Catster is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

Does Amtrak Allow Cats? Train Pet Policy & Safety Tips

Written by: Christian Adams

Last Updated on June 4, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

Teenager in a train with cat carrier

Does Amtrak Allow Cats? Train Pet Policy & Safety Tips

Are you a proud cat owner who can’t bear the thought of leaving your furry friend behind when you travel? If so, you’re not alone. Many pet owners struggle with the logistics of traveling with their pets, especially when it comes to transportation.

Does Amtrak allow cats? Yes, you and your feline friend can embark on an adventure together, enjoying the sights and sounds of train travel while staying safe and comfortable. But there are restrictions. Here, we explore everything that you need to know to make your Amtrak journey with your cat as smooth and stress free as possible.

3 cat divider

Amtrak Pet Policy and Rules

Amtrak has specific rules and policies for traveling with pets, and it’s essential to follow them to ensure a smooth journey1. Let’s take a look at them.

  • First, your cat must be in a carrier at all times. The carrier must fit under your seat or in the overhead storage space.
  • Your cat must be well-behaved and not disrupt other passengers. If your cat is loud or aggressive, Amtrak may ask you to leave the train.
  • You must clean up after your cat, and you cannot let your cat roam freely on the train.
  • You must carry all the necessary paperwork, such as vaccination records and health certificates, for your cat.

Amtrak also has restricted areas on the train for pets, and you can’t take your cat to the dining car, lounge car, or sleeping car. If you have a particularly rambunctious cat, you may want to avoid traveling during peak hours to minimize disruption to other passengers.

cat in cat carrier
Photo Credit: SpeedKingz, Shutterstock

Booking Your Amtrak Tickets With a Cat

Amtrak allows cats to board their trains, but you must book your tickets in advance and inform them that you will be traveling with a cat. They usually allow one pet per passenger, and you must pay a pet fee. The pet fee varies depending on the route and the length of the trip. You can book your tickets online or over the phone, but you must call Amtrak’s customer service to add your pet to the reservation. The customer service representative will provide you with more information about the pet policy and answer any questions you may have.

When booking your Amtrak tickets, ensure that you choose a pet-friendly route and destination. Note that some Amtrak routes and trains do not allow pets, while others have limited pet accommodations. You should also consider the length of the journey and the time of day when booking your tickets.

Cat-Friendly Amtrak Routes and Destinations

Amtrak has many “pet-friendly” routes and destinations that you can choose from. The most popular routes include the Northeast Corridor, Pacific Surfliner, and Coast Starlight. These routes have pet-friendly cars and accommodations, and you can enjoy scenic views and comfortable seating. You can also choose from a variety of destinations, like New York City, San Francisco, and Chicago. These major cities have many pet-friendly hotels, parks, and attractions that you and your cat can enjoy.

When choosing a destination, ensure that you research pet-friendly hotels and accommodations in advance. You may also want to consider the weather and temperature of the destination, depending on the time of year that you travel, as some cats may not tolerate extreme heat or cold well.

cats in cat carrier
Photo Credit: Creative Cat Studio, Shutterstock

Preparing for Your Trip With Your Cat

Traveling with a cat requires some extra preparation than traveling alone. Before you take your cat on an Amtrak train ride, you must prepare your furry friend for the journey. First, take your cat to the vet for a check-up and ensure that your cat is up to date with vaccinations. Second, buy a cat carrier that is Amtrak-approved and comfortable for your cat. You can also introduce your cat to the carrier by placing some treats or a soft blanket inside the carrier. This will help your cat feel more comfortable and less anxious during the train ride.

Make sure to pack all the necessary supplies for your cat, such as food, water, a litter box, toys, and medications. Ensure that you have enough food and water for the journey. Bring your cat’s favorite food and treats to keep your cat happy and satisfied. You should also consider bringing a collapsible water bowl and bottled water for your cat. Remember to pack a litter box, litter, and scoop as well. You can use a disposable litter box for convenience. Additionally, bring your cat’s favorite toys and blankets to help them feel more at home on the train. These preparations will help ensure that your cat is comfortable and healthy throughout the journey.

Tips for a Smooth Train Ride With Your Cat

Traveling with a cat on a train can be challenging, but there are some tips and tricks that can make the journey smoother.

  • Make sure that your cat is comfortable in the carrier before the journey. You can place some treats or toys inside the carrier to make it more inviting.
  • Try to keep your cat calm and relaxed during the journey. You can use a pheromone spray or diffuser to help your cat feel more relaxed.
  • Always clean up after your cat and keep the carrier and surrounding area clean and tidy. It’s also essential to keep an eye on your cat during the journey and check on them regularly. You can offer food and water to your cat during stops or breaks.
  • Be prepared for any unexpected situations, such as delays or cancellations. So always bring extra food, water, and supplies to ensure that your cat is comfortable and healthy during the journey.
cat in a carrier
Image Credit: David Prahl, Shutterstock

Activities to Do With Your Cat While on the Train

Traveling with a cat on a train can be an interesting experience. If your cat is well-behaved (and not stressed out), you can also keep them entertained during the trip. There are many activities that you and your cat can enjoy while on the train.

You can play with your cat using toys or a laser pointer to keep them entertained and stimulated during the journey. Also, consider getting some cat photos and documenting your journey with your feline friend. Share your photos on social media, and use the hashtag #AmtrakCats to connect with other cat lovers who have traveled on Amtrak with their pets.

Dealing With Anxious Cats

Cats are known to be anxious animals and can easily become stressed when taken out of their comfort zone. However, there are a few things that you can do to help your cat relax before traveling.

  • Create Comfort: First, try to create a calming environment for your cat. This can be achieved by setting up a safe and comfortable space for them to rest in. Next, try to help your cat relax before traveling by providing them with familiar items. This can include their favorite toys, blankets, or treats. Having these items around can help your cat feel more comfortable and secure in their surroundings.
  • Tire Them Out: It is also important to give your cat plenty of exercise and playtime before traveling. This can help them release any pent-up energy and reduce their stress levels. A tired cat is more likely to sleep during travel, which can further help them relax.
  • Consider Medicine: Lastly, if your cat is particularly anxious or prone to motion sickness, you may want to speak to your veterinarian about possible medication options. There are medications available that can help calm your cat’s nerves and reduce the risk of motion sickness.
Image Credit: Impact Photography, Shutterstock

3 cat dividerWrapping Things Up

Traveling with a cat on Amtrak can be a fun and exciting adventure for both you and your cat. However, it’s essential to prepare your cat and follow the Amtrak pet policy and rules to ensure a smooth journey. The essential tips for traveling with a cat on Amtrak include booking your tickets in advance, choosing a pet-friendly route and destination, and bringing all the necessary supplies for your cat.

It helps to make sure that your cat is well-fed and in great shape before you take them on the road with you. You also want to ensure that your crate is the right size and that you’ve gone over all of the Amtrak rules and regulations for pet travel.

Featured Image Credit: BestPhotoPlus, Shutterstock

Get Catster in your inbox!

Stay informed! Get tips and exclusive deals.
Catster Editors Choice Badge
Shopping Cart


© Pangolia Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved.