How to Prepare for a Road Trip With Your Cat

I have found that one of the exciting aspects of exploring with our cats is that we can take them on road trips with us.

Initially, the thought of spending several hours in the car with Lumos and Noxie was fairly daunting, particularly as they haven’t always been the best travellers in the car. We learnt that this may be due to the carriers we were using.

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Lumos and Noxie in their carrier in the car

Lumos and Noxie in their carrier in the car

The Carrier

We use a Pet Travel Carrier from PetJoint for Lumos and Noxie. To see how we decided on this carrier, see here.

Prior to any trip, we restrain the carrier in the car using 2 bungee chords attached to pre-existing hooks and baby seat restraints in our car.

We also make sure the carrier is comfortable for Lumos and Noxie – the floor is lined with their favourite blanket and we provide them with some of their favourite toys.

If your cat is typically a nervous traveller, you could also spray some Feliway to relax your cat.


Lumos and Noxie do not leave our home without wearing their harnesses. As a result, they are always wearing their harnesses when they travel in the car.

This ensures that we can easily clip their leash to them if we need to.

Some cats use a harness that clips easily into a seatbelt, rather than travelling in a carrier. We decided against this as we could not find a harness that fitted Lumos & Noxie so snuggly that they couldn’t wriggle their way out of it completely. After all, Noxie is a very talented gymnast who can somehow get in and out of everything!

Feeding & Drinking

While we always ensure that Lumos and Noxie are well fed, we don’t feed them very close to our departure time. This is in an effort to reduce any motion sickness that they may feel.

We always take along some dry food, treats, their own water bottle and 2 collapsible bowls (one for water and one for food)

Kitty litter

Unfortunately, reminding your cat that they need to use the bathroom prior to a long car ride doesn’t mean that they will always go.

Whenever we travel, Lumos and Noxie have a kitty litter tray made out of a Tupperware box. This way the box can be closed whenever it is not used – convenient and hygienic.

This box is rather large, so it is not in the carrier with them. Instead, we keep it on the floor, and give them access to it during breaks. It is not the most ideal solution, but it does work for now.

Breaks along the way

While driving long distance, we need to make sure that we take a break every 2 hours, particularly to avoid fatigue.

Our cats also need a break – an opportunity to stretch their legs, use the bathroom and have some food and drink.

We always take a break at least every 2 hours (typically more). At times, Noxie will tell us by meowing that she wants a break too.

Our suggestion is to find a safe place to park – not on the side of a freeway, but rather a position like a rest stop, where you won’t have cars passing you very quickly.

Typically, Lumos and Noxie are happy to just explore the car. During this time, they will walk around, look out the windows and at times have some food & water and use their kitty litter.

While they are out of their carrier, we keep all the car doors closed. The doors are only opened when both Daniel & I are aware that both Lumos and Noxie are safely in their carrier and it is shut properly.

How do you travel long trips in the car with your cat?