your cat, though, this can become a territorial problem… they may not like each other. Something to keep in mind as you prepare to travel.
Think of a hotel room as a vacation spot for your feline friend (hey, we felines deserve a vacation too!)
She’s traveled with you to get to this destination, so it should be relaxing and fun for her, too.
Hotels that allow cats usually require them to be in the carrier when you’re not in the room. Here’s why…
- If somebody opens the door she could zoom out into the hall or worse, into the parking lot if your room faces outside.
- Being in the carrier keeps her safe, out of mischief, and lets her sleep peacefully.
- In an emergency hotel staff or first responders can grab the carrier and get her out quickly and safely.
These are certainly reasonable requirements for the short term if you’re out for a little while.
You can turn on the tv or radio to give her some music or noise if it helps her stay calm.
However, leaving her all day in a carrier isn’t a good idea. She won’t be able to use the litter box, eat or stretch out.
Sounds like kitty prison to me, not a relaxing vacation!
The hotel may allow a pet tent or other collapsible enclosure your cat can stay in while you’re out.
That would make her more comfortable.
Feline Hotel Etiquette
Be mindful of the extra work a cat can create for the hotel staff. Having to clean lots of cat hair off bedspreads or litter tracked everywhere isn’t appreciated.
Bring some sheets to put over the bed so she can sit with you.
It’s also a good idea to bring some pieces of plastic sheeting to put under her food and water bowls, as well as her litter box.
If you worry that the housekeeping staff could scare her while doing their work (vacuuming, cleaning the bathroom, changing sheets, etc.), put out the “Do Not Disturb” sign.
Check with staff to set up getting clean towels, etc.
Destination: To Grandma’s House We Go
If you’re going to grandma’s house (or other relatives), be sure she’s willing to host your cat.
Most people don’t appreciate someone showing up with “Oh, by the way, I brought my cat”.
They may not want animal fur and mess in their house, are allergic, or aren’t set up for a cat visitor.
The house is probably not cat-proofed. There could be flowers or plants deadly to cats (lilies, for example), rubber bands or pins on the floor, etc.
Your cat will probably also be less than thrilled at being in a new, scary place, unless you’ve trained him to be comfortable in new territory.
Destination: Other States or Countries
If you’re traveling out of state or into another country, find out well before your trip what rules, requirements, and fees are involved with taking your cat.
This includes both while traveling and at your destination.
For example, Hawaii is strict and requires quarantine for dogs and cats coming in.
One reason is because rabies (a horrible disease that kills animals and people) isn’t currently on the islands and authorities there are very careful to keep it that way.
More details on this are at “HOW TO TAKE A DOG OR CAT TO HAWAII AND AVOID QUARANTINE”, by Django.com, January 31, 2020, updated March 2021
Find out more at “Preparing For a Trip“
Inspiring Feline Travel Videos
Here are some videos for inspiration on what it’s like to travel with a cat and how your travel destination affects your preparations…
The Heartwarming Story Of a Man And His Cat Who Have Travelled Around 21 Countries | Lorraine – Interview about the travels of Nala & Dean Nicholson)
Surprise Visit Home – 1Bike1World, August 24, 2020 (adventures of Dean Nicholson & Nala) – This video gives you a good idea of the various types of travel, dealing with paperwork in other countries, and how a fearless cat handles it all with a calm human she trusts.
Related Pages of Interest
Sources used on this website are either primary or secondary.
Primary sources are always preferable and have the most reliable information because they’re original and directly referenced.
Scientific abstracts and data are good examples of primary sources.
Secondary sources are weaker because they usually consist of opinions or articles that give no sources of their own.
Sometimes they refer to primary sources.
When I use secondary sources, most are those with some authority, such as veterinarian or cat behaviorist books and articles.
List of Sources
“77 Things to Know Before Getting a Cat”, by Susan M. Ewing, Companion House Books, Fox Chapel Publishers International, Ltd., 2018, pp. 178-181
“A Brief History of Traveling With Cats”, by Jackie Mansky, SmithsonianMag.com, August 14, 2017
“Cat Speak”, by Bash Dibra with Elizabeth Randolph, New American Library, Penguin Group (USA) Inc., New York, NY, 2001, pp. 208-211
“CatWise”, by Pam Johnson-Bennett, Certified Animal Behavior Consultant, Penguin Books, Penguin Random House, LLC, New York, NY, 2016, pp. 289-290
“The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Getting & Owning a Cat”, by Sheila Webster Boneham, Ph.D., Alpha Books, Penguin Group (USA), Inc., New York, NY, 2005, pp. 207-209
“HOW TO TAKE A DOG OR CAT TO HAWAII AND AVOID QUARANTINE”, by Django.com, January 31, 2020, updated March 2021
“Tips For Taking Your Cat On Vacation With You“, by Lisa Selvaggio, Pet Guide, April 1, 2021
Updated December 21, 2022