Cats are generally OK if you leave them at home for the day, if you work or have to run errands. While every cat is different, most will be fine entertaining themselves for a few hours. But you shouldn’t leave cats alone for longer than this, and so if you need to travel for business, or you’re considering a vacation, you’ll need a plan.
Some people will prefer a pet sitter, either a friend or family member or a professional to come into your home and make sure your cats are doing OK, spending some quality time with them. Others might prefer a boarding cattery.
But why not take your cat with you? There are many hotels that allow cats around the world and while dogs are sometimes prioritized, many also welcome cats too. In fact, a lot of hotels will accept dogs or cats but set the weight limits based on dogs, meaning most cat breeds are accepted anywhere.
And you get the bonus of having your furry family members with you, without the worry about if they’re being looked after correctly. You don’t miss out on time with them either. So read on to learn more about the best hotels for cat owners, and what you need to consider when traveling with a cat.
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- Traveling with a Cat:
- Traveling with Cats Hotels:
- Cat-friendly Hotels in the US:
- Cat-friendly Hotels in Canada
- Cat-friendly Hotels in the UK
- Cat-friendly Hotels in Australia
- How to travel with a cat
- Traveling with a cat on a plane
- How to travel with a cat in a car
- Traveling with cats in car for a long distance
Traveling with a Cat:
When you’re traveling with a cat, there are a number of things you need to consider.
- Where you’ll stay – your accommodation needs to be suitable for a cat, and you need to make sure you’ve got permission to bring them with you. Many pet friendly hotel chains charge an extra fee, or a refundable deposit, so budget for that too
- How you’ll get there – whether you’re driving or flying, you’ll need to consider how you’re going to safely and comfortable transport your cat with you
- What you need to pack – the more home comforts you can bring with you, the more likely your cat is to settle, but consider what you need and what you can borrow or buy when you’re at your destination
- Emergency plans – if anything happens, do you know where the nearest emergency veterinarian will be?
Traveling with Cats Hotels:
Generally, when most people travel, they choose a destination before a hotel, and we have Floppycatters all over the world. With that in mind, here are some of the best hotel chains that welcome cats, rather than individual hotels.
Book your cat-friendly accommodation here.
The chains are grouped by main location, but some of these chains have hotels that allow cats all over the world, so wherever you’re planning on travelling, keep an eye out for one of these names if you want to be sure that your cat is welcome – although you should always check with the specific hotel, as some locations can have different rules.
Cat-friendly Hotels in the US:
- Kimpton Hotels
A lot of hotels claim to be pet friendly, but then only accept dogs. Kimpton Hotels very much buck that trend. In their own words, every family member, whether “furry, feathery or scaly” is welcomed at no extra charge, no matter their size. The group has 78 boutique hotels in total, 63 of which are in the US. Cats are even greeted by name when you arrive.
- La Quinta
If you’re looking for more of a mid-priced hotel break, La Quinta could be the perfect cat-friendly option for you. The hotels are clean, comfortable and affordable, with almost 900 pet-friendly hotels in the US. Dogs and cats are welcomed, with no more than two per room. A pet fee may be charged a check-in, which is $20 a night at a maximum of $40 for the stay.
- Loews Hotels and Resorts
There are luxury Loews Hotels across the US that will make you and your furry friend feel super-welcomed. Litter boxes and litter can be provided if you’re travelling light, while some hotels even provide a room service menu for your kitty, with food prepared by the Executive Chefs in the restaurant.
- Red Roof Inn
You don’t always want to splash out on a luxury hotel, and a Red Roof Inn offers great value accommodation for you and your cat. There’s no charge for pets but you’re only allowed one in your room (additional pets may be permitted at the manager’s discretion). There are no special features for your cat but if you just want a simple low-priced room this could be the ideal option.
