This past weekend we had to overcome a big hurdle that I had been quite anxious about regarding our move — traveling with a cat in the car. Our cat KD (affectionately named Kevin Durant by my husband, lovingly pronounced ‘Katy’ by me… because she’s a girl) has never had to ride in the car for an extended period. The longest she’s ridden has been about an hour in a small cat carrier. Our trip from Illinois to Florida in a car was going to prove to be at least 18 hours on the road with limited time for her to run around and stretch her legs. I wanted to make sure I did some research to ensure that I provided her with the most comfortable travel experience possible. Without further ado, here are some products and tips for traveling with a cat in the car.
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Products for Traveling with a Cat in the Car
These are actual products that I used with my cat on our recent road trip. I purchased all these products with my own money and will be giving my honest review about them.
1. Travel Tent
As soon as I received this tent, I popped it open in my house for KD to explore. I don’t know what it was about it, but she instantly knew that this tent was for her. She walked right inside and took a nap! She loved it right out of the box and required no coaxing to actually check it out. She actually spent the next two nights sleeping in the tent because she enjoyed it so much.
I purchased this kitty travel tent for a couple reasons:
- Built in litter box
- One of my biggest concerns was making sure that KD was able to use her litter box whenever she felt the need to. I read a few articles indicating that some owners simply set a litter box out for their cat every time they were at a rest stop. I don’t know about you, but this still seemed liked a big hassle to me. The last thing I wanted to do was have to take the time to set up a litter box at every rest stop considering the one thing on our mind was going as far and as long as we could without stopping. That’s what made the built in litter box with this tent a huge selling point for me. There was velcro in the tent and at the bottom of the litter box to ensure that there would be no sliding during transit.
- A bit more space to move
- Prior to this long trip, KD would travel via kitty carrier and typically would have to lie down the entire time. Thanks to this travel tent she was able to walk back and forth from her litter box to a little sitting area. There isn’t a ton more space inside, but she at least had the option to sit or lay down.
- Fun extras
- Not necessarily needed, but still some fun goodies… this travel tent also included a soft sided food bowl and two hanging toys that attached to the roof of the tent. It also has two straps at the back of the tent that you can feed your car’s seat belt though for added security.
Some Things to Note:
Overall this travel tent really came through for us. The only con I noted was that the velcro for the soft sided travel food bowl is very close to where the litter box sits. I have read that sometimes having their food near where they use the washroom can be unappealing to them (I can’t understand why. hah.). I noted that later in the car ride kitty litter ended up in the food bowl. It might be best to place the food bowl further away from the litter box to ensure this doesn’t happen.
Click here to read more about this travel tent.
2. Harness & Leash
KD did not welcome the harness as warmly. Every time I put it on her it was like I was putting a weight on her back as she immediately would lie down and refuse to move. However, I do feel like the harness
was a travel essential. She wore it for the entire trip while she was inside the travel tent. When it came time to transfer her in and out of the travel tent, I would hook the leash up to her harness for extra security.
She’s not a particularly skittish cat that would necessarily run away, but it was piece of mind for me knowing that if she did happen to wriggle from my arms I would easily be able to grab onto the leash. Isn’t she just a doll in that harness? P.S. there’s still a tag on the harness in this pic because I was still undecided if this was the right size for her at the time. We did end up keeping this medium size for her.
3. Feliway Spray
I can’t 100% guarantee that I noticed an actual difference in using this spray, but it is noted to help reduce signs of stress related to travel. I sprayed it in her travel tent about 15-20 minute prior to us transferring her inside and I resprayed the tent periodically throughout our trip. Overall, KD is generally a pretty laid back cat so other than her little mishap when we were transferring her into the travel tent (more about that later), I couldn’t really notice if she was more chill than usual. However, if you have kitty who is more anxiety prone, this may be a great product to consider having in your travel arsenal.
Click here to read more about Feliway Spray.
4. Snacks & Treats
This one is pretty self-explanatory, but make sure you have plenty of treats and snacks on hand to reward you kitty for being such a good travel companion. Also remember to provide your cat with water at rest stops as it will be difficult to leave her an open bowl of water while your car is in motion.
Other Tips for Traveling with a Cat in the Car
Aside from the products mentioned above, here are some tips and tricks to helping the transition with your cat go a bit smoother. P.S. some of these things we had to learn the hard way!
Harness & Leash Training
As I mentioned above, KD was not a big fan of the harness when I first put it on her. It appeared as if it was a weird sensation that caused her to do a hilariously cute army crawl across the floor. Although I didn’t necessarily plan on having her walk around and about outdoors, I wanted to make sure that she eventually felt comfortable at least wearing the harness for an extended period.
I would recommend doing a bit of harness training if your cat has never been exposed to a harness and leash before. This simply consisted of putting the harness on her for a short period of time for some consecutive days and coaxing her with some treats. I mainly just wanted to get her to the point where she could walk normally while wearing the harness. She was comfortable within about 4-5 days of 10-15 minutes of training per day.
If you have the space, I would recommend popping up the travel tent in your apartment/home so that your kitty can become familiar with it. Although KD was super excited to explore her tent, your kitty might be a bit more tentative. If this is the case, spraying a bit of Feliway Spray within the tent, even while your kitty is exploring, might help calm her nerves.
Timed Potty Breaks
I wish I had known this BEFORE our trip… we were unfortunate enough to be transferring KD from her carrier to her travel tent while she apparently had a full bladder. A combination of a full bladder and probably a bit of confusion ended up in her releasing the flood gates. Don’t make the same mistake we did! Later in our trip before we got back on the road, I instructed my husband to simply place her in the litter box to see if she would use it and she did instantaneously!
Now, I don’t know if this trick is foolproof, however, before getting in the car for a long trip with your kitty, try to sit her on the kitty litter to see if that triggers her to use it in the moment. Best case scenario is that she goes and you don’t have to worry about any accidents. 🙂
Keeping Kitty Comfy
Long story short, we made it all the way to Florida and KD is now living that cushy beach cat life!
Have you ever had to travel with your cat in the car? Share your experiences with me below! 🙂