How to Road Trip with Your Cat

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Traveling with your cat in the car can be overwhelming. To help you prepare, consider how to get your cat used to the car, what to bring for your cat, and what to do once you have arrived at your destination.
If your cat hates car rides, you are not alone. People don’t tend to take their cats in the car regularly—and when they do, it’s to the veterinarian. This can give your cat a negative association with the car, leaving your cat in a state of anxiety when they are near or in a car. 
Luckily, car insurance broker and comparison app Jerry has put together some tips to make your road trip with your cat successful and stress-free. 

Getting your cat used to the car

If you want your cat to like the car, build a positive association between the two. This requires patience and repetition but is well worth your while if you are planning a long trip. 

Crate train your cat

The first step is to crate train your cat. While crate training cats is not as common as dogs, crates create a calming space for your feline in stressful situations—like long car rides. This also prevents your cat from roaming under your pedals while driving, so it’s recommended they remain in their carrier while on the road.

Start young 

Kittens adapt to new surroundings and experiences, but adult and senior cats can have difficulty adjusting. Try to begin travel training as early as possible, but if you are unable, don't worry. Who said you can't teach an old cat new tricks?

Make car time fun

Build a positive association for your cat by bringing your cat’s favorite toys, blankets, and high-value treats into the car. Start by practicing in a parked car and trying the following:
  • Get inside and close the doors 
  • Let your cat explore, sniff, and spread its scent to claim the car
  • Repeat multiple times a day, for several days, prolonging with each visit

Practice turning on the engine and taking short trips 

Once your cat is comfortable in the car, try starting the engine and feeding them treats. If your cat remains calm, try taking short trips—like to the end of your driveway, around the block, or through the neighborhood. Pay attention to signs of anxiety, like meowing, nausea, or vomiting. 
Practice driving at different routes and speeds until your cat is ready for its first short highway stint. Try hopping on the highway for one exit and rewarding them with a treat once safely parked. Gradually increase your driving time as your cat relaxes. 
Key Takeaway: High-value treats, repetition, and gradually increasing time in the car will help your cat relax on drives. 
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Preparing for your road trip

Planning a road trip with your kitty means assembling a cat-specific checklist. Here are a few recommendations to get you started. 
  • Speak with your veterinarian: Make sure your cat is in good traveling health and find out what to do if your cat gets car sick. If your cat has motion sickness or has anxiety after travel training, ask your veterinarian about additional medical options. 
  • Bring identification: Get your cat identification tags and a collar. Consider microchipping your cat if you haven’t already. If you have, make sure your microchip information is up to date. 
  • Plan pit stops: Stop every 2-3 hours and give your cat treats, water, and access to a litter box. Your cat needs snacks and potty breaks just like you. 
  • Bring extra supplies: To avoid emergencies, pack extra food and medicine for your cat. 
  • Create a cat sanctuary: Set up the crate with your cat's favorite treats, toys, a bed, and blankets to create a calming space for them in the car. 
  • Confirm overnight stays: Whether crashing on a couch or staying in a hotel, make sure the place you visit is cat-friendly. 
  • Play with your cat to burn off any excess energy before the ride: Give your cat a snack, water, and any calming supplements or anxiety medication approved by your vet. 
Key takeaway: Complete your cat-specific checklist before you start your road trip. 

Arriving at your destination

Whether you are on vacation or moving to a new home, help your cat adjust to its new surroundings. 

Find a local veterinarian clinic

Locate veterinarians and emergency pet hospitals in the area in case of emergencies. Since the pandemic, vet clinics have been at capacity, so call ahead to see if they can take new patients. 

Cat-proof your space

To ensure your cat's health and safety, you should cat-proof the entire place. Cover up electric cords, tie up long blind cords, and place candles and plants high up—or hide them altogether. Even the most simple household or hotel items can endanger your cat, so be vigilant. 

Provide familiarity for your cat 

To help your cat adjust to a new environment, designate a space with their crate, bed, favorite toys, food, water, and litter box. Gradually introduce your cat to their new area until they are comfortable. 
Key takeaway: Help your cat adjust to their new environment and keep them safe by cat-proofing and setting up an area with their bed and favorite toys. 

How to find affordable car insurance 

Road tripping with your pet can be expensive, so why not cut costs with cheap car insurance? 
If you want to save money on car insurance, the Jerry app is a good place to start. A licensed broker, Jerry does all the hard work of finding cheap quotes from the top name-brand insurance companies and buying new car insurance. Jerry will even help you cancel your old policy.
To ensure you always have the lowest rate, Jerry will send you new quotes every time your policy comes up for renewal, so you’re always getting the coverage you want at the best price. This level of service is why Jerry earned a 4.6/5 rating on the App Store and made it the top insurance app in the country.
“This app is all about savings! Jerry just saved me $193/month on my car insurance. They literally found me the cheapest policies out there and with better coverage! Seriously, just sit back and watch Jerry work its magic.” —Rachel B.
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FAQs

There are several proven methods you can try to calm your cat in its carrier. Try surrounding them with familiar scents using their favorite bed or blanket. If that doesn’t work, use an artificial pheromone collar or spray to calm your cat in the carrier.
If you don’t have a carrier for your cat, you can transport them using a large vinyl gym bag, a harness, or a cat bed if they are particularly calm.

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