You don’t need a veterinarian degree to realise travelling with a cat isn’t like taking a dog on the road. Cats are high-maintenance — in the nicest possible way. Think of them like elderly parents or toddlers with a stomach issue: they need special consideration, a little understanding, and a softly-softly approach.
In general, cats don’t travel well. In order to make everyone as comfortable as possible when you take your pet along on holiday, you will need to understand the basics of traveling with a cat. Here’s our go-to guide for travelling with your feline friend.
1. Invest in a cat carrier.
Your cat will need a proper carrier while she is on the road. This should be large enough that she can stand up and move around, without cramped, but not too large that she doesn’t feel contained and safe. Tricky? Don’t stress — the standard sizes available in your local pet store on online shop will be fine. There should also be plenty of vents on the carrier, which will allow air to flow easily and give him a chance to see out.
At no point while you are traveling with a cat should she be outside her carrier. Believe it or not, your cat’s default speed on the road is very fast (even if she normally spends most of her days lounging in the sun or on your pillow), and when you open the door of a car, she could get out before you could stop her. Keep her inside her carrier before she leaves your house, and don’t let her out again until you have reached your destination for the night.
2. Pack her paperwork.
You should bring your cat’s vaccination certificates along with you, just like you would for a dog or a goanna. Have some spare ID tags on you at all times in case she loses her collar, or you need to show proof of ownership. Many hotels will require proof of vaccinations before you can take your pet to your hotel room or rental property. These will need to be shown at many border crossings if you’re heading interstate as well.
3. Bring something that smells like home.
When you preparing to go traveling with a cat, throw in some of her favorite toys, a familiar set of bedding, her own portable food bowls, and her own litter pan.
You might think these things smell like the drudgery of home, but to your cat, it’s imbued with the comforts of the life she knows and loves. Pack them and travelling with a cat will feel more like a holiday for everyone.
4. Don’t fear the fuzz.
Make life easy for yourself and pack a lint roller to remove cat fur from furniture in the hotel room or rental property on departing. Your holiday landlord might seem like a cat-lover on check-in, but leave a trace of fur behind and they could turn nasty in the blink of an eye.
Also check out the fine print on your booking forms to make sure of your rights on pet access, too. (See our tips here.)
5. Protect the tummy.
Always take a supply of your cat’s food, and at least a litre of water for every two days you’re away for your cat. Many cats will get upset stomachs from the slightest change in their diet, including unfamiliar water supplies in new places.
When traveling with a cat, you should also stop offering them food at least a couple of hours before you plan to depart. This will give your cat’s stomach time to settle before you take your pet along for the ride. Make sure she isn’t in the direct path of sunlight or air vents, and your cat should be perfectly happy during your holiday trip.
Have fun and feel the feline love away from home!