Summer time and traveling with your pet by car can spell disaster without proper planning. These tips will make it easier for you and your cat during the car trip.

First, the cat should be confined in a plastic or wire pet carrier while in the car. A cardboard carrier can be chewed through quickly, so invest in a proper carrier for the long trip. Sometimes, you feel guilty about the cat being in a carrier for 8-12 hours until the destination is reached. But I don’t advise letting the cat out in the car as the cat will crawl under the seat or the foot pedals. The cat may get its head caught in a window trying to escape. Actually, the cat will feel safer and be safer in a small crate.

About 30 years ago, I was traveling in a car with my cat, Noelle, on my lap in the passenger seat. I had taken her out of the carrier because she was meowing loudly. But once in my lap she really did not want to be held for long, and she suddenly sprang from my lap, jumping across the driver and heading to a partially opened window. Due to the quick response of my companion, Noelle was saved from landing in the midst of three lanes of traffic.

Secondly, I recommend placing the carrier on a seat next to you if possible. You may need to level a slanted seat to make the cat more comfortable. I avoid putting the cat on the floor because car noises are scary, and I turn the radio down low.  The air conditioning vents are positioned so the cat gets cooled, but not blasted with cold air.

Thirdly, I always travel with my cat’s food and water. Don’t depend on your cat eating your sister’s cat food or drinking her water for convenience. If you can create a familiar situation, the cat will be less bewildered. Your plan should include feeding your cat at the end rather than the beginning of the journey. You also need litter, a pan, a scoop and disposal bags.  Cats are temperamental about their litter and even if you are visiting a house with cats, bring your cat’s litter.

Finally, I emphasize to never leave your cat in an unattended car—especially in the summer. A cat can overheat quickly often resulting in death.  Finding a drive-through restaurant or packing your lunch will remove the temptation to stop at a sit-down restaurant—even if just for a short time.

Do you have a tip for traveling with your cat by car?

Bountiful Blessings!