Why Do Cats Hate Car Rides?

If you’ve ever taken your cat to the vet’s office or on a cross-country trip, or if you already live with a fearful cat, then you should know it’s hard for them to get over the anxiety that comes with traveling.

Fortunately, it’s never too late to alter your cat’s poor travel habits and show them how beautiful it is to travel.

In this article, we will share some ways you can encourage your cat to ride in your vehicle more comfortably.

Don’t let your cat remain trapped inside the car with no means of getting out. It may annoy him, and he may refuse to ride next time.

Plan your trip before the car ride begins. Before you leave, ensure that you’ve set out your cat’s food and water, and that he’s comfortable in the car.

Take him inside, and let him acclimate to the surroundings. Once you’re on the road, try to play some classical music or soft, quiet music.

This music will relax your cat and thwart any motion sickness he might be feeling. Arrange the ride so that your cat can lie down or stretch out, so he won’t feel confined.

Don’t enclose your cat in a travel carrier. Instead, keep the entire drive short, or take him to the park or a restaurant where he can stretch his legs and get some fresh air.

Why Do Cats Hate Car Rides?

Having a Bad Opinion of the Cat Carriers

Some cats may not mind the car ride as long as it stops at random restaurants or places to get gas and food.

However, some cats may feel frightened during the journey or may start hissing and meowing, especially if another person gets inside the car with them.

This is mainly because of the bad connotations with it, and cats associate it with pain, reduced visibility, and the ability to be injured.

Cats fear being poked around and groped and may struggle with a vehicle’s movements.

A cat may just prefer a shorter car ride with you in the room rather than spending several hours inside carrier.

Sensory Issues in Car

There are also the odors and sounds that your feline companion may encounter while in the car.

Be it the sweaty, unpleasant odor from the drivers shoes or the exhaust fumes, or the strange noises that startle your cat, these are just a few of the things that may cause your cat stress.

Cats normally have 45 to 80 smell receptors in their noses, so these receptors can be overwhelmed easily if a cat smells a powerful scent, such as that that comes from a car.

Cats will associate the smells of a car with those horrible trips to the vet or to the shelter.

Cats loathe loud noises even more than usual when in the car.

Better have music turned up extra loud, or better yet, have the window rolled down! Cats have a different sense of smell than we do.

This means a cat’s perception of the smell in a car is extremely strong — many times stronger than our own.

As a result, a cat’s sense of smell is very sensitive, and the slightest whiff of something new can cause them to become anxious.

Cats also have no fear of heights, so driving down a highway with a cat in the back seat might be quite exciting.

This is partially a survival instinct, therefore, cats that haven’t gotten used to the car may try and find a spot that is out of the vehicle’s path so they can feel safe.

Movement of the Car

If your cat has never been in a motor vehicle before, you should ensure that they have traveled in a vehicle containing many people and be adequately socialized to the area.

This will help your cat to overcome any natural anxiety they may have about traveling in a motor vehicle.

If your cat is extremely fearful, you may want to consider having an experienced handler ride with your cat to help them overcome their anxiety.

That’s why it’s important to acclimate your feline friend to riding in the car by using short trips in a moving car.

Start by getting your cat used to riding in the car for short drives. Then, gradually increase the time your cat spends in the car.

Once your cat is comfortable with the car ride, you can trick them into riding in a cat car carrier for a longer distance trip.

Motion Sickness

Because cats don’t ride in cars often enough, they have trouble adjusting to the motion.

Also, they are terrible at turning their heads around so they don’t quite get the full scope of the sights around them.

Other cats, who aren’t experiencing motion sickness, develop strong reflexes in their hindquarters as they travel, causing them to lash out in a kick.

Cat owners should take steps to prevent motion sickness for their cats. One way to prevent motion sickness is to ensure that the cat’s environment is calm.

If a cat sees movement, it may become panicked, which may then cause motion sickness.

It’s recommended that a human cat owner sit in the passenger seat while his or her pet rides in the cat carrier.

