Are you about to embark on a road trip with your cat? Driving long distances in the car with your cat and then staying with a cat in a hotel is no easy feat but it can be done if you’re ready for it!
You’re about to rock your cats world by driving for several hours and then not going back to the comfort of their home. I stayed in a hotel with my cat when we drove from Montreal to Florida.
To make the journey as seamless as possible for your feline friend, here are my top 15 cat road trip tips for staying with a cat in a hotel that I learned.
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!
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
More cat travel posts you might be interested in reading…
Everything You Should Know Before Travelling With A Cat | 13 Tips For Travelling With A Cat In A Car
My Experience – Staying In A Hotel With A Cat…
As I mentioned, my experience staying in a hotel with a cat comes from driving across the Canada/US border from Montreal to Florida.
We spent three days driving in the car and 2 days with a cat in a hotel room overnight (and then we did it all over again on the way back!).
All around it was successful staying with a cat in a hotel room but that didn’t mean we weren’t in for a few surprises. It’s important to be ready for the worst when staying in a hotel with a cat. So here are my cat road trip tips for staying in a hotel with a cat.
15 Tips For Staying With A Cat In A Hotel
1. Try To Get Your Cat Used To Staying In Different Locations
Similar to taking your cat in the car and getting them used to the carrier and the car the same should be said for hotels. This doesn’t mean you have to start staying in a hotel with a cat before your trip…
But it is important to get your cat used to going to new locations outside of their home for extended periods of time. For example, try bringing your cat over to a friends house for a few hours, next try leaving them overnight.
Our cat was used to going to my parents house, staying at my sisters house, and even being in a cat kennel for anywhere up to a few hours to a few weeks.
2. Try A Calming Diffuser
If your cat is nervous in a new location, try to get them some things that may help calm them down when you arrive.
My cat loves chewing on silver vine sticks. I find if I give him one after play time, he calms down afterwards. So I brought a bunch of those for him to chew on while in the hotel room.
You can also try Feliway spray or they even sell diffusers that you can plug into the wall in the hotel room.
If you think your cat will still be really on edge sleeping in a new location, you can have your vet prescribe a stronger medication. Speak to them and see what they recommend.
Cat Road Trip Tips: Shop Ways To Keep You Cat Calm When Staying In A Hotel On Amazon
3. Map Out & Book A Pet Friendly Hotel Room Before You Leave
When going on a road trip with your cat, planning where you stay is a bit more crucial than if you were without them. You have to stay in pet friendly hotel rooms which are less common.
Do the research before you leave and have a few options of pet friendly hotel rooms along you route. We mapped out our general route and found places within an hour and a half of each other. We figured that was a good radius of how far we could drive in one day. Had a closer option and one a bit further because you can never know exactly where you’re going to be until the day of.
At 12:00 P.M. on the day of the drive, once we had a better idea of where we were stopping, we would book one of the options.
Cat Road Trip Tips: Finding Pet Friendly Hotel Rooms
La Quinta hotels is a good option to look for along your route. I believe all La Quinta hotels are pet friendly and your pets actually stays for free here.
Our choice of pet friendly hotels was the Hampton Inn. There is a charge for your pet that varies from branch to branch. And! NOT ALL HAMPTON INNS ARE PET FRIENDLY! This can be the case for most chain hotels. It depends on the individual branch policy.
But I enjoy staying at Hampton Inns on the road because of the breakfast included. It just makes waking up and leaving early that much easier and quicker. Plus the cost of breakfast cancels off paying for our cat in the hotel. Hilton also have a good loyalty program which adds up quickly!
The Hilton App was very useful for finding the pet friendly Hampton Inns. We were able to book our room, check in, and check out all through the app!
4. Cat Proof A Hotel Room To Prevent Damage As Much As Possible
Cats will be cats no matter where they are. Depending on your cat, bring things to prevent as much damage to the hotel room as possible.
4.a. Scratching Areas
Our cat doesn’t really scratch furniture because at home we give him tons of scratch pad options. So, staying with a cat in a hotel is no different. Bring scratch pads for your cat to use! I found more travel friendly scratching options. There’s corrugated cardboard on Amazon or this flat and easily packable scratching rug.
