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Everything You Should Know Before Travelling With A Cat: Is It Worth It?

When you see people travelling with a cat, they show you all the positive moments of cat travel. Posting pictures of their cat hiking, canoeing, or walking on the beach. But, what about when the camera isn’t out?

Like when you have to cover all the furniture in the hotel in case your cat destroys it or they’re waking you up at 3:00 A.M. because they have nowhere else to run around? You can buy all the travel cat accessories and follow all the cat travel tips there are. But nothing can truly prepare you for travelling with a cat – there are just too many unknowns…

I’m going to share the realities of travelling with a cat that no one wants to tell you with some cat travel tips to help. This is the good, the bad, and the ugly of cat travel. This way you can decide, is travelling with a cat worth it for you?

Psst! This blog post contains affiliate links in it which sends me a bit of extra money if you use them… at no extra cost to you!

Read This Before You Travel With A Cat...
Useful Resources You Might Need For Travel With A Cat

Book a Pet-Friendly Hotel:  Hilton Pet Friendly Hotels
Car Rentals: Rental Cars at Low, Affordable Rates | Enterprise Rent-A-Car
Travel Safe Carrier: Amazon.com | Amazon.ca
Travel Cat Backpack: Amazon.com | Amazon.ca
Cat Travel Digital Planner: Etsy.com

Other cat travel posts you might want to read…
13 Useful Cat Road Trip Tips To Know Before You Travel With A Cat In A Car

Disclaimer – Every Cat Is Different

Of course, it’s all about your cat. These truths are based on my experience travelling with a cat. As we know, no two cats are the same.

You can have no issues travelling with your cat or it can be 10 times worse than what I’ve experienced with mine. There might even be negatives that I hadn’t even thought of because I haven’t experienced it with my cat.

This is just what surprised me when travelling with a cat that I didn’t expect. I researched so many cat travel tips beforehand, yet these issues never seemed to come up.


Cat Travel Tips: Homebodies Can Still Like To Travel

It’s a well known fact that cats are homebodies. But I’d like to clear the air that just because your cat likes being home, doesn’t mean they won’t like to travel.

My cat loves home. Every time I took him out, he would be so happy to be back home. His tail would shoot straight up in the air with a slight candy cane twist at the end the second he walked out of his carrier and realized where he was.

I didn’t know what to expect the first night staying in a strange place with him. He was curious the whole night – and didn’t sleep for a second. But was he okay, absolutely! And eventually, once he felt safe, I noticed his tail start to become straighter with the curve at the end.

So keep in mind that just because your cat like being home, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t travel with them.

He’s just like me in this sense. I’m such a homebody. I love being surrounded by my things and being in the comfort of my home. But that doesn’t mean I can’t and don’t like travelling.

But, before travelling with a cat, know that cat travel is far from easy…

Look at that curved tail! That’s a truly happy cat!

Is It Good To Travel With A Cat? The Reality Of Cat Travel

Travel With A Cat Might Be Worse Than Traveling With A Baby…

I imagine travelling with a cat is like travelling with a baby…

A baby cries at nauseam, a cat meows uncontrollably… You don’t know what your baby wants and there’s no way you can know what your cat wants. A baby won’t listen to you, and a cat definitely won’t listen to you. You’re responsible for doing everything for your baby, and the same goes for your cat. Essentially, neither a baby or a cat is capable of taking care of themselves.

But then I thought about it, and travelling with a cat might even be worse than travelling with an infant…

With a baby, they tell you when they want something and then you do it. For them most part, they’re complaisant – you feed them, they eat. They also wear a diaper to go the bathroom when they want, and you clean it. And the list goes on.

The ultimate cat travel planner!

My digital cat travel planner template has everything you need to travel with your cat: research pet-friendly places, cat packing lists and checklist. You can print it out or use it digitally on your phone, tablet, or computer.

Now let’s look at travelling with a cat?

Well, they can meow at you but you don’t really know what they want. You can offer them food and water but they’ll probably be too distracted by their surroundings to even touch it.

You can show them the litter box, hope with all your might that they use it before getting on a flight or in a car for 8+ hours. But at the end of the day you can’t force them to use the litter box when you want them to. They don’t understand, and they never will. All you can do is hope they listen to you!


They Add An Extra Stress – You Will Worry About Them

Let’s be real, your cat is like your child. You treat them like your baby and you react to them as though they were your baby.

