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15 Essentials for Road Tripping with a Cat: 2024 Vet-Approved Guide

Ashley Bates

By Ashley Bates

cat inside carrier

Vet approved

Dr. Maxbetter Vizelberg Photo

Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Maxbetter Vizelberg

DVM (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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The idea of getting out on the open road is exciting for a lot of people. Getting in touch with different sites can be very refreshing to yourself and your family members. If you have a cat, you know how challenging it can be to find some way to care for them when you’re out on the road.

Luckily, there are ways to accommodate taking your cat with you on trips like this. If you were considering traveling with your cat, we rounded up some really good essentials that will help you on the road.

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What You Need to Take Your Cat on the Road

Taking your cat on the road can be exciting for you and them! Even though there is a certain uncommon element to taking cats on the go, it’s starting to become more commonplace, as it should. So here are the top 12 essentials you need to make traveling a cinch.

Comfort Essentials

1. Backpack/Carrier

Backpack Pet Carrier-Chewy-Jespet

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If you’re out checking around, you will benefit from having a backpack with the necessary supplies. Not only can you buy a backpack for all your cat’s goodies and your own, but there are also certain designs to set your cat inside!

So if your kitty gets tired on the go, you can put them in the backpack where they can see the sights but not escape and allow them to enjoy being chauffeured around like royalty.

2. Beds/Hideaways

1Hepper - Nest Cat Bed

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When settling in for the night at your hotel, give your cat their own cozy bed, like a nest bed. It doesn’t take up much room and has a soft Sherpa lining that is removable and machine washable.

This bed is available in pink, white, gray, and herringbone and has a small lip perfect for your cat to rest their chin. It’s best for small cats, but don’t be surprised if your large cat tries to get in!

At Catster, we’ve admired Hepper for many years and decided to take a controlling ownership interest so that we could benefit from the outstanding designs of this cool cat company!

3. Litterbox, Litter, & Scooper

petisfam Portable Cat Travel Litter Box

Naturally, and possibly most importantly, your cat is going to need a place to do its business. Since your cat doesn’t go out to potty like a dog at rest stops, making sure you have a litter box on the go is vital.

There are disposable and collapsible litter boxes you can take with you on the go. Also, you can buy litter for the litter box that is all natural and flushable, so you can dispose of it in hotels or scoop and go at quick stops.

4. Litter Additive for Odor Prevention

hepper bioenzymatic litter additive

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Part of the problem with having a cat on the road is the litter box and its odors. This is where a litter additive can give your nose a break. It uses the same kind of bio-enzymes found in the cleaning spray, which helps neutralize bad odors.

It’s also fragrance free, so there are no strong perfume-y scents, and it can be used in any kind of litter. It’s perfectly safe for all felines.

At Catster, we’ve admired Hepper for many years and decided to take a controlling ownership interest so that we could benefit from the outstanding designs of this cool cat company!

5. Medications/Supplements

Pet Wellbeing Stress Gold for Dogs - Vet-Formulated - Calming and Relaxing for High-Stress Situations - Natural Herbal Supplement 2 oz

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Some cats require medication or supplements in their daily diet. Before heading out on the road, it’s always best to ensure you have an adequate supply of whatever your cat needs.

If your cat is a little neurotic and you’re worried about their nerves while you travel, you can always get calming agents to help them relax.

6. Cleaning Spray

Hepper Spray - New Label

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When you’re traveling with your cat, there’s a good possibility that they might make a bit of a mess, which is when an enzyme spray can be helpful. It might seem to be more for your comfort than your cat’s, but they likely don’t want to smell their mess either!

This spray is designed to eliminate and even neutralize bad odors, and it can be used on nearly any material. It also has a neutral scent, so you don’t need to worry about cloying odors in your car.

At Catster, we’ve admired Hepper for many years and decided to take a controlling ownership interest so that we could benefit from the outstanding designs of this cool cat company!

8.  Pet Wipes

Hepper Wash Wipes

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When your cat starts to get a bit stinky—all those hours cooped up in a carrier can certainly hamper cleaning efforts—you can make them smell fresher with wash wipes.

These are thick and have grooves that easily grab dirt and excess hair. They are also moisturizing and hypoallergenic. There are no harmful ingredients, so they’re safe for use on your cat.

At Catster, we’ve admired Hepper for many years and decided to take a controlling ownership interest so that we could benefit from the outstanding designs of this cool cat company!