If your cat still has their nails, make sure to cut them before leaving so if they do scratch something the damage is minimal. (Shop pair of nail clippers on Amazon).
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.
4.b. Bitter Spray To Prevent Biting
If your cat is a biter, bring bitter spray to prevent them from biting the furniture (or anything else you don’t want them chewing on).
4.c. Couch Covers
Just in case, we even brought an outdoor couch cover. You can also use blankets, but we found this one on Amazon that folds up into a pouch for easy travel. Plus, it’s large enough to wrap around a big couch and wont fall off.
5. Thoroughly Check The Hotel Room Before Letting Your Cat Out
This just might be the most important step to cat proof a hotel room. Before letting your cat out of their carrier look around the hotel room. See if there are any places your cat can squeeze into or fall behind and get stuck.
Look behind the behind if there’s a space between the wall, behind dressers, underneath dressers or the bed …etc. Even after doing this, your cat will surprise you. Trust me. But you’ll just be more prepared for staying in a hotel with a cat the next time around…
The first time staying with a cat in a hotel, there was a crack between the wall and the bed. We covered it up, but apparently not well and our cat got in there.
But what really surprised us was how he got stuck behind the TV stand. Our cat jumped up onto the dresser on one side, then jumped down behind it. Only problem – he wasn’t able to get out the same way he got in. He freaked out for a bit until he got him out. So we had to move the furniture around a bit so there weren’t any more gaps.
If possible, train your cat to come when you call…
Before going on your trip, train your cat to come when you call. This was a life saver in this situation. When didn’t know where we was, or couldn’t pull him out from behind the bed, I called him – and he came running!
You can also try to shake a bag of treats to get them to come out of hiding.
6. Put The Do Not Disturb Sign On Even If You Aren’t Leaving The Room!
This one may seem obvious but do it even if you aren’t planning on leaving when staying with a cat in a hotel room. It’s just an easy precautionary thing you should always do.
You don’t want any one walking in by accident for house keeping and your cat running out.
7. Tips For Leaving A Cat Alone In A Hotel Room: Carrier & Leash
Even if you aren’t planning on leaving the room when staying in a hotel with a cat, things come up and you might have to. Maybe you forgot something in the car, or you have to run out to pick up dinner…etc.? You have two options for what to do when leaving a cat alone in a hotel room.
A hotel might have rules when leaving a cat alone in a hotel room so double check what your hotels policy is. Most of the time, it’s to leave them in their carrier.
If you do need to leave them in the carrier when leaving a cat alone in a hotel room, this is where carrier training beforehand can come in handy. If you can, train your cat to be as comfortable locked in his carrier as possible. My cat loves his carrier in the car, but if I leave him locked in there and I leave the room he FREAKS OUT!
So I’ve instead came up with another solution to leaving a cat alone in a hotel room. I learned how to to tie him to something with a leash and harness (you can get one on Amazon here). Make sure there’s nothing he can try and jump onto in the area. My cat has tried to jump onto dressers and failed by being pulled back by the leash.
8. Surround Them With Their Things From Home
When staying with a cat in a hotel, try to surround them as much as possible with their things. That includes their carrier, or bed they sleep in at home.
I bring their favourite toys to play with. Bring as many things from home as possible to make them feel the most comfortable in this strange place.
That also includes bringing their regular litter…
9. Travel Litter Box Tips When Staying With a Cat in a Hotel
There are small travel litter boxes you can buy that are perfect for a road trip with a cat. You’re able to close it up and easily carry it back and forth from the car to the hotel.
I’d avoid buying the single use mini litter boxes that come with prepackaged litter. There are a few reasons for this…
For one it’s usually not the best quality litter that’s provided. If you are letting your cat use it on the ride it’s usually dustier and not as good at stopping the smell.
And second, litter is surprisingly very important to a cats behaviour. Your cat is already being introduced to so many new changes – don’t also change their litter on them. Remember, you want to keep as many things as constant as you can.
