A few weeks ago my boyfriend and I planned to visit family members who live about 4 and ½ hours away. We intended to go for a long weekend and felt uncomfortable leaving our 5 month old kittens alone at home for 4 days. We don’t have anyone who can check in on the cats currently and we had reservations about finding a cat sitter.
We decided to take our kittens along on our trip! This plan had two benefits. We could ensure our kittens were cared for over the long weekend and we could also try out the car trip, which we planned to repeat over the holidays.
I quickly started making a mental list of all the supplies I would need to pack or bring along for my kittens. First on my list was a cat carrier. We inherited a quality cat carrier that is big enough to fit both kittens comfortably (for now!) I made sure the carrier was lined with a towel for comfort and also in case of a ‘bathroom’ accident.
We made sure to put a collar on each kitten before leaving for a couple of reasons. It is always important for your cat to wear a collar when it’s leaving home – to go outside, to the vet, traveling – for identification and improved control over your pets. We also brought a leash so that we could take the kittens out of their carrier within the car to allow them to stretch their legs. It is important to limit your cat’s freedom in the car because they can behave unpredictably. This unpredictable behavior can have disastrous consequences for the driver of the car, so it’s important to make sure your cat cannot hinder the driver.
To protect the backseat of the car, we brought a familiar blanket from our living room. This blanket not only protected the backseat from claws, but provided a familiar smell and texture for the kittens.
We also stuck a small litter box in the car in case it was needed. It was not, but it is definitely good to have a litter box if you are taking your cats on a long car ride. This will help to prevent accidents in the car and will also help prevent anxiety for your cat if they need to use the litter.
Depending on the length of your car trip you may need to provide water and food as well!
Our car trip ended up taking a bit longer than expected due to rain, but our kittens travelled exceptionally well. They literally did not make a single sound through the entire 5 hour trip. They slept and watched out the windows from within their carrier. They explored the backseat a bit with the help of our leash. Our success was due in part to luck that the kittens didn’t mind the car, but I also felt great knowing that I had provided everything they might need on our car trip.
Jennifer Kean is a writer and pet-lover who owns two rescue kittens (lifetime cat owner too!) and has a 40 gallon fish tank!