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Should You Take Your Cat On Vacation Or Leave Them At Home? Tips & FAQ

Written by: Elizabeth Gray

Last Updated on February 29, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

cat sitting inside an open suitcase

Should You Take Your Cat On Vacation Or Leave Them At Home? Tips & FAQ


Dr. Lauren Demos (DVM) Photo


Dr. Lauren Demos (DVM)


The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Planning a vacation can be stressful, but if you have a cat, there’s even more logistics to figure out. Should you take your cat on vacation with you or leave them at home? If you leave them at home, who will take care of them? If you take them with you, how can you make sure your cat stays safe and comfortable?

When deciding whether to take your cat on vacation, you’ll need to consider such factors as your pet’s personality, the details of your trip, and your options for care if you leave them home. Keep reading to learn tips for making this decision and answers to frequently asked questions about how to make it all work!

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Points to Consider When Deciding if You Should Take Your Cat on Vacation

Maine Coon tortoiseshell cat sitting on cat house
Image Credit:, Shutterstock

The Cat’s Personality

Your cat’s personality plays a significant role in determining whether you should take them on vacation. Shy, nervous cats may become too stressed by traveling and leaving their safe home environment. Older kitties with health issues or cognitive decline are probably better off at home, too.

On the other hand, outgoing, well-socialized cats who are bonded to their owners may prefer to tag along on vacation. Staying home alone may actually be more stressful for these kitties.

Where Are You Traveling?

Consider your vacation destination when deciding whether to take your cat with you. If you’re traveling internationally, what are the regulations regarding traveling with pets? Many countries require health certificates or even a quarantine period for domestic animals entering their borders.

How Are You Getting to Your Destination?

It’s easiest and cheapest to take your cat with you on vacation if you’re driving. While you can often take pets on planes, trains, and other forms of mass transit, it can be complicated and expensive, not to mention loud and potentially stressful for your cat. Consider your travel plans when deciding whether your cat should come along.

Image Credit: New-Africa, Shutterstock

Where Are You Staying?

While you can find pet-friendly lodging in almost any location, not all welcome cats as frequently as dogs. You’ll need to do some research to determine if your cat has a place to stay on your journey.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Can Cats Be Left Alone?

In general, adult cats shouldn’t be left alone longer than 24 hours. Young kittens need even more supervision and shouldn’t be on their own for more than a few hours.

What Are My Options for Care If I Leave My Cat at Home?

1. Board Your Cat

Boarding your cat at a kennel facility or veterinarian’s office is one option. Look for a facility that keeps cats separate from dogs and offers frequent opportunities for one-on-one interaction with the staff. Make sure your cat will be housed in a space with enough room for their bed, litter box, and food to stay separated from each other.

If your cat needs medication or a special diet, ensure the staff is prepared to handle your pet’s needs. Shy cats may struggle to adjust to staying at a boarding facility, but most will become more comfortable over time.

cat boarding
Image Credit: Bussakorn Ewesakul, Shutterstock

2. Leave Your Cat with a Friend

Another option is to have your cat stay at a friend, neighbor, or family member’s house while you’re gone. This tends to be an inexpensive choice for care and ensures your cat will have constant company and supervision.

Ideally, your cat should stay with someone they already know and trust. Try to take your cat to visit before you leave them at the location so they can start getting comfortable there. Some cats may struggle with the change in routine or become stressed by other pets who live in the home.

3. Have Someone Come to Your House to Care for Your Cat

Frequently, the least stressful way to leave your cat home from vacation is to have someone come to your house to take care of them. This can either be someone you know or a professional pet sitter. Your cat has the benefit of staying in a familiar environment with minimal disruption to their daily routines. If you hire a pet sitter, carefully check their references, insurance, and qualifications. Ask them to meet your cat to see how they get along.

How Can I Make Traveling with My Cat Less Stressful?

1. Get Them Used to Their Carrier

Train your cat to tolerate riding in the car and their carrier from an early age. This will make any type of travel, whether to the vet or on vacation, much easier. Make sure the carrier is big enough for the cat to stand, sit, and lie down comfortably. Place a blanket, bed, or toys inside to help your cat feel at home.

cat sitting in suitcase travel
Image Credit: Monika Wisniewska, Shutterstock

2. Pack Appropriately

Cats will appreciate having the comforts of home as they travel. You can bring their litterbox, litter, food, bed, and toys to help them feel secure. Pack cleaning supplies, your cat’s health records, and any medications, too.

3. Ask About Stress-Relieving Medications

To keep your cat calm while traveling, consider using feline pheromone products. You can also ask your vet to prescribe medications for anxiety or to keep your cat sleepy while you travel. Don’t use any human medications or herbal remedies for your cat without asking your veterinarian first.

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When deciding whether to take your cat on vacation or leave them at home, you’ll need to consider several factors, including your travel plans and your kitty’s personality. Both choices can work well for your cat with the appropriate planning and research. If you aren’t sure which option is best, talk to your veterinarian for advice. They can also ensure your cat is healthy enough for travel and provide any documents you might need.

Featured Image Credit: Svetlana Rey, Shutterstock

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