How To Transport a Cat Long Distance By Car

Cagri Sarigoz Cagri Sarigoz · Updated January 16, 2024

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Transporting a cat on a long-distance road trip can be challenging but certainly not impossible. Compared to a dog, cats have unique needs requiring special attention. But, with early and careful planning, it’s possible to have a safe and successful journey.

Prepare for Your Trip

Early preparation is vital to success in transporting your cat long distance. Using a car is safe and cost-effective, especially if you have multiple cats, cats that require medication, or are highly anxious.

Aiming for about six hours a day in the car with your cat is a good idea. Anything longer can start to stress your cat. After six hours in a carrier, give your cat plenty of playtime and exercise to de-stress and relax.

Preparing for your trip can start weeks ahead of time. Pack your cat’s necessities and start training with your cat as soon as possible. Proper preparations allow you to travel with your cat, even for extended trips.


Your cat’s carrier will be its haven for your trip. Ensure your carrier is large enough for your cat to sit, stand, and lie down without touching the sides. Because you’ll be driving, you won’t have to worry about the rigid size restrictions airlines and trains implement.

Either a hard-sided or soft-sided carrier will work for car transport. Make sure the carrier has plenty of ventilation and a leak-proof bottom.


While training a cat isn’t easy, you can get your cat accustomed to riding in a carrier. Start by placing your cat in the carrier for only a few minutes. As your cat becomes more comfortable, gradually increase the time your cat stays in the carrier.

Stay positive and offer treats as a reward if your cat is amenable. Eventually, your cat will equate the carrier with a positive experience, reducing stress and anxiety.

Litter Box

Unlike a dog, a cat won’t go to the bathroom outside on a leash. Instead, a cat needs a litter box to do its business. Invest in either a travel litter box or a disposable box. Travel litter boxes are smaller and have an easy-to-access litter drawer, keeping litter contained and easy to clean.

Disposable litter boxes are usually made with compostable materials and are lightweight to pack. It’s easy to use the disposable litter box on the road, then quickly toss the used litter box once you reach your final destination.


It goes without saying that you need to pack your cat’s necessities for the journey. Bring at least one gallon of water per day for your cat, as well as food, extra litter, and some comforts of home. Packing a favorite toy or blanket in your cat’s carrier will help reduce stress levels.

Clean Up

As careful as you may be, spills and accidents happen. Pack plenty of paper towels to clean up accidents or spilled water. A small, battery-powered vacuum can help clean up spilled litter, keeping your car clean and organized.

Pet Transport Service

A pet transportation service is a safe, affordable, and easy way to transport your cat long distance. While most pet transporters are happy to fly alongside your cat, several will drive your cat long distances to their final destination.

Pet transporters like CitizenShipper help handle the complicated logistics of long-distance transport. Pet transporters can tackle everything, from designing a logical route to collecting the necessary travel documentation to enter a new state.

How Does it Work?

CitizenShipper is easy to use, and it’s always free to list your trip. Sign up and get started with your cat transportation.

  • Step 1: Register. Visit our online community and create an account. We only need some basic information about your pet and your travel needs. It’s always free to list your trip.
  • Step 2: Receive Price Quotes. Experienced pet transporters will send you customized price quotes for your trip.
  • Step 3: Choose Your Transporter. You’ll have the chance to read individual biographies of various drivers and discuss travel logistics. You can then pick a transporter that matches your needs and your budget.
  • Step 4: Payment. When you reserve your transporter, you’ll pay a small, one-time fee to CitizenShipper. We aim to keep pet transport affordable, and your fee is based on the total distance traveled.
  • Step 5: Enjoy the Journey! Your transporter will pick up your pet, drive the long distance, and deliver your pet to your final destination. Review your driver in our online platform, so you can share your experience with others!

Cat Transport FAQs

Your cat’s safety and comfort should be your top priority with long-distance transportation. Understanding transport logistics and a cat’s unique needs will help you create a safer and more enjoyable trip for your cat.

How safe is my cat with a pet transportation service?

Rest assured; your cat will travel with an experienced and fully vetted pet transporter. You’ll be able to stay in regular communication with the transporter, and you’ll receive up-to-date photos and videos.

Plus, every trip with CitizenShipper is backed by guarantees ensuring your cat will stay safe and healthy. Each trip is backed by a Pet Protection plan and $1,000 of coverage. In addition, your driver will have 24-hour access to TeleVet services to triage and treat any illnesses or behavioral issues along the route.

Will a long-distance drive stress my cat?

Any animal that is out of its comfort zone will feel some level of stress. Some cats will be more anxious than others, simply based on personality.

To reduce stress, start practicing the road trip early. Getting your cat used to its carrier can help make it feel more at home. Give your cat plenty of comfort items, like a familiar blanket or toy. Having a familiar scent can help reduce stress and keep your cat calm.


Using a car to transport your cat long distance is possible with careful planning. Ground transport is cost-effective and efficient, especially transporting multiple cats. A pet transportation service like CitizenShipper can help streamline logistics and make long-haul cat transport easy.