Cats are creatures of habit, thriving on routines. Car rides disrupt their familiar environment, bombarding them with unfamiliar noises and scents.

brown and white tabby cat sitting on the bonnet of a grey car

Imagine their little heads spinning as they are taken away from their home territory. The stress of it all can lead to physical reactions like vomiting or urinating due to motion sickness, discomfort, or fear.

There are several important considerations to ensure a safe and comfortable journey for both you and your feline companion. Here are some essential tips to make your cat’s car travel experience as smooth as possible.

Get a good carrier

Always use a secure and comfortable cat carrier for your cat during car travel. Even well-behaved cats should ride in a carrier to prevent distractions and ensure safety in case of sudden stops or accidents.

Look for enclosed carriers with good ventilation that provide enough space for your cat to move around.

Familiarise your cat with their carrier early

If possible, get your cat used to their carrier before the trip. Let them explore it at home and associate it with positive, calm experiences. This will help reduce anxiety during car rides.

Take your cat on short practice drives

If your cat is not accustomed to car rides, start with short drives around the block. Gradually increase the duration to help them acclimate to the motion and sounds of the car. Make sure to reward them with treats and toys to build positive associations with travel.

Keep your cat safe in the car

Never leave your cat unattended in the car, especially in hot weather. Ensure proper ventilation and avoid extreme temperatures.

Always secure the carrier with a seat belt to prevent it from shifting during the journey.

Keep the environment calm and quiet

Avoid sudden movements as much as possible. Smooth driving minimizes stress. Gradual acceleration and braking are essential.

Create a comforting environment

Put familiar toys or blankets in your cat’s carrier. Familiar scents can soothe your cat. Pack a small blanket or cloth that smells like home.

Consider using calming treats and supplements or synthetic pheromone sprays (like Feliway) that can help reduce anxiety.

Be patient and reassuring

Cats pick up on your emotions. Stay calm and patient, reassuring your cat throughout the journey.

Tips for preparing for long trips

If you’re planning a longer trip, remember to:

  • Research and book pet-friendly hotels in advance and familiarise yourself with their policies and requirements.
  • Check the contact details attached to your cat’s microchip are up to date
  • Pack more essential supplies such as food, water, a litter box, a harness and lead, any medications, and familiar toys. Keep your cat’s routine as consistent as possible.
  • Book your cat in for a checkup with your vet before you leave to ensure your cat is healthy and up to date on vaccinations. Discuss any travel-specific concerns you have.



With proper planning and patience, you can make car travel an enjoyable experience for both you and your feline friend!