How to Travel with Cats in a Car Long Distance | Fact You should Know

We used to travel a lot with our pets for short distances. Not a single moment with my cat ˗ principle, I live with. I know its true for you too.

Traveling with cats is always enjoyable, but a bit tricky. If you grasp the tricks with my tips, you will relish the ride like never before.

So, the penultimate question is, how to travel with cats in a car long distance? There are different steps, like visit a vet, provide a comfortable carrier, conduct crate training, introduction to cars, tranquilizing the cat, and many more.


Last question, where do I get to know all this stuff?

Easy mate! In this article, I will elaborate on all related issues of long riding with cats to satisfy your travel roulette (LOL!), and at the very end, you will get a Q&A section.

How to get organized for long car travel with cats

There are few things you need to arrange and confirm before starting the journey. Here are some key points:

  • Grab a pen and paper. Note down the packing list for both (You and cats). Markdown the things you might need during travel.
  • You may consider paying a visit to the vet, complete regular shots if any.
  • Put ID tags and microchips on the cats, if accidentally you lost the cats, there might be a chance to get them back.
  • Check out the cars and remove anything that might cause discomfort for cats during travel.

Remember, cats are very unpredictable. The smart thing is to prepare hard and get rid of any issue like a piece of cake.

How to Choose Best Cat Carriers for Long Car Ride


Comfort is the focal point of choosing the right carrier for cats. You can follow these tips to draw a conclusive idea of what to chose and what not to.

  • Larger carriers are perfect for long-distance travel. Cats can move and sit comfortably. Don’t buy or choose a carrier for air travel. Air travel cat carriers are way different than road travel carriers. Typically, road trip carriers are more like cat cages.
  • Examine the carrier thoroughly. Check all the whistle, bells, and lock are in perfect condition.
  • You may ask how to travel long distances with multiple cats in a car? Do I need multiple carriers? Yes, it is better to get different carriers for multiple cats. But it can be varied because if your cats go along smoothly, then you might not require a separate cage.

How to prepare cats for a long car ride

  • Get ready with essential travel materials, such as cat foods, treats, wipes, and litter pads.
  • Place small food bowls and water pot in the cage.
  • Place favorite toys of your cats into the carrier, and provide a comfortable, relaxing blanket on the floor of the carrier.
  • Install a litter box for kitties with a litter pad. Its highly unlikely, your cat might go for potty in travel time, but better to stay prepared. Don’t forget to take extra travel litter box and litter pads for cats.
  • Introduce the cage to the cat (if already not) week before the travel date. Place a treat to lure the cat into the cage.
  • Consider spraying pheromone inside the cat cage.
  • Finally, train the cat to stay into the carrier for a certain period, and gradually increase the retention time.

How to prepare the car for the cats

  • You should not overcrowd the carrier or the car with cats. Distribute cats wisely, that one cannot hamper other’s comfort.
  • Ensure maximum space for cats.
  • It is not advisable to pack anything with cat carriers. It might create disturbance for the cats. If you can ensure an anxiety-free environment for cats, your travel will be smoother than ever.
  • Place the kitten carrier in such a way that it faces minimum turmoil. You may tie up the carrier to avoid unnecessary movements.
  • Place the cat carrier just before driving off the car.

How to clam cats for long travel

Pet lovers know, cats are very unpredictable. It would be best if you clammed your cats before pushing the ignition button. You spell out, “Abra Ka Dabra”, and suddenly your kitty turns into Mr. gentle! Is it that easy? Not possible. To avoid motion sickness, you may try out sedative for your cats.

• Using cat sedatives:

If you have naughty cats (I have one), you might consider sedatives to keep everything under control. In the preparatory section, I have discussed the importance of consulting with a vet. You can take recommendations from a vet on suitability and selection of sedative for your cats. A sedative can ease temptation and anxiety of your cats, even can drive your cats for a sweet catnap.

• Cat tranquilizer for travel:

After consulting with the vet, you will get to know the perfect sedative and its dosage. But, if you don’t have enough time to consult a vet, you might consider administrating Benadryl. It is a widely used cat tranquilizer. Be advised, Benadryl for cats has side effects, and at least you ask for a recommendation from your vet for OTC sedatives

How to sedate or tranquilize a cat

First of all, sedating a cat is tough. You might need assistance. Here is a short guide to help you on how to hold a cat during the administration of a sedative.

  • Hold your cat gently. Cover up the cat with a soft towel, pillowcase, or blanket. It will provide comfort to the cat and protect you from its scratching.
  • Hold the jaw of the cat softly, give a soft massage, and patiently squeeze it to open up.
  • Try to push the pill gently inside your kitty’s mouth.
  • Softly grab the jaw of your cat with one hand and push below the chin with another hand. It should assist in swallowing the pill.
  • Hold this position for a few moments and then set the cat free. When the cat stabilizes, then assist the cat into the cage.

How to move multiple cats cross country:

Last month, I had to travel from Illinois to South Carolina with my two cats by car. I will share my experience, and you will get to know how to travel with a cat across the country.

Initially, I planned to put them into separate cages. I had three portable cat carriers in my stock, and I chose the best two from these to travel.

I thought I would place ChuChu next to my driving seat and Zack to the back seat of my car. But, the day before travel, I realized the carrier for ChuChu was very large, and Zack’s carrier was tiny.

So, I quickly decided to place both in the large carrier that I had and started the ride. There was enough room for both cats to sprawl out, even enjoy their treats. I spread potty pads to avoid unwanted spillage or accidents.

I placed the carrier on the back seat and ensured fewer movements. Cats are very prone to motion sickness. The portable carriers with ample spaces and week-long planning provided the best journey experience for my kitties and me.

How to travel by roads with multiple cats​

How to travel by roads with multiple cats

Illinois to South Carolina has a distance of about 828 miles and around 13 hours drive. I took a break at Lexington, after 6 hours of drive.

It was great to see both of my babies again. I gave some new treats to them and changed previous foods. I also changed the potty pads and litter boxes, and I used a disposable litter box. Some excellent litter boxes can efficiently handle lousy odor.

We three had a fantastic beef stake at Quanks BBQ and called it a day. The next morning, we covered the rest of the roads for South Carolina.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q1#. Can cats have Benadryl as sedative? Is it safe?

Answer: Typically, it is safe. But, if suitability in question, then I would say, better to take advice from a vet.

Q2#. Should I cover my carrier when traveling?

Answer: Its always right to cover the carrier with a blanket. It will keep the cat anxiety-free and relaxed.

Q3#. Can I take multiple cats in a single carrier?

Answer: It depends. If your cats have excellent tolerance to each other, then it will not be an issue. Apart from this, technically, you can put multiple cats in a carrier. But the carrier needs to be spacious enough.

Q4#. Can cats hold their pee overnight?

Answer: Cat can hold their pee for 24-48 hours. But it depends on their hydration condition and physical status. In the stress condition, cats tend to pee more frequently.


Nothing is better than to pamper multiple kitties. Moments with them are precious. If you don’t like to miss a single moment of being with them, you may follow our travel tips. Long-distance travel will create the strongest relationship between you and cats. Drive safe!