- Provenance Hotels
If you actually want a really boutique experience, a Provenance Hotel might be more your style. There aren’t as many to choose from – just 14 locations across the country – but they offer a really warm welcome to pet owners, with a selection of toys and treats waiting in your room, and a list of local pet resources that you might need during your stay, including groomers and emergency veterinarians.
Cat-friendly Hotels in Canada
- Quality Inn and Suites
Anyone looking for affordable travel in Canada should take a look at the international hotel chain Quality Inn. There are over 60 in the country to choose from, with almost all welcoming up to two pets that weigh up to 20lb each, as long as you keep them off the bed.
- Fairmont Hotels
Fairmont is a global chain with 76 luxury hotels around the world, many of which are in Canada. Two pets under 20lb are welcome, with a daily fee from $25 to $40 per day. Nice touches include housekeeping topping up water bowls and providing extra pet blankets if needed, with pet sitting services available through the concierge.
Hilton is one of the most famous upmarket hotel chains in the world, and they’ve a number of sub-brands including DoubleTree, Embassy Suites, Waldorf Astoria and more. Many of them welcome pets, usually with only a deposit required that’s refunded if there’s no damage to the room which will typically be around $50-75.
- Westin Hotels
Westin is an upscale brand that is part of the Marriott group, with modern properties in Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, Ottawa and Calgary. There aren’t too many special services available for pets, but you’re allowed two cats in your room and beds and bowls are provided.
- Delta Hotels
Delta is another sub-brand of Marriott, this time a simple but stylish 4-star option with almost 40 hotels across Canada as well as more around the world. Guests with pets are accepted in most Delta hotels for a weekly fee that’s around CAD 35 on average, which includes a welcome bag with pet goodies.
Cat-friendly Hotels in the UK
- Best Western
This mid-range chain has hotels across the UK, many of which are pet friendly – though you’ll need to check before you book your individual hotel. Their website does specify dogs, cats and other animals are welcome, with special treats available from the restaurants that do accept animals.
Travelodge are known as one of the most prominent cheap hotel chains in the UK, with almost 600 destinations in cities, off motorways and in popular tourist attractions. Dogs and cats are welcomed, although you’ll need to pay an extra deep cleaning fee when you book. There are no fancy pet features, but you won’t find a lower priced cat-friendly option on your UK travels.
- Days Inn
An international brand, many of the UK Days Inn hotels are based off motorway service stations, making them a useful stop-off point on longer journeys. If you’re on a long drive with your cat, a Days Inn makes for a safe resting point, with a charge of £10 per pet per night.
Novotel’s mid-range 3- and 4-star hotels are mostly based in major cities around the UK, so they’re ideal for business and leisure travel. Most Novotel hotels allow one pet (without a weight limit) for GBP 15 a night. There aren’t usually any special features, but for affordable comfort in a prime location, Novotel are a reliable choice for pet owners.
- Britannia Hotels
Britannia are generally more affordable hotels, but they have excellent locations, including in some of the UK’s best coastal towns and countryside. Of the 60 hotels in the UK, 48 accept pets, with a likely charge of GBP 10 per night. While there are no specific pet-friendly facilities on site they do provide information on local amenities that also welcome pets.
Cat-friendly Hotels in Australia
There aren’t a lot of pet-friendly chains exclusive to Australia. Many of the other hotel options mentioned above do have locations Down Under, but here are three other alternatives:
- Medina Serviced Apartments
Rather than a hotel room, you might want a whole apartment for you and your cat to relax in. With accommodation in major destinations like Sydney and Canberra, you’ve some excellent modern options, and the space of an apartment may be more comfortable for your kitty. Expect to pay AUD 20 per night extra for your cat.
- Veriu Hotels
If you’re looking for a truly luxurious escape, you’ll love the boutique rooms of Veriu’s hotels. Pets are generally welcomed at most of the hotels though some conditions might apply – it’s best to call and check before you book. But if you want a sophisticated hotel break then consider this as a good option.
