Heading out on a journey and wondering "should I travel with my cat?" Our Las Vegas vets offer a few tips on the best way to travel with a cat.

Preparing For Any Trip With Your Cat

If you are planning to travel with your kitty - whether moving, visiting, or going on vacation - you will need to plan. 

One essential point to consider is whether your cat is up-to-date on its vaccines and parasite prevention. Different states have different regulations regarding vaccines for pets but in most states keeping your pet's rabies vaccine current is the law. So be sure to schedule a visit to your veterinarian before you leave so that your cat's core vaccines can be brought up to date, your kitty can be vaccinated against any lifestyle diseases that are common in the place you are headed to, and any parasites can be treated or prevented.

Different Journeys & Different Preparations

Depending on your mode of transportation and the length of the journey, there are several things to consider and plan for. In the sections that follow, we'll go over how to travel with a cat by car, plane, train, or ship.

How to Travel With a Cat in a Car

Purchase a Suitable Cat Carrier

Cats are generally uneasy in cars and should be transported in a carrier for their safety. To prevent the carrier from bouncing around and injuring your cat, use a seat belt to secure it.

Don't Put Your Cat in the Front Seat

Even if your pet is in a carrier, airbag deployment in the front seat can be dangerous to your pet; therefore, keep your cat's carrier restrained in the back seat(s) of your vehicle.

Keep Your Cat's Head Inside the Vehicle

If your cat's head is sticking outside the window, they're at risk of debris striking them or the cold air harming their lungs. Never transport your cat in the back of an open pick-up truck.

Bring a Human Designated to Care for Them

If possible, it is best to have a human who is there to monitor and comfort your cat riding with them in the back seat. This will help your cat feel comfortable during the journey.

If Your Journey is Longer than 6 hours, They'll Need Litter

If your car trip is less than 6 hours, your cat will most likely be fine in a standard carrier. If your cat will need to be in their carrier for an extended period, you will need a larger accommodation that includes space for a small litter box. Before traveling, consult your veterinarian for advice on the type of kennel or carrier that is best suited to your cat's needs and the journey ahead.

Don't Ever Leave Your Cat in the Car Alone

Leaving a cat alone in a car is dangerous to its health. Heat is dangerous to pets, and what appears to be a short period for you may be an eternity for your feline companion. When the temperature outside is 72 degrees, the temperature inside your car can quickly rise to 116 degrees. Even with the windows slightly open on an 85-degree day, the temperature inside your car can quickly reach 102 degrees. Even if you don't expect to be gone for that long, it's not worth the risk of irreversible organ damage or death after only 30 minutes alone in a vehicle.

How to Travel with a Cat on a Plane

Do cats like to travel by air? The short answer, of course, is no, but sometimes it cannot be avoided. Here are the things you should know about traveling with a cat by plane.

Air Travel Can be Dangerous for Cats

Air travel can lead to oxygen deprivation or heat stroke in animals. Perisian cats in particular are susceptible to these effects, as are other animals with "smushed-in" faces.

Consider All Alternatives Before Flying

Because flying is so stressful for cats, we recommend taking another option if possible. Driving is generally superior to flying, there may be boarding options available that can let your cat relax comfortably at a home away from home.

Chose an Airline that Will Allow Your Cat in the Cabin

Many airlines will allow you to fly with your cat in the cabin with you, for an additional fee. While most animals flown in the cargo area of airplanes are fine, you should be aware that some animals are killed, injured, or lost on commercial flights each year. Excessively hot or cold temperatures, poor ventilation, and rough handling are often to blame. in either case, you must inform the airline well in advance that you are bringing your cat with you. If you must travel with your animal in the cargo hold, research airlines and select one with a good reputation for animal handling.

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 must check with the railway to see if your pet is permitted on the train. If they are, the same rules apply as when traveling in a car with a cat. Passengers will be expected to exercise and feed their cats at station stops.

How to Travel with a Cat on a Ship

Except for assistance dogs, pets are only permitted on a few cruise lines and usually only on ocean crossings. Pets are permitted in private cabins on some cruise lines, but the vast majority confine pets to kennels. To learn about your cruise line's policies and which ships have kennel facilities, contact them ahead of time. If you must use the ship's kennel, make sure it is weatherproof and that you keep a close eye on your pet.

Prepare ahead for your cat's journey by ensuring that your kitty is up-to-date on their vaccines, free of parasites, and in good overall health. Contact Island Pet Hospital today to book an examination for your feline friend.