Traveling with your Cat:Tips for a Happy Trip

By December 15, 2016 October 1st, 2019 blog

Christmas is just around the corner. The hustle and bustle of Christmas is the busiest time of the year, and there is an added stress if you are travelling. Many travel far and wide to visit family and friends during this festive time of the year.  And you may be wondering if you should bring your feline friends along with you on your Christmas holiday. But, some cats are not good travelers and become very stressed when leaving their normal environments and traveling to the unfamiliar. Here are some travel tips to ensure that you and your cat have a safe and happy holiday season. 

Determine if your Cat will be a Good Traveler

Some cats are good travelers while other cats are not. To determine if your cat is a comfortable traveler, try a test run before the trip. If your cat becomes very stressed after just a short trip in the car, it may be a good indication that your feline friend is not a good traveler and it may be best if your cat stays home for the holidays. It is also very important to have your cat familiar with its carrier before your trip.

Preparing your Cat for Travel

Whether you are traveling with your cat by plane or automobile, here are some preparations that are recommended before your departure.

1)Ensure your cat has proper identification using a collar and ID tag or a microchip. This is essential if your cat becomes lost on your trip.

2Schedule a visit for your cat with your Guelph Veterinarian to ensure that your feline friend is in good health to travel and is up to date on all necessary vaccinations. In particular, your veterinarian should asses your cat’s cardiac status and kidney health.

3For air travel, ensure that the proper travel documentation has been competed including a Health Certificate signed by your Guelph Veterinarian. The travel documentation will depend on the travel destination. Domestic air travel is usually fairly simple and only requires a health certificate for travel. International travel can be more complex and the travel documentation process can take up to 6 months to complete. Allow yourself plenty of time to complete this essential documentation for your cat before your departure date.

4Ensure that your cat’s carrier is suitable for travel. For air travel, it is best to use a soft-sided airline approved carrier if your cat will be traveling in the cabin of the plane with you. Speak with your air line provider regarding pet travel before planning your trip with your cat. For automobile travel, it is best to ensure that your cat is secured in a sturdy carrier in the back seat when traveling. Do not allow your cat to roam free in the car or sit in your lap. Although a tempting way to help reduce your cat’s stress, this causes driving distractions and could cause a potential accident. If possible, have someone sit next to your cat in the carrier to help reduce traveling stress for your feline friend.

5)Plan ahead for accommodation on road trips. Some hotels and motels do not allow cats to stay or require an extra fee or cleaning deposit. It is best to call hotels or motels ahead of time to ensure that your cat has a place to stay while on the road. If you and your cat will be staying with relatives or friends, ensure that your cat will have access to their own sanctuary room. The sanctuary room should have a litter box, water, food dishes and hiding places. This gives your cat all the comforts of home, in a confined, safe place which increases their sense of security. 

6)Consider travel remedies to ease your cat’s travel anxieties. If your cat is still experiencing travel anxiety, there are a few remedies that can help. Feliway is a cat pheromone product that can be sprayed in the carrier prior to travel and can be an effective way to calm your cat’s travel anxiety. If your cat becomes stressed while travelling, you can speak to your Guelph veterinarian about prescribing tranquilizers or sedatives for the travel. Tranquilizer or sedatives are not recommended for any pets that will be travelling in the cargo area of an air plane. Also, such medications should only be given under the supervision of your Guelph veterinarian. 

There is No Place like Home

To some cats and their owners, the thought of traveling may be simply too stressful. In this situation, your cat may benefit from a stay-vacation while you are away. You may elect to keep your cat in your home and have a pet sitter look after your cat daily. You may also chose to board your cat at a cat lodging facility in Guelph. Here at the Guelph Cat Clinic’s Kitty Condo’s, we provide a 5-star vacation that allows your cat to feel like home.  The Kitty Condos provide the comforts of home through live budgies providing 24 hours round the clock entertainment to their guests, relaxing garden window views, climbers and scratchers that promote exercise in your kitty, and twice daily meal times. The Kitty Condos also feature spacious suites with multi-level living areas and a private litter box area that allows your cat to feel just as comfortable as being at home. Your cat will enjoy their stay-vacation at the Kitty Condos.

For more information about the Kitty Condos, please visit:

Dr. Maggs and the staff at the Guelph Cat Clinic, hope that these travel tips will help you and your cats have happy and safe travel, whether for the holiday season, or any time of the year.  

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