Book A Pet Friendly Hotel

Cool Cats

Feline Fine About Air and Auto Travel

OK, so we’re called Go Travel DOG. And we cat owners know our feline friends don’t like to be blogged about, and they’re only interested in Twitter if it’s a bird. But the fact remains: kitty needs a pet-friendly hotel, too. 

The folks at have traveled extensively with their cats by air and by car.  And it’s important to remember that pets travel differently, so while your dog may be a bit more easygoing about things, you can probably use some tips to make travel with your cat safer and more enjoyable.

Before You Go

Consult your vet. Diseases, vaccination requirements and weather conditions could affect your cat’s health. Your airline will require a health certificate issued within 10 days of departure.

Select a carrier that is well ventilated and big enough for your cat to get up, move around in and stretch. Avoid letting the cat out of the carrier, unless leashed, until you reach where you are going. Ensure any crate is USDA-approved for shipping if you fly.

Set out the carrier in your house a few days before you travel, so your cat can get used to it. Let it explore the carrier. Take a few short car rides with your cat in the days before you leave if traveling by car.

Identify emergency vet locations along your route. Pack your cat's tags and medical and vaccination records. Some states require rabies records for all animals crossing state lines. You will also need these when boarding an airplane. Plan for stops at hotels that welcome cats. Pet hotels that accept cats are less plentiful than those allowing dogs. It is important to call ahead and ask about weight restrictions, deposits or fees, number of animals allowed and whether you can leave the cat alone in the room.

Fill a box with your cat's favorite toys and food, plastic food and water bowls or bowls that fold, catnip, kitty litter, elimination bags and a scooper. Pack water from your own tap bottled in milk jugs or smaller bottles to keep your cat's stomach from getting upset due to drinking unfamiliar water.

Feed your cat about three to four hours before you leave. The food needs time to settle, so your cat doesn't leave you a regurgitated gift on the road.

Surround your cat inside the carrier with a blanket that smells of home. A scent your animal recognizes provides comfort.

Secure the carrier in the car where it will not lurch forward or topple in a sudden stop. Place the carrier ideally where your cat can see you. Secure the carrier with a seatbelt, if possible.

Feed and provide water for your cat along the way at times it would normally eat.  Allow a little playtime while you stop for your own break. Consider any time zone changes when scheduling breaks and feeding for your cat.

Crack windows about an inch if you get out of the car for any length of time, but don't let the cat roam the vehicle. Beware of rolling down windows farther; cats are good at wiggling out of tight spaces. Don't leave the cat in a parked car for more than a couple of minutes, no matter the weather. Warm days can quickly heat up a car to dangerous temperatures, while cold causes hypothermia just as fast.

Air Travel

Flying with pets has become second nature to us at, but it is of utmost importance to consult airlines for animal policies before you fly. Ask whether your cat can travel with you or if it must travel in the cargo area (It's better for the cat to be near you). Ask about limits on how many animals one person can bring, what kind of carrier you need, medical requirements and costs.

Buy a new identification tag for the cat that has your name, address, telephone number, the cat's microchip number (if it has one) and your destination printed on it.

Book a flight that requires the fewest stops. Transfers from one airplane to the next, or workers making noise while handling baggage can stress your animal even more. Plan layovers with weather in mind. A hot southern sun won't be the best environment for a cat in cargo hold during summer — the same goes for those areas with subzero temperatures in winter.

Write on the carrier in dark marker your name and destination address, along with "Live animal" and arrows pointing which way the carrier should sit to be upright. Do this especially if the carrier is going in cargo hold. Paste a photo of your animal on the carrier in case your cat escapes at some point.

Inform the flight crew that you have a cat on the airplane if your pet can't travel with you in the passenger area. It helps to have someone else thinking about checking on the animal in case of a delay or in an emergency.


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