Going on a road trip is exciting for everyone except for cat owners, right? Wrong! It can still be fun even when your kitty is with you.
Once you learn how to travel with a cat and a litter box on a road trip, you can take your buddy with you on all of your adventures!
You’re probably wondering how that’s possible. Long story short, here’s what you’ve got to do:
- Visit Your Vet
- Buy Portable or Disposable Litter Box
- Consider Getting a Travel Carrier
- Familiarize Your Cat with Your Carrier
- Go for a Test Drive
- Pack Well!
- Pre-Road Meal
- Keep Your Cat in the Carrier
- Potty Breaks
- Lunch Stops
Curious about the details? Read on to find out!
How To Travel With A Cat And Litter Box in 10 Steps
There are plenty of things you can do to guarantee an enjoyable road trip with your cat.
1. Visit Your Vet
First things first, before you embark on your journey with your little buddy, you should visit your vet.
This is crucial to ensure that the little guy is healthy before you head out. You don’t want your cat falling sick in the first 10 miles, do you?
It won’t hurt to let the doctor know you’re going on a trip. Chances are your vet knows your cat more than you. He might provide some helpful tips on the things you might encounter! But don’t worry if you forget that, we’ve got your back! We’ll
2. Buy Portable Or Disposable Litter Box
You’re probably worried about the litter situation on the road. Don’t fret! There are two different solutions to that issue!
In case you’re not familiar, there’s this thing now called a portable litter box. It’s a flexible box that’s usually collapsible.
The interior of the box is waterproof so that you can easily clean it. This one also has a zipper so you can keep it closed to trap the smell. It can also work as a storage bag. It even comes with a bowl and a litter scoop!
Disposable litter boxes are worth considering too. They could be a good idea if you don’t really do that much traveling. Rather than cleaning the litter box, just throw it away! It’s certainly an easy, hassle-free choice!
A clumping litter would certainly be the most practical type to have on the road.
Once your pet, also known as your master, is done doing his business, this litter automatically clumps that can be easily scooped, leaving behind the remaining litter as good as new.
This would not only help you avoid the smell, but it keeps your litter clean so that it can last for longer periods. You don’t have to pack several litter boxes with you if you do so. Depending on how long you’re traveling for, one, or two at most, should do!
Don’t forget to make sure they’re scented. Believe us, it makes a difference!
Even if you’re used to non-clumping litter, we don’t recommend taking them with you. This would mean one of two things: you’ll either end up with a smelly litter the whole way, or you’ll have to throw the litter away after every single use.
Not only does the latter mean a lot of effort and inconvenience, but it would also mean hauling several boxes of litter with you!
3. Consider Getting A Travel Carrier
You could skip this step altogether if you’d rather use the carrier you already own. But we recommend at least looking at a travel carrier, especially if you have two cats.
Road trips are likely to be long and exhausting. The best thing about travel carriers is that they give your kitty the room he needs.
The Necoichi Portable Carrier Set, for instance, isn’t only roomy for two cats, but it also comes with its own portable litter box. You can keep the box inside with your cat so that he can go whenever he feels like it.
Most of these carriers are see-through. They’re likely made of mesh or a similar fabric. This can be indispensable to your cat. Whenever he feels stressed or nervous, he can simply peer through the windows to see your face to feel safe and reassured.
Some travel carriers can be opened from the sides as well as the front. This is pretty convenient on the road! Whether you place the carrier vertically or horizontally, you can always open the side that’s not crammed.
[Related Article: Do Cats Come Back Home After They Run Away Or Go Missing]
4. Familiarize Your Cat With Your Carrier
It’s safe to say that every cat owner knows the struggle of getting cats inside the carries. The lengths we go to in order to trick the little furballs are oscar-worthy.
A trick we’ve learned over the years is to avoid storing the carrier after each use. This is bad because once the cats hear the sound or see the carrier, they’ll instantly remember the latest infernal experience at the vet. Good luck catching them after they freak out!
Leaving the carrier out all the time is a great way of getting cats used to it. We’ve put a little cat bed in there and left the door open so that they use it as a bed/house.
This way, once it’s time to get them inside, we simply scoop them up and place them inside the carrier.
It wouldn’t hurt to put the litter box in the carrier while you’re home too. This way, your kitty gets used to the idea of, you know, inside the carrier.
5. Go for a Test Drive
Has your cat ever been on a car ride? If so, how did he respond to it? Was he nervous? Did he get sick?
Believe it or not, cats can also get car sickness. Its symptoms are excessive drooling, crying out, being too afraid to move, vomiting, regurgitation, urinating, and/or defecating.
You need to be aware of whether your cat suffers from this condition. Take him for a test drive and see how that’ll go!
If any of these symptoms appear, try reassuring your cat. It’d be best if there’s someone with you driving the car so that you can focus your attention on your little one.
Hold him, pat him, whisper reassurances in his ear. Try to make him feel safe to get him used to the car motion and noise.
You should probably consult a vet if these things don’t make a difference. After a brief checkup to make sure that there’s nothing physically wrong, the vet should tell you how to deal exactly with the car sickness.
6. Pack Well!
Packing is the key to having a successful, problem-free road trip with your kitty. Not having what you need can make both your lives miserable.
All Of The Medications
The very first thing you should pack is your cat’s medication. If your vet has prescribed him anything specific for the ride, make sure to pack this at first.
It’s also better if you pack anything else that your cat usually takes. It’s better to have it with you just in case, right?
Consider packing things to melt away stress and anxiety. Not for you, but for the cat!
Even if your cat is chill, a road trip can be super stressful. Here are some options you could consider. But we recommend talking them over with your vet to avoid any potential side effects.
Composure treats are a good place to start. They don’t work for everyone, but they are recommended by vets. Their biopeptide blend reduces the cat’s stress.
