Traveling with your cat by car, train and plane: our advice


Traveling with your pet, especially your cat, can quickly become a source of stress. In fact, we are so used to being near our cat on a daily basis that we cannot imagine going on vacation without him.

From there, many questions arise: how to deal with my cat’s stress? What veterinary precautions to take? How do I deal with my cat’s needs while traveling? Etc. In this article, we will reassure you by providing as many answers as possible to your questions about traveling with your cat.

What precautions do I need for my cat?

Cats are animals that are easily subject to stress, and do not like to have their habits changed. To handle this, there are a few precautions to take.

First, prepare the travel gear for your cat. A transport box adapted to its size (if you are traveling by plane, check with the company to know the standards of transport boxes for animals), a travel water bowl, a travel litter, a harness and a leash, and finally a bag containing the necessary things for your cat, including drug treatments if he has any.

A trip is not the ideal time to change your cat’s food, so be sure to find out what food you can give it on the spot if it is not available in your destination country. If necessary, take the necessary stock for the duration of your stay.

Once you have in mind everything your cat will need, do not hesitate to leave its transport box at home, open two or three days before leaving, while explaining to your cat that you are going on a trip. . The latter will obviously not understand you completely, but he is able to feel and therefore understand certain things, and this can reassure him.

Don’t hesitate to do the same with his travel litter box, without filling it, so that he gets used to it.

There are also natural pheromones in spray that you can diffuse in its transport case on the day of departure, which have the effect of reassuring cats during periods of stress, it can help them pass this difficult time more calmly.

It is strongly recommended that you ask your veterinarian what care or potential additional vaccines would be needed depending on the country you will be traveling to.

Finally, on the day of departure, consider putting on disposable mattress pads or towels, in case he has urinary leakage due to stress. You can also give him a cloth, a toy or something that he is used to and that carries a scent that reassures him (often the smell of the master or mistress).

Precautions to take when traveling by car with your cat

Travel by car or motorhome is certainly the easiest to manage, since the travel space is yours and therefore there is no risk of hindering other passengers. You will therefore be able to give yourself all the space necessary for the well-being of your cat.

First of all, put your cat’s crate, preferably on a rear passenger seat, and tie the crate by making a knot with a belt, you can never be too careful.

In his case, do not hesitate to leave him a bowl of water, which he can drink at will.

Plan ahead and leave their travel litter box near you, so you can offer to relieve themselves during breaks. You can also make him defecate outside, but in this case remember to put his leash and harness, the stress can cause a flight reflex.

Finally, do not hesitate to talk to your cat, especially if he is in panic. If he shows you that the stress is too much for him by meowing louder and louder without calming down despite your words, it is better to stop, take him out of his crate while leaving the car doors closed so that he does not not escape, and try to appease him by talking to him, stroking him and taking him in your lap.

Precautions to take when traveling by train with your cat

Making your cat travel by train becomes more difficult because here you will have to take into account the imperatives of the railway company concerning animals, as well as the requests of the passengers around you (such as people with allergies for example).

You should know that normally, the SCNF does not allow most pets on its trains, but however, small pets weighing no more than 6 kilos and suitably enclosed in a container whose dimensions do not exceed 45 x 30 x 25cm are tolerated if other travelers do not object.

For prices, check with the company, it often depends on the weight of the animal as well as the routes.

To limit your cat’s stress, the use of spray pheromones is strongly recommended. Beforehand, also remember to leave his transport case open several days in advance so that he gets used to it.

Preferably, place your cat’s crate on your lap or under your seat, or better yet, next to you. The fact that the cat has direct vision of you can greatly reassure him.

Finally, if the cat is too stressed, or if a person is allergic, position yourself with your cat in the inter-car areas (area in which the toilets are generally located). This will make the trip less comfortable for you, of course, but you cannot force your cat to be present on other passengers, especially in case of allergies, and you will also risk having to pay a fine.

Precautions to take when traveling by plane with your cat

Airlines are extremely strict when it comes to animals. The conditions depend on the company, but you will have to contact it anyway to find out all the prerequisites requested by it.

First of all, you can request that the cat travel with you in the cabin, or in the hold. Especially in the event of travel in the hold, it is advisable to be well informed about the treatment of animals in the hold by the company you are going to take because some are not very well seen in this area.

In all cases, you will need a transport bag for the cabin or a cage for the hold, with very precise dimensions according to the size of your cat; transport bags and cages must be approved and meet IATA standards for the International Air Transport Association, for the type of travel you will be doing by plane.

Be careful, if your bag or your transport case does not comply with the standards required by the airline, your animal will not be accepted on the plane, so take all the necessary information in advance from the latter to not to have a bad surprise at the last moment.

You now have all the information you need to prepare for a trip with your feline friend. Be aware, however, that for a cat, a trip is a huge source of stress and it would go well, so it is better to prefer to keep it during your stay, so you will have fewer complications.