This will make sure that the pet doesn’t feel like it’s in a strange place if it decides to leave the car.

Don’t Travel in Cars Frequently

To begin with, most cats do not enjoy being locked up in an enclosed space for a long period of time.

Cats don’t like being put into a travel crate either. They like to feel as if they are in a natural environment, and being cooped up in a small space is not conducive to creating this illusion.

Many people routinely take their dogs on long rides in the car. However, cats are more alert to their surroundings and tend to notice changes in the environment more readily.

Cats are not in the habit of traveling within a vehicle very often like us humans.

When they do, they generally don’t enjoy it. The seat in the car can be very uncomfortable for them.

Their paws aren’t splayed out the way they like. Traveling in the car can also lead to motion sickness for cats.

They may get car sick, especially if they are used to riding in cars all the time.

Unfamiliarity is frequently associated with a lack of control, feeling threatened, and the fear of being injured.

People that ride in their cars often don’t give their cats the same kind of secure feeling as they would get if they were traveling with dogs. Being in a car can be unpleasant out in the wild.

Cats have claws that are their weapon of choice. They don’t like to ride in the car for the same reason.

They may not be able to get out of the car if the windows are open.

Anxiety About Leaving the House

These are fantastic for cats that don’t like to fly or ride in the car. These are fantastic for cats that don’t like to fly or ride in the car.

It’s a garment that wraps over and around your cat to prevent them from releasing their claws.

Anxiety is often caused by your pet’s attempts to calm themselves down. These techniques aren’t harmful for your pet, but they are good for the overall well-being.

The majority have been authorized by veterinarians and can be trusted with your feline’s well-being.

They’re fantastic if your cat is afraid of loud noises or sudden movements. Cats can easily become irritable if they’re sick or uncomfortable, and these bottles are easy-to-use and provide great relief.

Health Problems

When cats suffer from motion sickness, they tend to experience symptoms such as vomiting, drooling, and salivation.

This can lead to other health problems, such as dehydration. Before traveling in a car, make sure your cat is familiar with it.

As a consequence of their physical characteristics, cats also experience different health problems than their canine counterparts.

For example, cats may get car sickness. This condition is caused by an inner ear dysfunction that causes the cat to find it difficult to stay seated in cars for long periods of time.

To treat this health issue, your veterinarian may recommend that you give your cat rides in the car for short intervals, after first trying other strategies for dealing with motion sickness.

Cats are known to avoid moving cars.

Even if a cat is not particularly known to experience motion sickness, it may still experience symptoms during car rides. Cats may also get motion sickness when riding on boats.

This reaction may occur if the cat is less secure on itself and feels it can easily fall off.

Some cats build little “crash pads” in the bottom of cardboard boxes so that they have something to fall on if they feel insecure.

Change in Routine

Cats are creatures of habit, with particular sleeping and eating habits, and they usually enjoy being with their owners.

So, when a cat’s owner leaves for an extended period of time, such as for the weekend, it affects the cat’s routine. If the cat is used to seeing its owner come home at a certain time, changing the schedule might confuse it.

Cats might try to establish all over again what their place is in the household, and this can cause a lot of stress for them.

As a result, removing your cat from its home environment or daily routine can cause stress and insecurity.

Cats don’t like change. They have to know where everyone is, and where everything is.

Sometimes they don’t like being in a new environment because they may not recognize where everything is. It doesn’t help that they’re usually the only object in the house.

Cats also don’t like change when it’s forced on them. For example, if your cat is accustomed to waking up at 9 o’clock in the morning and a few hours later you decide to wake them up at 6, it may cause a lot of stress and anxiety.

How to Calm Down A Cat In The Car

Cats aren’t designed to sit quietly for long periods of time.

When traveling in your vehicle, it’s especially important to make sure your cat has an enjoyable, safe ride. Not all of your cat’s toys, treats, and treats will do when traveling in the car.

Avoid feeding them during this trip, and feed them a special meal (preferably high-calorie and high-protein) when you get home. Give your cat plenty of exercise during the trip.