- Mercure Hotels
Another international chain, these high-quality hotels welcome pets of all shapes and sizes, with dedicated pet friendly rooms available. You can also book pet sitting with a trusted third party in some hotels to allow you to enjoy the hotel’s facilities without leaving your kitty unattended (which unfortunately isn’t allowed).
Check out these hotels and other cat-friendly options on Hotels.com.
How to travel with a cat
Here are some of the key things to consider when you’re preparing to travel with your cat:
Pick the right carrier…
You need to find a carrier that works for you and your pet. A hard-case carrier will be sturdy and secure, but you’ll want to make it more comfortable with a light blanket or mat. Soft-sided carriers are a little more comfy (and easier for you to carry) but they offer less protection against bumps and knocks.
…And get your cat used to it
It’s no good buying a carrier the day before you’re due to travel and hoping you can tempt your cat inside. Make sure to introduce your cat to the carrier as early as possible, and put some of their toys in there for them to find and play with while the carrier is open at home. If your cat is used to the carrier, they’re less likely to be stressed while you travel.
Take some favorite items with you
It’s really important to make sure your cat is happy both during your travels and at your destination, so take as many of their favorite items with you as you can comfortably pack. A couple of toys, their normal litter, and even a scratching post are perfect if you’ve got room in the trunk of your car. If you’re flying you’ll probably just want to focus on toys and a blanket that they’re used to.
Don’t feed your cat before you leave
A good tip for traveling with a cat, no matter your mode of transport, is to skip breakfast on the day you’re setting off. A cat with a full stomach is much more likely to suffer from motion sickness, so waiting until you reach your destination before a meal is a safer bet if you want to avoid a carrier covered in cat vomit.
Floppycat Reader's Tips
Amanda in our Floppycat's community also has some amazing tips which she shared on Facebook. .
There are a few provisions you need to make if you stay in hotels with your cats.
- Ensure that they are microchipped and their information is up to date against that chip.
- Put a notice on the hotel door that there are cats inside and to knock and wait if anything is required. You can also put a Do Not Disturb notice up. Let the front desk know that you do not require housekeeping services if you are worried about the cats being accidentally let out if you have to leave the room.
- Check that windows are closed before you open kitty crates inside the room. Also, make sure you have a litter box, litter and cleaning materials and that the bathroom has no crawl spaces where a cat will escape while exploring.
- Take a small scratching post with you so they have something familiar, and that will encourage them to scratch your post rather than hotel chairs and beds (that you may get a bill for damages).
- Hotel minibar water is expensive and you have no idea of the quality of water when you are in a new area, so bottle up some of your home water and take it with you.
- Make sure you have a list of vets in the areas you will be travelling through, and staying at. Don't assume that the information on the internet is current. Call them and confirm that they are still in business, still open at the advertised hours and that they will see your pet as a walk in. Ask if they have in-clinic waiting (maybe with mask) or if you will be required to wait in vehicle and the cat goes in to see the vet unaccompanied.
- If your cats normally sleep on the bed with you, you may wish to take a blanket from home to help them settle.8. I like to walk around a room and do a quick check for any potential hazards (loose fibers, electrical cables that have any fraying, positioning of lamp cables etc) rather than letting my cats discover them.
- If your cat is on medication, take enough for twice your proposed stay. You just never know when "unexpected problems" occur, and getting hold of replacement meds can be tricky.
- Ask your vet if you can have a summary of each pet's health history, and keep it with you on your travels. An emergency vet (outside YOUR vet's working hours) will be grateful to have an accurate picture.
- Any country that requires an inspection will require the pet to travel in the cargo hold prior to inspection. This includes Ireland, UK, and most of Europe. Australia has VERY tight laws regarding receiving animals. It would be best to let your subscribers know to contact the individual airline for guidance. I know that there are very expensive pet airlines that fly in cabin, and the Queen Mary II (ship) allows two pets (they have a restriction on the total number of pets - and they are kennelled with a groom with very long visiting hours) if sailing. Many people don't realise that they require pet passports, proof of vaccinations and titers, with microchips and corresponding paperwork before an animal can be "imported" into another country - even if only for a week or two. We've been looking into taking our cats back to the UK when my pension kicks in. We've discovered so many more regulations than there used to be, and many countries now have limits on how many can be taken (UK is 5). Kind of scuppered us as we have the 8 furballs.
