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Top Ten Things Not To Do When Traveling With a Cat

Here is the 24th installment of Ten Top Lists of What Not to Do by Marie Ann Bailey of 1WriteWay at and John W. Howell of Fiction Favorites at These lists are simu-published on our blogs each Monday. We hope you enjoy.


10.  When traveling with a cat by car, do not assume that your cat will not get car sick.  Take it for a short spin first.  Usually five minutes is long enough to determine if you will need to pull over to the side of the road and empty the pet carrier of the results of a double end evacuation response while keeping kitty contained in the car.

9.  When traveling with a cat by car, do not assume that because your cat sleeps all day, it will also sleep through a two-day trip up the coast.  At best, your cat will keep a running commentary in cat-speak attempting to convince you to provide a release from the confining pet carrier.  At worst, your cat will scream like a banshee and you’ll end up with hearing loss as a lasting souvenir of the trip.

8.  When traveling with a cat by car, and your cat is behaving in the worst-case scenario of #9, do not let your cat out of the pet carrier thinking it just needs a little room to stretch out.  At best, your cat will simply continue to howl, but now with the added advantage of being to do so directly into your ear.  At worst, your cat will nose-dive to the floor on the driver’s side, and you will narrowly miss a few or more accidents as you keep stepping on your cat while feeling for the brake.

7.  When traveling with a cat by train, do not try to sneak your cat on board what you know is a non-pet-friendly train.  Just because you’ve trained your cat to lay across your shoulders like an overfed mink stole, doesn’t mean that the conductor will be fooled.  One growl from Fluffy might be enough to find yourself and your cat dropped off at the next station, if you’re lucky.  If you’re not lucky, you’ll be charged with animal abuse and Fluffy will have the satisfaction of seeing you take the perp walk off the train.

6.  When traveling with a cat by train, do not think that your fellow travelers will find your cat’s antics as amusing as you do.  Hiding under your seat and swiping at every foot that passes by within an inch of Smoky’s nose is at best annoying to passengers trying to walk the aisle unmolested.  At worst, you will have forgotten to clip Smoky’s claws and so those needle-sharp claws will snag on every sock or exposed skin that passes by.

5.  When traveling with a cat by train, do not think it is okay to allow your cat to use the seat upholstery as a scratching post.  At best, you’ll simply be admonished by the conductor to put Tigger back in his pet carrier (providing that you are not guilty of #7).  At worst, you will be made to take a pair of scissors and needle and thread and attempt to repair the damage done by Tigger (and he will watch you the whole time with great satisfaction).

4.  When traveling with a cat by plane, do not think that once the seatbelt sign has been turned off that you can let Kitty out of the pet carrier stowed under the seat in front of you.  While you may think Kitty won’t bolt the second she senses freedom, in fact, she will.  In the best case, she’ll get no farther than the passenger next to you who just happened to bring a chicken sandwich on board.  In the worst case, she will go careening down the aisle and into First Class, lost to you forever.

3.  When traveling with a cat by plane, do not assume that Felix, who had never worn a leash and harness before, will remain calm while going through the security checkpoint.  At best, Felix will simply attach himself to your leg like Velcro and the TSA will defer giving you a full body scan.  At worst, Felix will make the Tasmanian devil seem meek by comparison and you will be held financially responsible for the “pain and suffering” of the TSA agents if not tasered first.

2.  When traveling with a cat on a cruise ship, well, first ask yourself why you would do that.  Then, if Merlin manages to escape from your cabin, the best you can hope for is someone finding Merlin huddled in the kitchen, sampling the chicken being prepared for that evening’s meal.  In the worst-case scenario, the ship’s crew will have found a new mascot.

1.  When traveling with a cat on a cruise ship, don’t let the staff talk you into working Snowy as a mouser in return for a discount on your ticket.  For one thing, there probably aren’t any little mice on the ship and what she comes across may just catch her instead.  For another, Snowy prefers Fancy Feast’s Beef and Cheddar Cheese Feast and will undoubtedly go on a hunger strike if she is served anything different.

Categories: Top Ten Lists

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Marie A Bailey

Writer, blogger, knitter, cat lover, and introvert.

38 replies

  1. I mostly travel with dogs, but really, I don’t think the lists are ALL that varied. I guess that depends on the size of the dog, but mine still manages to get right in my ear and whine or howl despite being sixty pounds 🙂


    1. Cats just have a different … attitude from dogs, except, as you say, for making ear-splitting, headache-inducing noise in the car. One difference: your dog will want to take the perp walk with you; your cat will be more than happy to watch and glare 🙂


  2. You two do this so well. Good humor!
    Of course, you’re going to get cat stories now…Paul and I had quite a time with our cats. I have a great scar that looks like cat whiskers right above the tattoo of Paul’s name. Our sweet little feral kitten, Abby, won that round and we canceled the vet appointment that day for her. Instead, we decided to take our latest stray, Peterson, in her place. He was not as feral and allowed us to trick him into the carrier. I had driven about 7 miles down the road, with a blood-soaked cloth around my wrist (Abby), when Peterson appeared out of no where and came straight at me. I’m struggling to get him off me and pull the truck over. I finally got safely pulled over and got out to get the carrier, and whoosh! Peterson was gone. I looked everywhere, called him and tearfully gave my info to the only people who lived nearby. We never saw Peterson again. He was a huge orange fur ball and we had really grown to love him.
    I didn’t mean to pick a sad story, I’ll do better next time…And if you keep bringing up cats, there will be a next time:>)


    1. I plan to bring up cats again so get your stories together 🙂 I’m so sorry about Peterson. I can imagine how you must have felt. I do hope Abby became less feral 😉


      1. Thanks, I went home in tears, but Paul was there to sooth me and we ended up having lots of laughter over those characters. Abby got to stay mostly feral…another story:>) Time to track down some old photos and maybe make a cat tales page…sounds like a good holiday avoidance project:>)


          1. I bet you do, you cat woman! Go ahead, we can link them, or at least have links to each other’s. The Write Way and Write Place Cat Tales! We’ll be famous throughout the land:>)


    1. I have a coworker who has actually traveled with SIX cats … she has amazing stories, but I hope to never have to travel any further than the vet with any of my four 😉


              1. I had a Burmese once. Had to find her a home. Neurotic and never warmed up to me. I am a true cat lady. Even had a sweatshirt once that said “every life should have nine cats”. At the time I actually did. Plus a dozen feral cats outside. My mom used to tell me that I would be one of those old ladies you hear about on the news with a houseful. I love cats. I miss having them. But it is cats or Warren. Some days I think I made the wrong choice 😉


                1. Ha ha ha … that last line! Yeah, I’ve had friends say the same about me (cat hoarder) but I think the most we cared for at one time was seven and only three were indoor. I’m just grateful that we haven’t had more show up at our door 🙂


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