The Survival Guide to Traveling Cross-Country With Your Cats

When Nature Calls

What about a litterbox? Feed your cat first thing in the morning, at least an hour before you depart, and give him a chance to do his business before you set out. According to Dr. Ilona Rodan, the average healthy cat will likely not need the litterbox again until you’re ready to stop for the day. "My 16-month-old kitten did not use a box for 18 hours [during a trip] and did not act upset or as if he needed a box," says Dr. Rodin. "Clients who took cats to Japan have also said that their cats have never urinated or defecated on the way to or from." But each cat is unique, so if you stop for a lunch break, it's still a good idea to give your cat access to the litterbox.

If your cat has a medical condition that necessitates more frequent litterbox usage, take advantage of the many disposable cardboard litterboxes that are available. Fill plastic bags with portions of litter to fill boxes as needed. If possible, toss the box once your cat is done with his bathroom break — otherwise, store it in an airtight bag and dispose of it once you reach your destination. And consider introducing your cat to the disposable litterbox before you start on your cross-country journey — the more familiar with it he is, the more likely he is to use it on the road.


It's also important to give your cat fresh drinking water throughout the day.

Exercise on the Road

After sitting in your car or RV all day, it can feel good to move around. The same goes for your feline. Before you set out to see America, consider teaching your cat to walk on a leash. Not every cat will take to this, but many do, and it’s a great way to give your cat some exercise and entertainment wherever you stop or stay. But keep in mind that cats can back or squirm out of a harness, so make sure it fits snugly. Your cat should also have ID tags with your cell phone number and a microchip with current contact information.


If your cat is just not into the leash, consider a covered wire exercise pen. Set it up outside your RV or campsite so your cat can safely stretch and sun himself. Be sure to supervise him at all times, though, to guarantee that he doesn't get out or a predator doesn't get in.

Of course, before you hit the road, talk to your veterinarian about the trip and your final destination. She'll make sure your cat is current on appropriate vaccinations and parasite control for that region of the country. And she might even offer additional suggestions to help your cat have a safe and comfortable trip.


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