You can spare yourself a lot of trauma by getting your kitten comfortable with traveling at a young age. This doesn’t mean she’ll never hide from you when you pull out the carrier, but it does mean you both will be much less stressed and anxious on your way to your next destination.
For Traveling by Car:
1. If you’re staying at hotels or motels, make sure they accept pets.
2. Keep your kitten in her carrier at all times. If you’re traveling long distances, consider getting a large crate so you can put a small litter box in the corner.
3. Put a harness on her for the duration of the car trip. Make sure the harness has an ID tag with your current contact information attached. When you take her out of the carrier, put the leash on her. (When you get to your hotel or other destination, you can remove the harness and replace it with her collar, which should also have an ID tag on it.)
4. Bring disposable litter boxes with you. These are easier to clean up for one-night stops at hotels. If you’ve got room in your car and are going to be at your vacation destination for a while, bring a full-size litter box. Bring your kitten’s usual brand of litter with you.
5. Pack your kitten’s usual food and a supply of water from your home. Sudden changes in chlorine levels and pH, and possible bacterial contamination, can lead to constipation or diarrhea. Bring her bowls and any medications she might be taking.
6. Make sure to pack at least one interactive cat toy so you can help your kitten relax in your hotel room or at your destination.
7. Bring a photo of your kitten just in case she happens to get lost.
8. Do not leave your kitten unattended in the car! Even if you’re just stopping for a few minutes to use the restroom, your car can get fatally hot very quickly. She may even be stolen out of your vehicle while you’re not there.
For Traveling by Air:
1. If you must fly your kitten, get approval to carry her in the cabin. With the current regulations about carry-on luggage, you won’t be able to bring more than one personal item (purse, messenger bag) and one cat, so keep that in mind.
2. Airlines have very strict rules about pet travel, so call well in advance, make your reservation for your kitten, and pay any extra fees for this privilege. Get a copy of the airline’s pet policy, and your and your kitten’s reservations, in writing. Bring these with you when you check in for your flight.
3. Make sure you have all required documentation (this might include proof of vaccinations and health records).
4. Your kitten will need to be in an airline-approved carrier. At minimum, that means the carrier needs to fit under the seat in front of you. Check with the airline for specifics about approved carriers.
5. Put a LIVE ANIMAL label on your kitten’s carrier. Even though she’ll be with you, if something happens and you and your kitten are separated, this is important.
6. Check before you leave to make sure your carrier is in good repair.