So, if your kid didn’t eat or drink for an entire day you would start to worry… right? Well the same can be said for your cat. They might not drink or eat or go to the bathroom ALL DAY. And that’s the what it’s like travelling with a cat.

You won’t be able to do anything about it but worry. You will try to feed or water them and then just worry if they ate enough that day or drank enough. All you can do is hope that when they need water, eventually they’ll drink it when you offer it to them.

Cat Travel Tips

You can try to get some things to entice them even more to eat and drink. I bought my cat his favourite protein – chicken – in water (from Purebites on Amazon). You can also just buy wet food to give them. That way he couldn’t resist the temptation to eat despite all the distractions and he was getting some hydration at the same time.

I used this for our days driving but also once we arrived at our final destination, Florida. He was now spending the day entirely outside which he definitely isn’t used to. I was, of course, worried he wasn’t drinking enough water for the heat.

Me trying to entice my cat to drink more water when we brought him to Florida... it didn’t work

They’re An Extra ‘Person’ To Pack For & They Have A Lot Of Things

Again, like travelling a baby, your cat is an extra person you have to pack for. If you’re not used to packing for someone else, there’s a lot to think about.

You have to about bringing everything for them – and trust me – there’s a lot. It’s also very different packing for a cat versus packing for a person… I mean your needs are not the same.
You have to pack enough food to last throughout the whole trip. You have to think about litter – and a travel litter box. Then there are toys and ways to entertain your cat while travelling.

But what really sets packing for a cat a part is what you have to bring to prevent damage wherever you’ll be staying. So you have to think far and beyond what you may use daily at home for your cat. There’s a lot of ‘just in case’ extras you might want to bring.

For example, do you need a couch cover or bitter spray. Or there are also certain travel cat accessories you may want to get like calming spray or collapsible bowls.

And don’t forget you also need space for everything. We were only two people and barely fit in our Subaru Crosstreck. There was no extra room. We didn’t even have room to fit our cats litter box in the car. We used the travel litter box until we ordered a new one once we arrived at our destination. It’s just surprising how much room they actually take up.

The point is, they need a lot of stuff, more than you think – so make sure you have room for it.


Your Destination Might Not Be Well Equipped For Cats

At home, you’ve invested in items to make living with a cat easier and better for you. That’s anything from a cat tree for you cat to scratch and climb on, a quality vacuum for you to deal with the shedding and litter, and most importantly a litter locker for those smelly poops.

Depending on how long you’re away for, this can be more or less of an issue. A few nights in a hotel, you can manage. Six weeks in a small condo and it becomes a bit more of an issue.

First, is there even a good place to put their litter box? What’s the cleaning equipment like? Is there even a vacuum and if there is, is it strong enough to vacuum the fur and litter. If not, these will build up, and the house becomes more of the cats quarters than yours.

We actually had to go buy a vacuum for the remainder of our stay when we brought our cat to Florida with us. It was unbearable to live with the mess. It got so bad that you had to wipe off your feet before getting into bed every night otherwise you’d get litter in the sheets…


Your Cats Routine Will Change… And It Might Not Be For The Better

You’re probably in a routine with your cat at home – they love a good routine. My cat would expect play time in the morning, have a bathroom break, and then explode with zoomies for a second round of play. He also never wanted to miss preying on the squirrels that would visit him on the balcony every morning. After lunch was much needed nap time. Cuddles on the couch had to be no later than 9:00 PM until bed time.

This was our routine. When travelling with a cat, you’ll have to get into a new routine…

Eventually your cat might fall back into a routine while travelling, but it will take some time. We stayed in two hotels when we first hit the road with our cat. He was on edge to say the least in this new location. He had to explore and check out every nook and cranny. He didn’t want to eat, drink, or even look at any of the new and cool toys I bought for him.


When we arrived at our final destination it took our cat a few more days before being able to calm down and fall back into a regular routine. But it wasn’t the same routine we had back home. He also picked up some new bad nasty habits along the way…

Bathroom breaks were in the middle of the night now. This meant that zoomies and craziness was in the middle of the night… and time to destroy things when I wasn’t awake to stop him. He also started hiding under the bed and sleeping on top of the dresser. I thought I had lost him a few times I couldn’t find him.

