How to travel with a cat according to a veterinarian

Traveling can be a nightmare. Packing, traffic, security lines, cost – it’s pretty amazing what we put ourselves through to escape. But traveling with cats is an entirely different matter, one that I deal with personally.

In 2016 I moved from California to New York with my two cats, Daisy and Fredo. There was a long wait between flights, so we had a good eight hours of travel time throughout the day. None of the cats enjoyed the journey; While Daisy howled and fluttered around her carrier the entire time, Fredo froze at one point and refused to make eye contact with me.

how to travel with a cat

From Latham Animal Hospital in Latham, New York, Dr. M. Kathleen Shaw says such reactions are common in anxiety-prone cats. The trick is to do your best beforehand to keep your furry baby calm.

Using Feliway, available as a spray or wipe, is one way to do this. “It’s a calming pheromone,” he says. “We can’t smell it, but cats can. It’s been proven to reduce stress and appears to really help many cats when they travel.” Another option is to put something that smells like you, such as a T-shirt, in the carrier.



Feliway Adaptil Cat Comfort Wipes, 12 Ct



Gildan Blank T-Shirt


Before embarking on any road or plane trip, make sure you have the necessary items to keep your cat safe. Dr. “Always keep a copy of your cat’s medical records with you,” says Shaw. “And put an ID tag on your cat with your cell phone number.” In this way, if your cat escapes while you are on the road, you can be reached.

PATH ID Cat ID Tag


I found it helpful to have a few additional items:

A disposable pad to absorb any urine and make the carrier a little more comfortable.

DryFur Pet Carrier Attachment Pads Size Small 19.5in x 12.5in Blue - 2 Pack


Damp wipes, small garbage bags and disposable gloves for cleaning cat poop from the carrier.

Pet Grooming Wipes for Dogs and Cats



Happy Little Garbage Bags



SAFESKIN Disposable Nitrile Gloves in POP-N-GO* Package


A harness and leash in case we need to open it during transport to clean the carrier.

Catit Nylon Adjustable Cat Harness and Leash Set, Large, Black


A small container with dry treats.

Foldable Dog Bowls for Travel, 2-Pack


A water bowl and a bottle of water that we will provide during our stay.

Prima Pet Expandable/ Collapsible Silicone Food and Water Travel Container


Should you give your cat anxiety medication while traveling?

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