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Food & Feeding

9. Food

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If you feed your cat fresh cat food, preparing meals poses more of a challenge. Naturally, you’ll have to take your cat’s diet on the road. You will have to keep all meals refrigerated the entire time you travel, so that is definitely something to plan for.

If you give them wet canned cat food or dry kibble, this won’t be as much of a challenge. But it’s always best to plan ahead by making sure that you have enough food to last the whole trip.

There are so many great brands of cat food, so we can’t recommend just one. Luckily, there are also plenty of places you can stop on the way to purchase cat food if you run out.

10. Collapsible Food and Water Bowls

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When you’re traveling, saving space is something you learn to do very early on. Often, full-sized average food and water bowls for cats can get in the way.

Luckily, there are several collapsible options on the market so you can offer your cat fresh food and water, clean them out as needed, dry them off, collapse them, and store them away. It’s much more convenient and space friendly!

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Outdoors Walking

11. Harness/Lead

Hepper leash and lead


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Your cat will need to stay safe on the road! That means when you let them out of the car, you’re definitely going to want a way to keep track of them, so you don’t lose them in entirely unfamiliar territory.

Now this one will take patience and persistence. If your cat does not know how to walk on a lead, you know that your independent feline might be feeling a little rambunctious when things start.

So before you attempt this task, it’s best to appropriately teach your cat to walk on a lead without provocation.

At Catster, we’ve admired Hepper for many years and decided to take a controlling ownership interest so that we could benefit from the outstanding designs of this cool cat company!

12. Collar and ID Tags

GoTags Nylon Personalized Dog Collar


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Accidents happen. Scares occur. Sometimes, your cat can get away from you at the worst time. If this happens, having the correct identification for your cat will add extra protection while you explore unfamiliar territory.

You can buy several different collars for your cats, but we recommend a breakaway collar. If your cat escaped you, even though you probably want them to keep the harness on, they should have a breakaway feature to get loose if they get snagged on something.

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Protection & Prevention

13. Insurance

Pumpkin Pet Insurance

Pet insurance is growing these days tremendously, and for a good reason. Almost every pet insurance company in the United States will cover any veterinarian nationwide. It might be an extra good idea to get a policy before you decide to travel.

Consider taking a look at different policies to get a good comparison, choosing the best one for your cat.

14. Microchipping/Identification

cat microchip getting scanned at vet
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Above, we discussed the importance of having identification for your cat. We want to take that a step further and encourage microchipping. Many vets will perform microchipping implants during the first year of your cat’s life.

But if you haven’t had this done yet, you might want to go in before you leave for a vacation period having this added layer of protection on top of identification tags. Microchipping can really help out in the event your pet is ever to escape you while you’re away from home.

Microchipping keeps your information on file so that other professionals can scan the tag and find the owner.

Therefore, if you have made any changes and your lifestyle since getting your cat microchipped, you’ll want to make sure that your address and phone number are updated in the system to make contact easier.

15. Pet-Friendly Hotels & Airbnb Stays

If you are traveling and keeping your cat anywhere that is public, you’ll want to make sure that any hotel or facility you stay at allows pets. Some of them have strict no-pet policies, so it will vary depending on location.

If you are planning your vacation now, it is time to make sure you have something lined up. Luckily, many places are becoming more pet friendly, so you shouldn’t have much of an issue, but this will vary based on location.

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Cat Personality Matters

Let’s face it. Traveling can be relatively easy for many cats but not so simple for others. Some cats prefer to hide away, entirely out of the public eye. If you take these sorts of cats on a public vacation, they can get extremely nervous, aggressive, and altogether disheveled.

However, if you have a more adventurous cat ready for whatever the day brings, they are definitely the sort that you want to take with you. Traveling with a cat that doesn’t have the personality for socialization may be highly stressful for the animal.

In those cases, it’s often best just to have a house sitter or a family member come to care for your cat while you’re away instead of attempting to take them with you. We know that it can be daunting and challenging to find arrangements for your cat while you’re away, but everything must be done in the best interest of your pet.

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Taking your cat on the road can be a very fulfilling and exciting experience. Just remember to make sure you have set up the appropriate avenues of care while you’re away. If all goes well, they might just be your new travel buddy, willing to accompany you to any location you desire.

So, make a checklist, cross them off one by one, and enjoy your time burning rubber with your cat riding shotgun.

Featured Photo Credit: Lightspruch, Shutterstock

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