But then there were also some more welcomed additions to the routine. Every night he came into bed to sleep next to me. He also needed less playtime because he was being so stimulated with his new surroundings.

Percy vs. a gecko in Florida

It’s Like Your Bringing Them Home For The First Time All Over Again…

Travelling with a cat is like you’re bringing your cat home for the first time all over again. Do you even remember that experience? Mine wasn’t great…

My cat freaked out. He immediately ran under the couch to hide. I was nervous to sleep the first few weeks or even leave him home alone. I didn’t know what he was going to get himself into. We also hadn’t settled on a good routine that worked for both of us.

It’s the same thing when you travel with a cat. You’re introducing them to a whole new environment all over again, and as I mentioned, setting up a new routine. Now it’s even more nerve racking because you don’t own anything where you are. If you’re staying in a hotel, Airbnb, or someones house – if your cat destroys something, it isn’t even yours this time.

Meet baby Percy cat!

You May Be Scared To Sleep Or Leave Them Alone

So, is travelling with a cat worth it? I was fine to leave him alone in the house because my cat tends to sleep during the day. But I was scared going to bed every night while travelling with a cat.

Because his routine had changed, he was now up every night and going crazy after he pooped. I would hear him running around, and I was worried he was destroying something.

I had to take shifts with my partner to check on him and the house. See I wasn’t wrong when I said it was like a baby! You’re probably going to be on edge when travelling with a cat . Whether it’s when you leave the house or when it’s time for bed.

So you have to get ready to not sleep or not be able to leave the house… at least until they fall into a new routine or get more comfortable with their environment.


You Can Prepare All You Want There Will Still Be Surprises

You can prepare all you want, but when you travel with a cat you have to be ready for any surprise they send your way – and there will be surprises!

Like I said, there’s going to be a new routine. But you have no way of knowing what that will be before you get there. And you might not like this new routine (I would trade midnight poop and zoomies for anything!).

But a much more unwelcome surprise was when he started biting the couches. I had dealt with this at home, and had a plan to prevent my cat from biting the furniture while travelling. But he still managed to surprise me…

The ultimate digital travel planner bundle for you and your cat!

My digital travel planner template has everything you need to plan your vacation and it’s paired with my cat travel planner.

There were three couches and I only had one large couch cover. For the extra couch that didn’t fit underneath, I was going to use beach towels to cover the arm rests. Plus I use bitter spray if he does end up biting the couch, which should stop him.

What I didn’t account for was my cat running over the towels so violently that he pushed them off. The arm rest was now open for biting! Plus he also discovered that the bottom and the side of the couch were also edible as well.

We ended up buying another couch cover, but that was after three bites to the couch. Now every night we’re stressed he’s going to strike again.


Travelling With A Cat Will Cost You More Than You Think

You shouldn’t travel with your cat because you think you’ll save money. You may be saving money by not putting your cat in a kennel for when you’re away but it still costs you to bring them along.

There are extra pet fees at most hotels and there are also some other more hidden costs you may not have even thought about. And you have to be ready for those…

First, the scary cost – if they destroy something in the hotel room or wherever you’re staying. They are animals after all so this is always a possibility.

If you want to avoid the larger costs if you have to replace something your cat destroys, you may want to invest in some travel cat accessories.


After our cat had bit the couch three times, we invested in another couch cover. This was a life saver but it was also after three bites to the couch. I’m hoping no one will notice…

Next, we also invested in a cat tree when we arrived (we definitely didn’t have room for this in the car). We did bring some travel friendly scratch pads, but I know he likes to scratch a tree a lot more – and it was a huge game changer when it arrived. It gave him his playable space so it also stopped him from attacking the couch.

So think about larger items that you can invest it once you arrive at your destination (or beforehand) that can prevent any damage while travelling with a cat.

Shop Couch Cover On Amazon

Durable outdoor couch cover for patio furniture. Use to cover hotel couches and scratch-able furniture. Large and stays in place, also comes with a pouch for storage.


You May Be Sharing A Small Space When Travelling With A Cat

The benefit of getting a cat is that they don’t need a lot of space. That being said, the more space you have with a cat, the better your life is.

You might have the luxury at home of having a lot of space for your cat to spend his energy and not bother you. When you’re in a hotel room, or renting a small vacation condo, there really isn’t much space for you to each have your own. If they get the zoomies any time during the night, they’re waking you up!

