How to Keep Your Cat Happy on Road Trips: 5 Successful Tips

How to keep your cat happy on road trips back seat

This shop on how to keep your cat happy on road trips has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #ProtectFromPetMess #SeasonalSolutions #CollectiveBias

If you have a pet cat and have taken it in the car, you can totally relate to what I’m about to tell you. I have several rescue kitties and they seem perfectly content in the back seat for about 30 seconds. After that, they’re all about exploring, wailing, and making messes! But, with age and plenty of road trips under our belt, I’ve found easy ways to keep them comfortable and content. From short trips to the vet to trips across the country, here’s five successful tips on how to keep your cat happy on road trips.

how to keep your cat happy on road trips Vex

1. Test Drive for Motion Sickness

Yep, cats can get motion sickness just as easily as we can. I had the sweetest black cat at my first apartment that hated to be alone in the house, so I’d take her to visit my parents with me almost once a week. And, while the trip was only an hour, I could predict that at about halfway through the windy road trip she’d get sick. True, I wouldn’t take her in the dead of winter, but I did love traveling with her in the fall!

After a few trips with her stomach a mess, I took her to the vet for advice. He prescribed motion sickness medicine for her that worked like a charm. My advice? Take a couple of small trips in the car with your cat to see how it will react. If you do notice signs of motion sickness, a trip to the vet is a really good idea. You don’t want your cat to be sick on a road trip, no matter how long. And you definitely don’t want messes to clean up afterwards. A good idea is to feed and water your cat before you leave, too. If you find your cat is susceptible to motion sickness, smaller, lighter meals will help.

Speaking of messes…

Interested in using STAINMASTER®™ Carpet Pet Stain Remover this fall season? Hover over the photo to click through to and buy it!


2. Clean Up Messes Immediately if Possible

I’m going to be honest. I have one room in my home that has carpeting. And, when my cats get sick, it’s always in that particular room that it happens. Like clockwork.  If you already own a cat, you know that when they “scarf and barf”, if you don’t clean it up immediately, you end up with a funky-colored stain on your carpet or couch that is super hard to remove. What I like to do is be proactive about messes when road tripping.

On a road trip, I know it’s going to happen eventually, so I keep pet stain remover in the back seat with the necessary means to clean it up and get moving again.

where to find PETMASTER carpet pet stain remover at Target
Where to find PETMASTER Carpet Pet Stain Remover at Target

My carpet stain remover of choice lately? STAINMASTER®™ Carpet Pet Stain Remover. Here’s why. Not only does it work well (the main reason I’m digging it) but it doesn’t leave a sticky residue that some of the other cleaners do. Turns out that residue can attract dirt and dust. Yep, that just means that you’ll be re-cleaning the same spot over and over. It’s easy to find at Target in the cleaning aisle and I find it very affordable.

how to keep your cat happy on road trips cleaning messes
When it comes to cleaning pet messes in the car, make sure you have what you need handy!

Another benefit to using STAINMASTER Carpet Pet Stain Remover is the fact that it actually protects against future stains. In a nutshell, it leaves behind an invisible shield that actually repels dirt, protects against resoiling, and leaves no sticky residue. How’s that for a trinity of clean? All I have to do is spray the stain, leave the product on for about five minutes, then dampen the spot with water and blot with a clean cloth. If it doesn’t get the entire stain on the first go, I repeat the process until it’s clean. It’s good for regular old stains as well: coffee, grape juice, chocolate syrup, and even motor oil. So, you don’t even need a pet to reap its benefits. Plus, it’s perfect for my carpet and tracking in all those autumn leaves. They end up staining the carpet and it removes the stains so well.

While I’m singing its praises, it has a nice, clean scent. Did I mention that it eliminates pet stain odors with ODOR REMOVE™ technology? Yep, that, too. Tip: STAINMASTER Carpet Pet Stain Remover is recommended for stain resistant, nylon, polyester and polypropylene color-fast carpets and rugs. It’s not recommended for use on upholstery, handmade, viscose, natural fibers (including wool and cotton), oriental, antique or bath rugs.

3. Invest in a Good Carrier

When I was younger, my parents would take the kids and the cats on road trips. I remember them walking around the car and trying to maintain their balance through turns and stops. Back then pet carriers weren’t an option, though. We had to either hold our cats on our laps or let them wander about.

These days, pet carriers are affordable and just make sense. Not only will they keep you cat safer should an accident happen, the carrier will keep your kitty confined to one area – and that will keep you happier.

4. Take Frequent Breaks

There’s nothing more distracting when behind the wheel than kids or cats wailing. I’ve had both at the same time and it’s downright nerve wracking. My solution? Make frequent pit stops.

