Here are great tips to make traveling with your cat (or cats) less stressful

Use a solid, plastic cat carrier
For longer than usual trips: use a plastic, hard-sided carrier lined with newspaper, covered with a blanket. It must be large enough to allow your cat/kitten to turnaround, sit up and stand up. Cloth carriers are not recommended because the sides could collapse.

Getting used to the carrier
Get your cat or kitten used to the carrier long before your trip. Encourage him/her to go in by placing toys and treats inside. Make the carrier accessible. After he/she is used to it, take him/her on short trips.

Water for cats
When possible, provide a small amount of water in a higher-sided bowl that won’t spill. If you can’t find a bowl that won’t spill, stop and offer water to your pet every hour. Bring a few gallons of water from your home that your pet is used to drinking.

Cats don’t need to be fed for trips under two hours. For longer trips, place food in your cat’s carrier. Or offer food every two to three hours. Don’t be too concerned if your cat is too stressed to eat, this is normal. ** Kittens can’t go as long as cats without eating and drinking. To ensure they eat, stop and offer food every two hours.

Harnesses and leashes
Get your cat used to a harness or leash long before your trip. Start by letting your cat wear the harness around the house for short periods of time. Make sure that your pet has his/her harness on the entire time he/she is out of the carrier if you walk your cat at a rest stop.

The right temperature
If you’re comfortable then your cat will be comfortable. Avoid extreme temperatures and dramatic temperature changes.

Never leave your cat alone
If you must leave your car, make sure someone remains with your cat to monitor the temperature. Take your cat in his/her carrier with you when possible. Leave windows open and park in the shade to keep your cat cooler in the car.

Identifying your cat
Microchip your pet AND use a collar with a phone number. Bring a picture of your pet in case he/she escapes.

Get a checkup, verify vaccinations before travel
Have your pet checked and vaccinated before a long trip. Make sure your pet’s vaccine record is easily accessible.If your move involves crossing state lines, your pet must have a health certificate issued within 10 days of travel. Authorities could ask to see the certificate if you are stopped.

Public transportation
Always call your airline before you travel with your cat for requirements. Airlines usually require a health certificate issued within 10 days of travel, as well as a current vaccination certificate. Other restrictions may apply. Greyhound Bus and Amtrak only allow service animals. Call individual boating lines to find out their requirements.

Sedating cats
The only time cats should be sedated during travel is if they become so upset that they are in danger of hurting themselves. Sedation causes pets to lose their sense of balance, leading to injury and even death from falls. They also can have trouble breathing. Only use a sedative from your veterinarian. Make sure you can observe your cat at all times. To make sure it’s safe, test the sedative on your cat long before travel. Never sedate a kitten.

Moving more than one pet
If you are moving multiple pets, always place them in separate carriers to avoid stress.

If your pet gets sick during travel
Before you begin your trip, you should always identify animal hospitals on your route in case of an emergency. Click here to find AAHA hospitals.