We’ve tried them several times; they sure do have a calming effect. They’re no magic pills, so don’t expect your cat to do a 180. But they can calm down your furball a little.
Make sure you don’t feed your cat more than the stated amount, or else your cat could overdose and you’d need to seek immediate medical help.
A lot of people swear by calming collars. They release pheromones that curb your cat’s worries and keep his anxiety at bay.
Before we get into this, has your cat come across catnip before? How did he respond to it? Make sure you know the answer to that question before you consider using catnip.
If you’re not sure what catnip is, it’s practically kitty marijuana. For real!
Cats sort of get high when they smell catnip. It’s like a drug but it’s completely safe for your kitty with zero side effects.
Not all cats respond similarly. Upon smelling catnip, most cats usually go a little crazy. If you get them a toy with catnip, they’ll frantically rub their faces against it, bite-kick it, and go a little crazy while playing with it.
Catnip can be fed to cats as well. This supposedly has a higher calming effect.
Much to our surprise, some cats don’t really get what the fuss is about. They just lay around casually after sniffing the catnip a couple of times.
Some cats can be sensitive to that herb, so make sure yours isn’t. Once you get the nod of approval to use it, you can get a catnip spray and sprinkle a toy you’ll be taking with you. This would be a good distraction on the road. It might even coax your kitty into playing!
Pheromone sprays are made of simulated pheromones that signal a sense of safety for your cat.
These sprays aren’t foolproof. Some people swear they’re “magic,” while others found that they have no effect at all. Bear that in mind before you get them; you won’t know whether it’ll work for your little guy unless you try it.
Calming your cat can be as simple as packing up some things he can enjoy.
Don’t skip the toys! Even if your cat doesn’t end up playing with them, their presence in the carrier with him could lend them some comfort. Especially if he has a favorite toy.
Treat your little furball! He might turn you down at first, but when he gets used to the drive, he might give in to the desire to munch them down.
Something That Smells Like Home
Home is where the heart is. This is especially true when it comes to cats. They get attached to their home in ways we’ll never understand.
Pack up a thing or two that smell like home. It could be as simple as his blanket or one of your old clothes.
[Related Article: 12 Great Tips You Must Know To Train Your Cat Like A Dog]
This is super important. Bring a leash or a harness to make sure your buddy doesn’t get lost. When terrified, cats can run in different directions for no reason. Make sure the leash is on whenever the door is open to avoid a Garfield situation.
Bring your buddy’s food bowl to serve food during your stops.
You might want to think about getting some wet food for the road. Your cat won’t be drinking as much as he does at home, so you want to avoid the possibility of dehydration.
Water Bowl or On-The-Go Bottle
While you could pack up a water bowl, we suggest getting an on-the-go water bottle.
Technically speaking, they’re designed for dogs, but they work just as well for kitties. It’ll be more convenient for you than having to fill up and empty a bowl, especially since it can splash around in the car leaving a mess behind.
First Aid Kit
Having a pet first-aid kit with you would be a wise decision. You never know when you’re going to need it.
The kit contains bandages, antiseptic wipes, tweezers, gauze, etc. There’s also a guide to help you through the process if you ever need to use it.
7. Pre-Road Meal
Before you hit the road, you might want to feed your cat well. But not too well, though.
He’ll probably be too stressed to eat well on the road, so make sure he gets enough food and water beforehand.
At the same time, don’t overfeed him to the point that encourages throwing up the moment he gets in the car, especially if he gets carsick.
8. Keep Your Cat In The Carrier
Keeping your cat inside his carrier while the car is moving is important for both of you.
If he gets out, he can be cute and cuddly until someone honks and scares the life out of him. The scare itself could lead to an unfortunate accident. Not to mention that your cat could jump down near the pedals.
If you’re not the driver, it’s possible to let him out of the car. Make sure you hold the leash, however, in case he jumps off.
9. Potty Breaks
You’re going to need to make frequent stops to give your cat a potty break. Don’t expect him to go during the ride because it could be too stressful.
A stop every 2 or 3 hours should do the trick.
You can place the litter box inside the carrier. If it doesn’t work, we recommend moving it to the trunk of the car. This would give your cat a sense of safety away from the scary outside world.
[Related Article: What Smells Deter Cats From Peeing And What Can I Spray]
10. Lunch Stops
Your cat would also need lunch breaks. He’ll be likely too stressed to eat while in the car, so make sure you give him time to eat on his own.
Bonus: General Do’s And Don’ts Of Cat Traveling
There are other things that can make your road trip go even smoother!
Don’t Leave Your Cat In The Car
Just like babies, you should never leave your cat unattended inside the car. Even if you crack the window, the already-hot car could grow even hotter.
If there’s no one to switch cat-sitting shifts with you, go do what you’ve got to do and come straight back. Don’t sit, have lunch, dessert, and a drink while your little one is in the car alone. Take your meal to go, for instance.
Kitty ID And/Or Microchip
Update your cat’s collar tag so that if he ever does get lost, there would be a way for someone to reach you when they bump into him.
This is also a good time to consider getting a microchip for your little one. It’s the safest option in case things don’t go according to plan.
If your cat ever gets lost, the one who’ll find him can scan the microchip implant to get your contacts and arrange a meetup.
Remember that not all hotels/motels/inns/resorts allow pets. Before heading out, make sure to call and make sure everywhere you’re staying can accommodate your little furball.
The Bottom Line
That’s all! Now you know how to travel with a cat and litter box on a road trip. See? There’s no reason why you shouldn’t!
It’s all about knowing what to do, how to prepare, and what to pack. Actually, scratch that, it’s all about keeping your furball happy and comfy. If this happens, nothing but adventure awaits you!
May you have a safe, purr-filled trip!