Traveling long distance with your cat

Have you ever taken your cat on a road trip? I have. And it was quite an adventure.

Astin. A Rescue. Domestic Shorthair. Age 12.

Meet Astin. Astin hates car rides. It becomes a whole fiasco every time I drive him to the vet even when it’s just 15 minutes away. Ooooh the meowing. It sounds like sirens going off all the way to the vet. He can’t handle it and ends up vomiting and well, you know… doing his business.

When it came for us to relocate to another state, my husband and I dreaded the drive. We were moving cross-country, from west coast to east coast, and didn’t know how to make our trip as smooth and comfortable as possible for Astin and our dog Thaddeus.

So I consulted their vet. Here’s what she advised for our road trip (and it worked!).

The drive

The vet prescribed something for Astin to keep him calm during the car ride. Boy, was he a handful! Getting Astin to cooperate was a huge ordeal. I needed him to sit still so I could safely insert the syringe into his mouth. Ugh. By the startled look on his face, Astin hated the taste of the medication. His frantic dart across the room to hide under the bed gave it away.

We had to wait long enough for his meds to kick in before placing him into his carrier then into the car. I seriously cringed when we started driving off (this was usually the time when endless meowing commenced), but… no… not a peep. YES!!!

Our car was jam-packed with all of our stuff. Maybe the tight spaces around the carrier also gave a sense or security. Eventually, whenever Astin woke up from a peaceful nap, we slightly opened the carrier gate to give him the option of coming out if he wanted to. And he did! He looked like he had no care in the world. Wait… was this the same cat that once detested and protested on the drive all the way to the vet? Geez… whatever the vet gave him… I want it.


Note: Please make sure that the hotel/motel/airbnb you book with accepts cats. Nowadays, more and more hotel chains are opening up their doors to welcome pets. However, just because they’ve called themselves “pet friendly,” it doesn’t mean they are cat friendly. Grrrr. I wonder why they just didn’t call it “dog friendly.”

I’m sharing this because you do not want to make a room reservation only to find out they won’t let your cat inside once you check in. For instance, Best Westerns pride themselves as one of the pioneers of the “pet friendly hotel chain” status but, be careful, not all of them accept cats. True story. That was our experience during our road trip. Travel websites also indicate whether a hotel is “pet friendly” but, since they are merely third-parties, they’re unaware of the details or changes in hotel’s policies. My absolute favorite go-to site when traveling with Thaddeus is They have it clearly printed whether a hotel accepts both dogs and cats, or just dogs only, and so far the site has been pretty accurate. Still, it’s best to inquire before making the reservation, just to be on the safe side. By the way, many hotels do charge pet fees. That’s something to keep in mind also.

Feliway is a product we will never go without. This spray fills the room with pheromones to help reduce stress for your cat. While Feliway works for Astin, it may not work for other cats, but it’s still worth a shot! Either way, asking your vet is always the way to go.

This has been our experience with Astin on our long, long journey to a new home.

Published by Micaela Christina

A gen-xer who knows a thing or two about the hard knocks of life.

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