Safe Pet Travel During the Holidays

Safely traveling with your pet during the holidays is possible. While holiday travel can be stressful, bringing your pet can make it especially so. However, it does not have to be. To achieve a happy, safe holiday trip with your pet, the key is to plan ahead. Don’t wait until the last minute. Doing so will create more stress for both you and your pet.

When traveling with cats, remember most do not enjoy it. Cats are generally home bodies and do not like being removed from their territory. Cats do not always consider it a bonus to remain part of the family pack. With this in mind, if you do travel with your cat, there are several things you should do to keep them safe and comfortable.


  • Ensure their carrier is appropriate and comfortable for the conditions of your travel. When traveling by car, keep them safely in their carrier. Secure the carrier in a safe spot where they will have good air flow and proper ventilation. Withhold food for approximately four to five hours before your departure.
  • If your cat meows constantly, speak to her calmly and reassuringly. Resist removing her from her carrier. Remember she is trying to voice her displeasure and is not suffering. Eventually the motion of the vehicle should help calm her. Ensure the temperature inside the car is appropriate. If you stop for a break, keep your cat in her carrier.
  • When traveling by plane, fully investigate the airline’s policies on pet travel. Most do not permit cats to travel in the cabin. Instead, they are placed in a special section of the hold. Remember not all flights are licensed to carry animals which means your pet may be placed on a different flight.
  • When you arrive at your destination, make sure your cat is secure, comfortable, and cannot escape. Provide water and a small amount of food but be prepared for him to take some time settling into these new, unfamiliar surroundings.
  • Remember to help your cat become comfortable with their carrier prior to your travel. Make it a comfortable space. Leave it out with the door open to encourage your cat to explore. Allow her to sleep in the carrier. Doing these things allows your cat to be familiar and comfortable with the environment of the carrier. Use separate carriers if you have more than one cat. It is safer and more comfortable.
  • Do not feed your cat for four to five hours before your departure. This will lessen the chances your cat will become sick and vomit while traveling. Provide water up to the time you leave. If possible, offer water during travel time.


Items you will need when traveling with your cat include:  (1) Appropriate carrier; (2) Food, water, favorite treats; (3) Up-to-date Vaccine Paperwork; (4) Blanket or towel; (5) Favorite toy; (6) Current photo in case your cat becomes lost; (7) Cat collar with I.D. tag ensuring all contact information is accurate and current.

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