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How to travel with a cat, according to a veterinarian

Travel can be a nightmare. Packing, traffic, security lines, costs — what we went through just to get away is pretty amazing. But traveling with a cat is a whole other issue that I have personally dealt with.

In 2016, I moved from California to upstate New York with my two cats, Daisy and Fredo. With long layovers between flights, he had eight hours of travel time throughout the day. Neither cat enjoyed the trip. Daisy roared and hung around the carrier the whole time, but Fredo froze at one point and refused to make eye contact with me.

how to travel with a cat

Dr. M. Kathleen Shaw of Latham Animal Hospital in Latham, New York, says these types of reactions are common in anxiety-prone cats. The trick is to do whatever you can in advance to keep your fur baby calm.

Using Feliway, available as a spray or wipe, is one way to do that. “It’s a calming pheromone,” she says. “We can’t smell it, but cats can. It’s proven to reduce stress and seems to really help a lot of cats when they’re traveling.” Put something in your carrier that smells like you, like a t-shirt.

Feliway Adaptil Cat Comfort Wipes, 12 Ct

Gildan Blank T-shirt

Before you leave for car or air travel, make sure you have the items you need to keep your cat safe. “Always have a copy of your cat’s medical records,” says Dr. Shaw. “And give the cat an ID tag with your cell phone number on it.”

ROAD iD Cat ID Tag

I found it useful to have a few extra items.

Disposable pads that absorb urine and make the carrier a little more comfortable.

DryFur Pet Carrier Insert Pad Size Small 19.5

Moist wipes, a small trash bag, and disposable gloves to clean cat poop from your carrier.

Pet grooming wipes for dogs and cats

nice little trash bag

SAFESKIN disposable nitrile gloves in POP-N-GO* packs

Harnesses and leads in case the carrier needs to be cleaned in transit.

Catit Nylon Adjustable Cat Harness and Lead Set Large Black

A small container containing dry goods.

Travel collapsible dog bowl, 2 pack

Water bowl and bottled water provided during transit.

Prima Pet Expandable/Collapsible Silicone Food & Water Travel Bowl

Should I give my cat anxiety medication while traveling?

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