Tips to Help Your Cat Handle a Car Trip to the Vet

As a cat owner, you know how harrowing car trips can be with your pet.

There are ways that you can help your cat get better adjusted to his or her carrier and ease some of the anxiety of being in the car. Start by making a veterinary appointment a week or so in advance and then use the following tips to help your cat have a far more enjoyable experience in your vehicle.

1. Although the temptation to let your cat roam free in your car is hard to resist, don’t do it. Your cat will be more comfortable confined to her carrier, trust us. The ride will be smoother for her and you don’t have to worry about a roaming cat affecting your driving. Some cats can claw through a cloth carrier so you may want to invest in a plastic one.

2. Leave your cat carrier in your living room before your vet visit. According to, making your cat's carrier a welcoming place that you can use to hide treats, cat toys, and other fun pet supplies is a wonderful way to take some of the stigma out of being inside it. In the week before your visit to the vet, consider padding the bottom of the carrier with towels, small pillows and anything else that can make it more inviting for your cat.

3. Always travel on an empty stomach. Make an effort to make your veterinary appointment earlier in the morning, or at least 3 hours after feeding, to ensure that your cat won't be traveling with a stomach full of food, suggests Cats can experience motion sickness quite easily, which may cause them to vomit en route to your appointment. Give your cat a meal when you return home and a few extra cat treats to reward him or her for good behavior.

4. Take short drives around the block. Getting your cat used to your carrier at a young age is recommended, but if you're dealing with an adult pet, you should take the process very slowly. Start by putting your cat in your carrier and simply carrying him or her around the house. Eventually, you can start taking short car trips with your cat around the neighborhood, going a bit farther each time.

Travel anxiety is something that may cat owners will have to cope with when going on vacation or simply taking a trip to the vet. However, there are a variety of ways that you can lessen the stress of the experience and help your pet become more accustomed to the occasional journey in your car.

This article is brought to you by the pet behavior experts at Hartz. When it comes to training your dog and cat, our knowledge and experience is guaranteed to make the process easy, smooth and fun!