Your cat may not get as excited about a car ride as a dog does, but that doesn’t mean you won’t have to take her on road trips. Veterinarian appointments, moving to a new home, or even stays at a kitty motel, all require safe car travel.
Making your kitten comfortable in the car will make for a smoother trip down the road—even if you don't have any upcoming trips on your calendar.
First of all, be sure your kitten is relaxed inside her carrier so she has her own calm, happy space during the ride.
Even if she doesn't seem fearful of car rides, keeping your kitten in her carrier is important for her safety. Cats can be squirmy and whether she plays or something spooks her, hiding under the driver's side near the gas and brake pedals is a no-no.
Once she’s comfortable in her carrier, your kitten should be fine for most of the drive. Place her carrier in a secure spot to help it stay upright during the trip.
Vacations or moves involving longer trips will require more preparation than the quick jaunt to your veterinarian’s office, so take these extra steps for drives that last longer than an hour or two.
Keep your kitten harnessed during the trip; be sure her tags are current with the correct contact information, and keep a leash securely attached to her harness when you remove her from the carrier.
Not all cats appreciate a leash, but it’s essential for a road trip if your kitten needs to use the litter box, stretch her legs or eat outside of her crate. The last thing you need is for her to scurry off in an unfamiliar place should something spook her.
Even if your cat won’t go anywhere on a leash, keep it attached and hold onto it when you leave the car with her.
While you don't want to feed your kitten more than you normally would just because you're on the road, it’s important to keep her well hydrated and fed at her normal mealtimes.
Some kittens may get carsick, so be sure to have some cleaning supplies on hand in case there are any accidents along the way.
If your cat is a seasoned traveler, she may not mind eating and drinking while the car is moving, but if she hesitates, give her a food break when you stop the car.
Take a rest stop for both of you. A shoebox lined with plastic and a few inches of litter is the perfect portable litter box for a kitten or small cat. A plastic-lined litter box also allows for quick clean up.
Keep your kitten clean and comfortable afterward by wiping her feet with a washcloth or baby wipe to remove any stray litter that could irritate her during the rest of the drive.
Practice taking your cat on shorter drives until she’s unfazed about car trips. She may not end up hanging her head out the window, lapping up the wind like an eager canine, but that doesn’t mean she can’t be a cooperative traveling companion.