Biggest Cat Traveling Worry

The cat carrier is a safeguard, sure -- but what about the things that could happen to cats inside?

Summer and I are getting ready for her biggest journey yet – we are flying from Los Angeles to Nashville for the BlogPaws conference. It involves driving across town to LAX and a four-hour-plus flight. I’m used to traveling with her by now and I know everything I need to bring for her – vaccination paperwork, phone numbers of veterinarians local to the hotel, and all the kitty comforts of home that will fit in a suitcase (my things just have to be stuffed around Summer’s belongings). But I’m still concerned. Why? I’m worried she’ll make a mess in her carrier or somewhere else.

Although Summer has been great about being carted around in the carrier and trips don’t freak her out like they do some cats, my worries aren’t unfounded. The first time I took her out for an afternoon – to the L.A. Feline Film Festival – she desperately begged to be let out of her carrier … and promptly let go on the grass walkway. I was not at all prepared, and had to grab a plastic bag from one of the rescues that had a booth there so I could clean up what she left. Now I carry poop bags with me, and for long trips like the one coming up, a pee pad. The only problem is she hasn’t yet gotten the idea that she can actually use the pee pad if she needs to. We tried in the ladies room at the Portland, Oregon airport a couple of months back and it just confused her. But when we finally arrived at the hotel, she was anxious for me to set up the litter box so she could use it.

I’ve prepared Summer as much as I can for a lengthy trip. We always do a little litter box routine before going anywhere – sometimes she needs to use the facilities, sometimes not. Although her carrier is not really conducive to bathroom use – it’s barely big enough for her to stand, and she can’t easily get into the crouch position cats prefer for relieving themselves – I still line it with a pee pad in case of accidents on long trips. Plus I carry an extra in the carrier’s pocket. Confession: sometimes I carry two, even though I have yet to use any.

There are probably a dozen other things I should be more concerned about – diseases that might be carried by any other pets at the hotel, the sheer number of dogs at BlogPaws (there are supposed to be about 100 there), and oh yeah, buying cat food for the trip! But no, I’m worried about her peeing. We all have our priorities when traveling with a cat, and apparently this one is mine.

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