If you’re keeping your cat in a carrier for the entire trip (safe move, by the way), it will undoubtedly want out. Now. To show its disdain for the carrier, caterwauling is its call to action. So, give your kitty a break by taking it out of the carrier frequently and letting it walk around the car for a few minutes. You’ll be surprised how much that will help. Make sure you have a nice, soft blanket or towel in the bottom of the carrier for messes and spills and to keep kitty comfy. If you have kids, let them stretch their legs in this beautiful, autumn weather we’re having. Heck, your kitty may enjoy the fallen leaves, too.

If you feel your kitty would like to stretch its legs, make sure you’ve packed a collar and leash. Cats, especially scaredy cats, like to run when they’ve been frightened.

how to keep your cat happy on road trips make your own cat box
Making your own travel cat box is super inexpensive and easy.

5. Offer the Litter Box at Each Stop

Just like small children, when you make a pit stop offer the bathroom to your kitty. You don’t need anything fancy, either. I find that a traditional litter box is just too large for my vehicles so I make my own using a box lid and a two small tied garbage bags. One works as the litter box liner and the other is to cover the entire setup while we’re traveling.

While there’s nearly no effort to make your own cat box, they do have travel boxes that are pretty inexpensive. I, personally, prefer my method as I can just pitch it in the garbage can when I get home.

Make sure to bring a couple of extra bags for scooping and storing pet waste, too. That’s a smell you definitely don’t want lingering in the car on long trips!

Ready to take your cat on a road trip? Here's five tips to make your next road trip with your cat a successful one!

I’ve shared my best tips for keeping my cats happy on road trips so now it’s your turn. What’s your best tip? Please share in the comments section below! Want more tips from SoFab writers? Head to our Fall Inspiration Hub!

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17 Thoughts to “How to Keep Your Cat Happy on Road Trips: 5 Successful Tips”

  1. Ola

    I don’t have a cat and never even thought about the fact that some people might take a road trip with theirs. In that case a good stainmaster pet spray is a must to have.

  2. I need to pick some of this stuff up. My cats are forever coughing up furballs in the house. We don’t take them on the road that often, only when we have to move.

  3. Akamatra

    Mini the cat (our cat) doesn’t do cars well. He is scared and not shy about it. These are great tips, I will keep them in mind!

  4. Awwe how cute is it to make a road trip with your cat! I am a cat person and I had two cats Baloo and Prince growing up but we never took them for a car ride. These tips will come in use because I am sure my daughter will nag for a cat in near future!

  5. These are great tips! I need to keep Stainmaster in my car, too, because my dog always rides with us and my kids make so many messes! Your cat is adorable! #client

  6. Stuart Brazell

    I am totally sending this to my cat loving best friend. Such a much needed travel article for feline owners!

    xx, Stuart

  7. Blair villanueva

    Awesome tips! I guess making your cat comfortable in your car, just like at home is the wise idea.

  8. Aine

    What! I’ve never heard of people bringing their cats on road trips, that is gas. Where do you put it when you stop at accommodation?

  9. Those are quite handy tips. Taking care of pets is often tiresome if one doesn’t know how to care! Thanks for sharing

  10. Wow! I’d never even thought to bring our cat on car trips, but this post makes it look easy. That Stainmaster stuff is amazing for protecting our furniture, especially our couch which the cats LOVE. A little too much.

  11. I guess making them at ease is the very first thing to do. Make them feel that going out and traveling is normal. Let them be used to it. Start with short distance until they are already used to it and ready for long hours of travel.

  12. I don’t have a cat myself but my parents have several and these are great tips to keep them happy while traveling!

  13. Amrit

    Excellent tips indeed.Pets can have a difficult time while travelling.Frequent breaks does help

  14. Leigh Anne Borders

    What a beautiful cat. I wish we had one. We have two dogs and they go with us on vacations.

  15. I am not a cat person but you have shared some nice tips which can be helpful for other pets too!

  16. Wanda

    We have a ragdoll cat and she is a traveler. We have a fith wheel and she has been to more states than most kids. We go prepared for anything. She has her own spots to sleep in the motorhome, she actually eats better in there. We put a harness on her and let her out at every rest stop. She loves the way the air smells so different wherever we are. Her traveling days are winding down, her kidneys are beginning to go. She is 15, but she will always be an adventurer at heart.

  17. […] that want to hang out with adoptable kitties. Now, I’m not writing that you have to take any cats home, but they sure are adorable. Plus, toe beans. The cafe is super popular, so you’ll want […]

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