Traveling with cats may not seem as common as traveling with dogs. Cats are often seen as problematic and territorial creatures. It is in part true: they have a personality and they are territorial. But being territorial means that they will mark their territory and defend it from unwanted cats, dogs and sometimes even people – it doesn’t mean that, if you train them, they can’t follow you wherever you go.
But, do Maine Coons travel well in a car? Yes, Maine Coons travel well in cars. With their intelligence and sociability, Maine Coons would certainly prefer to travel in the car with you rather than being left behind for hours or days. I always have a great time traveling with my Maine Coon. With some preparation and a little bit of training, we’ve passed from short drives to the grocery shops to 2-day road trips (3 hours going and 3 more hours coming back the next day).
In this article, I’d like to share some tips on how to train your Maine Coon and help them get used to car travel, how cat owners should prepare before leaving, and some tips that could be useful during the travel. I wrote a whole article on my trip if you’d like to read it.
There is not much information online about what cat breeds are the best travelers, but the few I could find never really mentioned Maine Coons. Even though every cat is unique and has their own personality, if you want to adopt a cat that won’t give you a hard time teaching her to travel with you, a Maine Coon would be certainly suitable.
I certainly find so anyway, alita has never given me any cause for concern when travelling in a car.
Maine Coons are known for being extremely intelligent and sociable, they love their human family, get along easily with strangers, dogs and other cats, and they can easily adapt to new situations. A Maine Coon would certainly prefer to follow you wherever you go rather than staying alone in the house.
It’s the perfect companion for those who love traveling. Personally, I found my Maine Coon to be the best travel companion I could ever wish for. Of course, I had to give her some training, starting with small journeys to the coffee shop and then trying longer and longer travels. Our longest trip so far has been about 3 hours (and back again the next day!). We were both prepared for the trip and we had zero issues – and a great time together!
As I mentioned above, I had to train my Maine Coon to travel in the car with me. If I had taken her for an hour-long trip straight away, I think it wouldn’t be pleasant for either of us.
So I started with smaller trips to the shops in town. When you travel with a cat in the car, he or she should necessarily remain in the carrier for the whole time, so the first part of the training was teaching my Maine Coon that nothing bad would happen if she entered the carrier.
Never force your Maine inside the carrier; if she or he is too stressed, let them calm down and try again later. Put a blanket inside the carrier or anything that your Maine Coon can recognize like his own.
Once you are in the car, start with short trips and then gradually move on to longer journeys. You’ll see your Maine Coon starting facing these trips like a common daily routine.
I also found that she was pretty sensible in the car without needing any restraint. I only do very short trips on my own with her, preferring someone present for the longer trips.
Once you have blocked the underseat access to the driver’s seat, which I do with a big bag or a towel, then mostly Alita will remain in the rear watching the world go buy. She got very accustomed to it quickly, and never really showed any sense of panic or agitation.
Maine Coons trust their owners it seems.
Once your Maine Coon is trained to travel in the car, you can basically bring her with you wherever you wish. As long as you plan some pit-stops, feed them properly and give them enough water, you can possibly travel with them for hours.
The longest trip I had with my Maine Coon was 3 hours, with a 3 hours back journey the following day. I’ve never needed to do longer journeys, but it wouldn’t worry me (or my Maine Coon either).
I personally choose to take a break every 90 minutes or so, and let Alita do a bit of wandering with me.
Before going into the details of the best tips for road-trips with your Maine Coon, let’s see how to prepare to travel with her in your car.
Get your Maine Coon familiar with your car
I’ve mentioned before that you should allow your Maine Coon to get used to your car. Before even starting with short trips, take your cat in the car when it’s turned off and just stay there in the back sit together. Let your cat explore and sniff the entire car, give him treats and pet them. Take very short rides, just around the block. Drive slow and let your Maine Coon get used to the movement.
Provide yourself with a cat carrier
You can only travel with your cat in your car if he/she stays in their carrier for the entire trip. Letting your cat wander inside the car would be dangerous for both of you. Certainly if you are the only human. I tend to allow more free reign on very short trips or when I have company. I’ve learned to trust alita in the car over many many months.
Also, don’t forget the walking leash and harness. If you will be removing your Maine Coon from the car, clip them up before opening the doors, and make sure you have a good hold of them.
Food and drink
Give your Maine Coon food and drink before the trip, but avoid feeding them just before you leave. I always feed my Maine Coon at least a couple of hours before the trip (if it’s going to be a long one). This way you can avoid your cat feeling sick during the journey.
Additionally bring plenty of their favorite food and water, along with the vessels to eat from.
Provide yourself with disposable liners
Get prepared for possible accidents. Possible accidents can happen especially during longer trips. Carry some disposable liners with you and put one inside your Maine Coon carrier. Bring some trash bags so you can make sure you always know where to throw the dirt. Bring extra towels and cleaning solutions, avoid getting caught unprepared for possible accidents.
Especially if you’re leaving for a vacation or a long road trip, make sure your Maine Coon’s identification info are updated and easily accessible. For example, even if your Maine Coon doesn’t wear a collar and tag at home, provide her with an identification tag with updates contacts so that you can be easily reached in case she/he gets lost.