We were staying in a small condo in Florida where our room happened to be next to the bathroom with his litter. Every night for a month he would wake us up when he went. We would hear him vigorously digging to hide his poops. There wasn’t much we could do about this. The litter also got EVERYWHERE!

You might also be interested in reading…

15 Important Tips To Know Before Staying With A Cat In A Hotel


They’re Going To Get Dirtier Than When They’re At Home

This might not apply to you but it’s something that I find isn’t really discussed when travelling with a cat. My cat is an indoor cat. If he ever leaves the house, I give him a bath when we get home. I love cuddling him, he gives me head buts as a kiss on my face and I don’t have to think twice about where he’s been.

That all changes when travelling with a cat. When we walked into the first hotel room and my cat lied down on the carpet, rubbing his face in it, all I could think about was ah there goes the face snuggles!

I know it’s not outside dirty, but I still felt gross about it.

Cat Travel Tips…

You can buy waterless shampoo to clean them on the road. Or I even prefer these cleaning wipes so I can target his paws.


Is Travelling With A Cat Worth It?

So, now you have to decided should you travel with a cat or not. It will always depend on your cat and what kind of trip you’re taking them on.

Travelling With A Cat Is Ultimately Exhausting, Stressful, & Anxiety Inducing…

Just like I’m sure traveling with a baby is exhausting so is travelling with a cat. Only difference? You might have had the option of bringing them along or not in the first place.

Between the planning, packing, training, worrying, and then not getting any sleep. It’s less of a vacation for you more of a vacation for your cat (if they like it!).

Never forget a favourite travel memory

Keep track of your travels every day with my digital and printable travel journal. Use it on the go on your phone or tablet, or print it out!

Depending on where you’re going, and your cat, you might not get any sleep. Or if you do get some sleep it may not be as good as when you’re home.

You’re more stressed. You have to worry about bringing your cat into new environments and you have no idea how they’re going to react. There are so many other new things to worry about when travelling with a cat. But is it worth it…?


Cat Travel Tips: It’s All About Both You And Your Cats Happiness

Should you travel with a cat, there’s a lot extra to think about so you have to decide – is it worth it? At the end of the day it all depends on you and your cat.

It’s definitely easier to just drop them off at someones house or at the cat kennel and not think about them for a week or two. But I know my cat is much happier with us than he is with anyone else.

He’s a homebody but if I’m going to bring him to stay with somebody else, that’s way worse than coming on a trip with us. It’s more stressful for him being in a new location and with new people. So although while travelling with a cat, the location isn’t consistent, at least I am.

You might also be interested in reading…

How To Prepare A Cat For Travel: Training Tips & More

The other option you have to decide is, is it better to travel with a cat or leave them at home? So now he’s comfortable with the location but no ones there with him. This, once again all depends on your cat. I’ve noticed my cat really loves human touch, he doesn’t like being left alone for too long and can’t go too long without a good cuddle.

But ask yourself these questions for your cat. Would they be happier travelling with you, staying at home, or with someone else?

I swear he’s smiling at me!

I’m So Happy We Travelled With My Cat And My Cat Was Too

Despite all the worry and not really sleeping for a month I could not imagine doing this trip without my cat.

Not only did I love having him for entertainment and I didn’t miss out on any night time cuddles, but I also think he love the experience too. He’s happy at home, but boy, I’ve never seen such a happier cat. Every morning he would ask to go outside to stare out the window all day.

I would watch him staring out the window, barely able to keep his eyes open. Then he would sleep with me every night which he didn’t do at home. I think he was thanking me for bringing him along for the journey!

Never forget a favourite travel memory

Keep track of your travels every day with my digital and printable travel journal. Use it on the go on your phone or tablet, or print it out!

Is this a happy cat or what!?
Useful Resources You Might Need For Travel With A Cat

Book a Pet-Friendly Hotel:  Hilton Pet Friendly Hotels
Car Rentals: Rental Cars at Low, Affordable Rates | Enterprise Rent-A-Car
Travel Safe Carrier: Amazon.com | Amazon.ca
Travel Cat Backpack: Amazon.com | Amazon.ca
Cat Travel Digital Planner: Etsy.com

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Read This Before You Travel With A Cat...
Read This Before You Travel With A Cat...

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