How to Travel With a Cat: Tips for a Low-Stress Trip

Are you planning a trip with your cat? Our vets at Grenada have some helpful tips to make traveling more comfortable for both you and your furry friend.

Preparing for a Trip With Your Cat

If you're planning to travel with your cat, whether it's for a move, visiting a friend, or going on vacation, there are some important things to consider. One of the crucial factors is ensuring that your cat's vaccinations and parasite prevention are up to date. Each state has different regulations regarding pet vaccinations.

In most states, it is required by law to keep your cat's rabies vaccine current. Therefore, before you embark on your trip, it's essential to visit your veterinarian to make sure your cat's core vaccines are updated.

Your veterinarian will assess if your cat needs additional vaccinations against common diseases in the area you're traveling to and provide treatment or prevention for any parasites. Additionally, if you're traveling with your cat, you will need a current health certificate stating that your pet meets the health requirements of your destination.

Different Preparations for Different Journeys 

Are you planning to travel with your cat? No matter how you choose to get there or how far you're going, it's important to think about various things and be ready for different situations. In this article, we'll cover everything you need to know about traveling with a cat in a car, on a plane, and even on a train or ship. We'll also explain the process of getting an animal health certificate for your furry friend. 

Traveling by Car With Your Cat

Buy a Suitable Cat Carrier 

Cats are generally uneasy when traveling by car, so it's best to keep them in a carrier for their safety and yours. Make sure to secure the carrier with a seat belt to avoid any bouncing and potential harm to your cat.

Bring a Person Designated to Care for Them 

To ensure your cat's comfort during the journey, it's ideal to have someone accompany and provide reassurance while they ride in the back seat.

Don't Place Your Cat in the Front Seat 

Keep your cat's carrier secured in the back seat(s) of your vehicle to ensure their safety because even when your cat is in a carrier, the front seat airbags may deploy, posing a danger to your pet.

Keep Your Cat's Head Inside the Vehicle 

To keep your cat safe, avoid letting their head stick out of the window as debris could hit them or the cold air might harm their lungs. Also, never transport your cat in the open bed of a pickup truck.

Bring Cat Litter if the Trip is Longer Than 6 Hours 

If your road trip is shorter than 6 hours, your cat will likely be fine in a standard carrier. If your cat will need to be in their carrier longer than that timeframe, you'll need a larger accommodation that allows space for a small litter box. It's a good idea to check with your vet before traveling for advice on the type of carrier or kennel best suited for your cat's needs and the journey ahead. 

Don't Ever Leave Your Cat in the Car Alone

Leaving your cat alone in a car can be extremely dangerous. The heat inside a car can rise quickly and put your pet's health at risk. Even on a 72-degree Fahrenheit day, the temperature inside your car can reach a scorching 116 degrees within an hour. On an 85-degree day, even with the windows slightly open, the temperature inside your car can reach 102 degrees in just 10 minutes. This can lead to irreversible organ damage or even death for your cat in just 30 minutes. Remember, it's not worth taking any chances with your furry friend's well-being, so never leave them unattended in a vehicle.

How to Travel with a Cat on a Plane

Are cats fond of air travel? Well, the simple answer is no, but it becomes necessary in some situations. Let's explore what you must understand when flying with your feline companion.

Air Travel Can be Dangerous for Cats

Air travel may cause oxygen deprivation or heat stroke in animals, especially Persian cats and other animals with flat faces.

Consider All Alternatives Before Flying

Flying is really stressful for cats, so if you can, we suggest considering an alternative option. Generally, driving is a better choice compared to flying.

Choose an Airline that Will Allow Your Cat in the Cabin

Flying with your cat in the cabin is possible with many airlines, but you'll need to pay an extra fee. It's important to know that while most animals transported in the cargo area are safe, there are cases of animals being harmed, lost, or even killed during commercial flights each year.

This is usually due to extreme temperatures, inadequate ventilation, or rough handling. Regardless of where your cat will be during the flight, informing the airline well in advance is crucial. If your cat needs to be in the cargo hold, make sure to research airlines and choose one with a reliable track record in handling animals.

If You See Something, Say Something

If you see any mistreatment of an animal by an airline, yours or otherwise, make sure you say something about it! You could save a life.

How to Travel with a Cat on a Train

Some pets and service animals are permitted on many trains. You will have to verify with the railway if pets are permitted on your train journey. If they are, then similar guidelines to traveling with a cat in a car apply. Passengers will be expected to exercise and feed their cat(s) at station stops.

How to Travel with a Cat on a Ship

With the exception of assistance dogs, pets are welcome on only a few cruise lines—and usually on ocean crossings only. Some lines permit pets in private cabins, but most confine pets to kennels. Contact your cruise line in advance to find out its policies and which of its ships have kennel facilities. If you must use the ship's kennel, make sure it is protected from the elements and check on your pet frequently.

Obtain a Veterinary Health Certificate For Your Cat 

Planning to bring your pet on your next trip? Make sure to meet the specific health requirements and deadlines set by various travel destinations.

The first step is to contact a vet near Grenada to schedule an appointment and obtain your pet's health certificate.

Remember to bring your contact information, your pet's previous records, details about your destination and travel dates, and any necessary documents like a signed rabies certificate and microchip implantation information.

Don't forget to review the pet travel requirements for your destination and get in touch with your airlines.

If you have any questions about cat and dog travel certificates, our team is here to help, both for travel near Grenada and beyond.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. Please make an appointment with your vet to accurately diagnose your pet's condition.

Prepare ahead for your cat's journey by ensuring that your kitty is up-to-date on their vaccines and free of parasites. Don't forget to obtain your pet's travel health certificate. Contact our Grenada vets to book an appointment today.