If your cat is microchipped, make sure the information associated with it is updated. If it’s not, consider microchipping your Maine Coon before leaving.
It is also a good idea to bring your Maine Coon’s vet information with you. They could be useful in case your cat needs a vet during the journey.
Bring something from home
During long travels, Maine Coons can miss their homes, just like humans. It could be helpful to bring toys, a blanket or a t-shirt with your smell in the car with you and put it in the carrier with your Maine Coon. If your cat has his own bed, bring her blanket.
Confirm your hotels
If you’re planning to stay in a hotel, make sure your Maine Coon will be allowed. Call the hotel and specify that your pet is a cat (some hotels just allow dogs).
Your Maine Coon can enjoy road trips as much as you do – especially Maine Coons that live indoors, like mine. Once you’ve trained your cat properly, there’s no reason you can’t take your Maine Coon on a road trip. I’ve done this many times already – and if I hadn’t adventured with my cat in my car, I would have to leave her alone in the house with a stranger feeding her. If you get prepared properly and you follow the tips that I can share, you can definitely take your Maine Coon on road trips.
Keep your Maine Coon in the carrier
It’s extremely important that you keep your Maine Coon inside the carrier while you’re driving. I know that sometimes it can be sad to leave your cat in the carrier for a long time – it somehow feels that you’ve caged them – but letting them wander inside the car would be extremely dangerous for both you and your cat.
It is certainly the safest option to begin with. Make sure there is adequate oxygen flow and heat dissipation in the vehicle. Make sure the carrier has some room to move. Maine Coons are big cats so it’s not a good idea to cramp them in somewhere. Allow them to stretch.
I also talk to Alita reasonably frequently to reassure her.
Secure the carrier in the car
If you don’t secure your carrier in the car you wouldn’t have given any protection to your cat in case of an accident or a sudden stop. If possible, place the carrier when you can see it and secure it with a seatbelt.
Carry extra supplies
Bring some food and water with you and make sure to carry enough. Also, if your cat takes any medication do not leave those behind!
Plan pit stops
Pit stops along the way wouldn’t be necessary for trips up to a couple of hours. But for longer trips, plan some stops along the way. Let your Maine Coon walk on the leash for some minutes and give her some water – this will reduce her stress and will prevent messes to happen inside the car.
It’s also a good idea to let them wander somewhere where it’s possible for them to make unwanted deposits, if you know what I mean.
Never leave your cat in the car alone
Your car can heat up very quickly and it can be extremely dangerous for your cat (or any other pet). Even if you think you’d be leaving her just for a few minutes, I suggest not taking the risk. Whenever you leave the car, even just for a short stop, and whatever the weather, take the carrier with you.
Sometimes, not easy in Thailand this one.
Your Maine Coon will feel the car movements and jumps just like you, so make sure to drive safely, avoid jolts or sudden brakes or accelerations.
I’ve never needed to do this, as my Maine Coon seems to love travel, but a stressed Maine Coon mid journey could be problematic.
If your Maine Coon is too stressed out but you can’t leave her behind, ask your veterinarian for possible medication. There are some sedatives that you can use to sedate your cat during travel, but always keep in mind that this would be the last resort. Yours – and your Maine Coon’s journey would be more comfortable, but medication would alter their mental state and this is always a risk.
While some feline sedatives are specially designed for them, others contain the same active ingredients that are in anti-anxiety meds for humans.
There are six main types of sedatives for cats.
Check this link for further info about how to sedate a cat for travel.
Even with a veterinarian’s prescription, it’s never recommended to give your cat sleeping medication. So, use medication as a last resort. Make sure to do your best to train your Maine Coon and make her feel comfortable. In case you’ve done anything you could but still your cat hates to travel in the car – and you can’t leave her behind – just in this case, you should give your cat medication.
With a little bit of preparation and training, your Maine Coon can – and will be happy to – follow wherever you plan to go with your car, short drives to the grocery shops or long road trips.
So, should you be planning a trip away and wondering if you can take your Maine Coon, I’d say go for it. Get a vets advice first if you feel it necessary, but some proper planning can make the experience trouble free for all of you.
Make sure your Maine Coon is accustomed first to travelling. They will need time, but not too much time to get used to car travel, trips and the reality that these aren’t unpleasant experiences.
The very first time you do it, your Maine Coon will be wondering if they will be left somewhere, so much assurance and giving them plenty of treats is a must.
Never leave your Maine Coon alone in the car. Would be a good idea to plan where to stop and maybe email the relevant places as to whether they have outside seating, or allow cats. Where I live in Thailand, I have never had a problem, but different cultures may react differently, as will different establishments.
You obviously know what your cat enjoys, but if it means anything to you here’s what I normally bring along.
I don’t bring the house contents, just sensible things that I have found useful and de-stressing for my Maine Coon
Along with a pet carrier, a walking rucksack and her favorite bed, items I do bring are;
I do bring a bed, but most of the time I wake up with Alita sleeping right next to me. I’m happy with that.
Maine Coon 101 | Read This Before Getting One