Traveling with a cat on a plane
Looking to fly your cat to your destination? These FAQs will tell you the essential info to make sure you’re prepared.
Do cats have to travel in cargo?
No – cats don’t have to travel in cargo and you should avoid it if possible! A cat will be safer and more comfortable with you in the cabin. Many airlines allow for cat carriers to be brought into the cabin but they have certain restrictions.
For example, you’ll need a seat in front of you, to put the carrier under. You can’t book a seat on an exit row. Also, most airlines have a limit of pets on any given flight. So make sure you book early and contact your airline for specific details regarding their regulations.
What happens at security?
Your cat’s carrier will need to be x-rayed without your kitty inside. You’ll carry your cat through the metal detector used for humans.
That’s why it’s a good idea to get a harness, just to make sure you’ve got a tight hold and an easy way to get them in and out of the carrier as you travel through security.
How old does a cat need to be to fly?
This varies depending on your airline. Some airlines will allow kittens to fly from 8 weeks old, which is useful if you’re using a trusted breeder in a distant location. Others will require the cat to be older, up to 16 weeks, before they fly.
What documentation do you need?
Your airline will tell you what information you need to provide to show that your pet is able to fly. The paperwork might involve your cat’s vaccination records, or they may need a fit-to-fly certificate from your veterinarian.
Should I sedate my cat for a flight?
Most cats can fly without too much stress without the need for sedation. You should never sedate your cat without having consulted your veterinarian. If your cat is prone to panic in stressful situations, your veterinarian will discuss your options with you.
Do I need a passport for my cat?
You don’t need a passport for your cat if flying domestically, but international flights will require a passport. You can get one from a federally-accredited vet. You’ll also need to look into the costs and timeframes for any quarantine your kitty has to be placed in when you reach your destination country.
How to travel with a cat in a car
Traveling by car is generally more straight forward than flying, but here’s some essential things to think about:
Secure the carrier
You’ll want to use the seatbelt to secure the carrier if you can. Many have a specific slot to thread a seatbelt through to keep the carrier safe. This will stop the carrier sliding around as you drive, and more importantly will help to keep your kitty safer if you were involved in an accident.
Monitor the temperature
Even if you don’t feel your drive is too long, you need to keep tabs on the temperature inside the car, especially if it doesn’t have air-con. Your cat could easily overheat and get sick if stuck inside a car. Consider wrapping ice packs in towels and placing them near the walls of the carrier if it does get a little too warm.
Consider a cat harness
A cat harness isn’t for every cat (and some owners just don’t like them) but if you need to take breaks on your drive, or you’re planning on letting your cat out of the carrier while the car’s stopped, a harness can stop them from dashing through an open window or running off when the door is opened.
Traveling with cats in car for a long distance
Journeys over a longer distance add a few more complications that you should think about for your cat:
Take regular breaks
Your cat will need to stretch their legs every now and then, and will probably want to go toilet during longer drives. Plan in stops where you know you can easily give your cat a little bit of fresh air, but don’t let them roam around freely, or they may get lost or into trouble.
Get them used to the car
The longer the drive, the more stressed your cat could become. So, to help mitigate that, consider taking some shorter drives on the build up to your bigger trip, just so that your cat gets used to being in the carrier and some of the sights, sounds and smells of driving.
Hydration is key
Over the course of a long day’s drive your cat might be able to cope without food for a few hours but they’ll still need water. Keep a water bottle to hand so you can make sure your kitty stays hydrated, giving them time to get a good drink during every break.
What are your top tips for traveling with a cat? Let other Floppycatters know in the comments.