It’s best to start with a quick trip to the veterinarian. Make sure all shots are up-to-date, especially rabies, and get a health certificate.

While many states have differing requirements about traveling through, most are serious about rabies and you want to protect your cat. Gather food, water, dishes, toys, treats and such. Don’t forget litter, a litter box, litter-scoop, plastic bags and paper towels.

Ready to go?

The very first and most important thing to remember about traveling with your cat is it can be very dangerous to have a cat loose in the car. Always travel with your cat in a secure carrier. Cats will feel much more secure if confined to a carrier, especially if you include something that smells like home.

"During summer travels, it’s important you don’t underestimate how rapidly the temperature inside a car rises. Do not leave your cat unattended in the car."

The second most important thing to remember is to not even think about ignoring this requirement. Take the shoulder strap for the seat belt, run it through the top handle of the carrier and latch the carrier into place. This means using a seat in the car where there is good ventilation—not stuffing the carrier underneath the luggage in the back.

A case with space

A bigger carrier is not always better. The carrier should be a comfortable size so your cat can get up and turn around. Consider a kitty harness and leash in case the cat must be taken from the carrier for some reason, like a transfer or accident clean up.

While we never like to think about an accident or an unexpected event, they can happen. With an open window or door, your cat could escape and become lost or injured. It’s not worth the chance. Don’t fall for the pitiful meows and think that your cat will be happier out of the carrier. That’s just a clever ploy by some cats to hide underneath a car seat, making it totally impossible to retrieve them safely at the final destination.

Keeping kitty cool

During summer travels, it’s important you don’t underestimate how rapidly the temperature inside a car rises. Do not leave your cat unattended in the car. It’s common sense not to leave your cat in an empty car, and many states have laws that prohibit this.

Lastly, do not feed a huge meal in the morning of the trip. If their digestive systems are loaded down, it is more likely they might get carsick or need to eliminate. That’s why you’ve packed the plastic bags and paper towels in a handy place.