Using the same litter that you do at home is one of the best ways to do that. Your cat is already used to it, you know they like it, why would you change it? I even went as far as taking the old litter on the car ride (don’t worry I cleaned it out first!). But this way it already even smelled like him – he knew it was his!
Also don’t forget to show them where you’ve put the litter box in the hotel room. You may also have to show them a few times where it is.
10. Get To The Hotel Earlier Rather Than Later
If you can, try to get to the hotel earlier in the evening rather than later. First, I noticed my cat handled driving during the day better than night time driving.
Second, by arriving earlier to the hotel, it gives your cat more time to explore and get comfortable with their new surroundings before bed (this also possibly means a better sleep for you!). You’ll maybe even have time to play with them for a bit to let out some pent up energy.
11. Be Prepared – They Will Roll Around On The Carpet And It’s Gross!
This is one of those things that I didn’t think about beforehand. My cat is pretty much an indoor cat. When and if we do bring him outside or to someone’s house, we give him a bath when we get back. That isn’t really an option at a hotel and when you’re on the road for a few days…
Now this all depends on your cat, but my cat LOVES carpets. The second he started rolling around on the hotel room carpet all I could think about is that a bath was not possible. I mean I know they clean the carpets in hotels but how well? It’s probably just vacuumed and that’s it. What about the people walking with their shoes or spilling things on the carpet. My cat wasn’t going to be getting any more kisses from me that’s for sure!
If this is something you’re concerned with, you can try two things. Either try to find a renovated hotel room with a floor instead of carpet. OR you can buy a waterless spray shampoo you can try and use. I really like using these cleaning wipes for cleaning his paws – they also help stop their dander.
12. Try To Play With Your Cat – They’ve Been Sleeping All Day
Once you arrive at your hotel room, don’t just ignore your cat for the rest of the evening. They’ve been under stimulated all day.
This is where you may want to buy some new toys for your cat to play with. You really want to let them release all the pent up energy from the day, again so you can hopefully get some sleep. Remember, you’re going to be sharing the same room overnight!
This is also why you want to arrive earlier to your hotel rather than later. My cat took some time to get used to his surroundings that he didn’t want to play until the next morning.
13. If Possible Sleep With The Blinds Open
This was the best thing we did when staying in a hotel with a cat. Let’s just say our cat LOVES looking out the window at home so even when he didn’t want to play, he was still entertained by the view outside (a parking lot with not much going on!).
Every time I woke up in the middle of the night, he was sitting there on high alert looking out. This was a lot better than him going crazy and keeping us up all night.
Keeping the blinds open of course won’t work in every hotel room. But if you’re waking up before sunrise, or there are no gleaming lights into your room it’s a great way to keep kitty calm and entertained all night long. You also don’t have to open them up the whole way, just enough for your cat to sit and look out.
14. Make Sure They Drink Water – Especially If They Didn’t During The Day
If you were driving all day, your cat may not have been comfortable drinking water on the road. If you’re lucky, your cat might run for their water bowl after setting it up. Our cat is not like that.
We had to entice him to drink. So the best thing we could get for him was Purebites chicken in water (you can also opt for some wet food instead). This way, you know he had least at some hydration that day and even some food (which he also didn’t want to touch during the day while driving).
We even diluted it more to have a larger ratio of water to food. He wasn’t the happiest when he realized what happened and how much water he had to drink to get to the good stuff. But he did it and was very well hydrated.
15. Get Ready For You & Your Cat To Not Sleep All Night….
At the end of the day, when staying with a cat in a hotel room you have to be prepared to be up all night. You’re sharing a room after all and they might not sleep no matter how much you try to tire them out before.
Thankfully our cat didn’t have the crazies over night like he normally does, but he still didn’t sleep. He was up wandering around the room checking out all the nooks and crannies. Every once in a while he would jump onto the bed, smell my face to make sure it was me. He was also one edge with all the noises outside the hotel room.
With my cat at least, he was used to it by the second night. The first night in a new location my cat is on HIGH alert. But the second night in the hotel room he was a lot better. I don’t know if that’s because he was used to it or because he was just so exhausted from not sleeping the night before.
Quick Links – What You’ll Need To Travel With A Cat
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