Are Long Car Rides Bad for Cats?

Are Long Car Rides Bad for Cats

No, long car rides are not bad for cats so long as you train your cat to get used to car rides before embarking on a long one. You should also make sure that the cat has a comfortable carrier and to withhold food intake for at least four hours before travel time. Most importantly, keep her calm and comfortable by placing familiar things and scents with her and perhaps also by spraying some Feliway Spray in the carrier at least 15 minutes before she goes inside the car. 

Are long car rides bad for cats?

Cats are typical home buddies and they love to lounge and take naps whenever they can. They are creatures of habit which is why a sudden disturbance or change of routine can easily stress them out.

A car ride, and a long one at that, can easily make your cat anxious. However, long car rides are not bad for cats as long as you train your cat to get used to riding a car and being in a carrier. It may even do them good because it allows them to explore new environments and discover new scents, sights, and sounds. 

How to teach your cat to love riding in a car?

Many cats are uncomfortable with car travel especially since they tend to associate this with visits to the vet. They may also feel unsettled because of the unfamiliar sights, sounds, and scents. The solution is to let your cat get used to riding a car at an early age. However, if you have an adult cat it is not yet too late and you can still teach her to love car rides, and eventually, long car rides as well.

Here are ways on how to make your cat love car rides:

Teach your cat to love her carrier.

It takes ample time before cats become used to a carrier so do not expect that your cat will like it the first time you introduce it to her.  The trick is to let her spend time in the carrier first. This way, she will learn to get used to being in it before bringing her on car rides. Cats can also ride a car without a carrier but they should be properly restrained with a harness. 

Place your cat’s favorite blanket on the carrier and put her food bowl inside as well. Let her get used to eating in the carrier and you may also spray Feliway on the carrier beforehand to keep her calm.  Once your cat becomes comfortable with staying inside the carrier, try to practice closing the door for short periods and give her some treats. You may eventually close the carrier door for a longer time and let her get used to being moved by carrying the carrier with her inside. 

Place your cat and carrier inside the car.

Once your cat gets used to being inside a carrier,  you may now take the carrier inside your car.  Try to do this a few times and once your cat becomes used to being in the car,  close the car door and then open it again.  If your cat remains calm, turn the engine on and then off again while observing your cat’s behavior.  

Eventually, try to move the car out of the driveway then pull right back and park the car. Try to do this several times until your cat gets used to it.  You may eventually bring her to longer car rides such as to a nearby park or around a few blocks from your home. This will let your cat stay calm and become a more positive thing for her. Do not forget to give her treats if she remains calm and behaved. 

Helpful tips when going on a long car ride with your cat 

Here are some helpful tips if you’re going on a long car ride with your cat:

  1. Bring your cat to the vet for a thorough check-up before the long car ride. 
  2. Make sure to have your cat microchipped for easier recovery should she wander away or get lost during the car ride.
  3. Don’t forget to bring some of her toys to keep your cat busy during the trip. 
  4. Schedule pit stops at least every 2 to 3 hours so you can give your cat some food or treats, water, and for her to use the litter box. 

Cat breeds that love to travel 

If you’re the adventurous and outdoor-type of person then you should opt for a cat that also shares your passion for trips and long car rides. Here are some of the cat breeds that are perfect travel mates:

1. Siamese 

The Siamese cat is very smart and has a dog-like personality. While this breed tends to be vocal at times it is a good travel buddy especially if trained on long car rides at a young age. 

2. Japanese Bobtail 

This breed is sociable by nature and loves to interact with humans.  It also easily adapts to new situations which makes them ideal travel companions. 

3. Persian

Persian cats can be your ideal travel mates because they are obedient, have laid-back personalities, and easy to train. The downside is they are long-haired so it’s not advisable to bring them to places with hot and humid weather. 

4. Russian Blue 

This breed is an ideal travel buddy because it has a laid-back personality so it may have an easier time adapting to traveling by car. Russian Blue cats are sweet-tempered and loyal, too. 

5. Ragamuffin 

This breed is also an ideal travel mate since they are calm, has a laid-back personality, and easy to train. They can also be taught to play fetch and walk on a leash


Cats are creatures of habit and you should help them to get used to traveling by allowing them time to get used to the carrier and the car.  Long car rides are not bad for cats as long as you train and familiarize them beforehand. It is also vital to have them checked by the vet, having them microchipped, and to have an ample supply of their basic needs like food, water, and treats. Finally, ensure that long car rides are relaxing for cats by using pheromones like Feliway to keep them calm and comfortable.