How To Travel With Cats In A Car Long Distance?

How To Travel With Cats In A Car Long Distance

Traveling with your cats in a car for a long distance may seem arduous but it can be done with the right preparation and by being organized.  Make sure to bring your cat to the vet for a thorough check-up before your journey, have it microchipped and see to it that the carrier is comfortable and well-ventilated.

Most importantly, feed your cats at least three to four hours before you travel and see to it that they are calm and relaxed throughout the journey.

How to travel with cats in a car long distance?

Traveling in a car long distance can be tiresome and you have to grapple with the weariness especially if you are the one driving the car. It can be double the trouble if your cat needs your attention and  care. However,  traveling with your cats can also be a worthwhile experience if you are prepared and organized.

Here are the steps you can to do to ensure that your long distance trip will be as smooth as possible:

Prepare your cat and things they need the journey.

If your cat is not used to long distance trips then you have to prepare it for it by bringing it on short car trips. It may be for just a few blocks or to a nearby park. Let it get used to this setup and after a few trips, you may opt to bring them on a longer trip around town. The purpose is to see how it will react and deal with the experience. Check out more tips in our earlier article on how to calm a cat in a car. 

Also, you need to prepare the necessary things for your cat:

  • a cat travel bag complete with cat food, snacks, litter pads, and wipes 
  • small bowls of food and water for the carriers 
  • your cats’ favorite toys and blankets
  • travel litter boxes for cats with litter pads

Here are the other things you should to do for your cat:

Get the right cat carrier.

Your cats’ carrier should have enough space for them to be able to move around. It should ideally measure one and a half times half the size of your cats. It is not advisable to have a carrier that’s too big as the cat may slide from one side to another. 

Get the right cat carrier
Image: / Michel VIARD

Wash the carriers thoroughly and make sure it’s odor-free and leave it in areas where your cats often stay so they will get used to it. Place treats and their favorite blankets inside it. Once they stay inside the carriers, try to close its doors and observe how they react. Check out our earlier article to learn more tips on how to travel with your cat in a carrier

Bring your cats to the vet. 

A visit to the vet should be a top priority before your long distance trip. Make sure that your felines are fit to travel and that their vaccinations are up-to-date. 

Have your cats microchipped.

It is recommended to have your cats microchipped because untoward incidents may happen during long-distance trips. Your cats may wander off or get lost but having them microchipped gives you peace of mind because there is a bigger chance that they will be returned and reunited with you. 

You should prepare the car for your cat.

Be sure to do the necessary preparations and see to it that everything’s set in the vehicle before the scheduled journey with your cats. Your car should be an anxiety-free space and free of any clutter so that your trip will be stress-free. 

  • See to it that the cat and carrier do not overcrowd inside the car,
  • The cats’ space in the car should be a top priority. 
  •  Secure the cats first in the car before packing anything else.

Consider the use of cat sedatives to keep your cats calm and relaxed throughout the journey. 

Consider the use of cat sedatives to keep your cats calm
Image: / Kukurund

Cats may tend to be uneasy, irritable, or upset during your journey. Since it will be a long-distance trip, anticipate that there will be negative behavior among your cats especially if they are not used to it.  An option that may work is to sedate your cat naturally.  You may also use Feliway Spray in your cats’ carriers  at least 10 minutes before they are placed inside to keep them calm and relaxed throughout the journey. 

Opt for a slow travel schedule.

You should go for a slow travel schedule and have travel breaks if you are traveling with your cats in a car long distance. This is because cats adapt slowly to new places. Also, having a slow travel schedule will allow your cats to be acquainted with the new scents, sounds, and sights around so they may feel less uncomfortable and irritable.  Travel breaks are also a good time to encourage your cats for a pee break and you should have disposable litter boxes in handy. These breaks are also a great time to give them treats. 

Keep your cool 

Traveling long distances in a car can be very stressful especially if passing through high-traffic areas. But, do not let the traffic get to your nerves and instead, stay relaxed and keep your cool during the journey.  If you become stressed your cats will most likely sense and may also become stressed. So, stay calm, maintain your composure, and you may talk with your cats in soft tones to soothe them. 


Traveling with cats in a car long distance does not need to be stressful with the right preparations and by being organized.  Preparing the things to bring as well as preparing your cat for the journey are essential. Taking good care of your cat as you prepare them for the trip should always be a priority to keep your cats happy, contented, and stress-free.