Give them a short play session in an empty room with the door closed. Make a fun environment.

It may take some time to train cats to be comfortable with traveling in a vehicle.

Cover the carrier

Carry a tiny, lightweight blanket , tuck it under your arms, and carry it around the house.

It’s best to take the blanket with you wherever you go, but for shorter trips, leave it somewhere your cat can see it, such as the closet or on a bed.

When the carrier is accessible, the cat may see it and smell the fur, which will encourage him to enter the carrier.

This has been shown through behavioral research, as cats instinctively seek solitude.

In case the carrier is unable to calm the cat, simply soak the carrier in warm water. This may take away some of the cat’s anxiety.

However, the carrier should be washed after every use to prevent the cat from reacquiring the anxiety.

Giving your cat some solitude will help him feel comforted and secure. This may make him less fearful and anxious.

Let them see outside

If at all possible, place the litter box outside of your cat’s carrier so he or she can relieve him or herself without harming themselves.

If they can see their surroundings, they are more likely to settle in comfortably. Positioning the door of your carrier so that your cat faces an open window can also help them stay calm.

In the event of an accident, your cat’s carrier may slide around and injure them.

While your cat is inside, make sure to keep the windows closed.

It may not only injure your cat, but out of the fear it’s causing your cat you may never want to travel with them in the future.

The carrier should be familiar to your cat.

Because your cat will be in a carrier for many hours, never leave them with stranger’s pets.

Begin by leaving the carrier in a familiar location, such as the kitchen or desk.

It can be helpful to place a pillow or other familiar object in there to help demonstrate to them that this is where they are going.

Once they can get in and out on their own, they are going to become less stressed and enjoy their ride much more.

Allow them to enter and exit freely and get acquainted with their travel environment.

Some cats prefer to travel in crates, which are fine if it’s safe for them to do so.

Once they’re used to being in the crate, you can transport them there if they are more comfortable.

Keep in mind that most cats are very sensitive to changes in their environment, so they may be too nervous to be transported.

Fill the carrier with sweets , water, and toys.

The cat may also leave the carrier to explore the car. Again, don’t panic. Keep the door wide open for them at all times and they’ll eventually learn to enter the carrier.

When they have to be placed in the car, remain calm and patient.

They should be more at use to traveling in a car after a few weeks, if they haven’t been before.

Put the carrier in the car and get them acclimated to the vehicle at this time. Prevent a long-distance trip by taking them on numerous small ones beforehand.

Before taking them on a lengthy one, make sure to give them breaks to help them adjust to the move.


Sedatives should only be used in extreme circumstances or when absolutely necessary.

L-Theanine, Benadryl, catnip, and Melatonin are three of the most popular sedatives that a cat can take.

Melatonin is a hormone created in the brain by the pineal gland. Catnip relaxes the inner structures of a cat’s body while reducing overall anxiety at work.

Benadryl is a commonly known antihistamine. L-Theanine is an amino acid that can be found in green tea.

All three of these substances work differently to calm your cat down. Some people prefer to use catnip instead of melatonin, catnip, and Benadryl or L-Theanine.

It’s still a good idea to talk your veterinarian about your cat’s overall health before you use any kind of sedative, because some of them may interact with other drugs that you or your cat are currently taking.

Anxiety jackets

These are effective for cats that are afraid of thunderstorms because of the pressure that is given by these jackets.

It’s a garment that wraps around your cats body. It calms cats down instantly.

In the United States, anxiety jackets are available in large pet stores as cat toys.

Anxiety jackets are preferred by pet parents because they are easy to use and safe.

They’re good for cats that suffer from stress and are seeking a natural way to relax and relieve anxiety.

These jackets come in the form of vests that are covered with pressure points. The pressure is applied through heat, vibration, and massage to calm the intensity of the fear in your cat.

Also Read: Can Cats Eat Durian?


Cats hate automobile journeys because they can be noisy, stressful, and even traumatic.

Cats dislike loud, unusual noises, so we recommend that you keep them in a quiet, comfortable environment.

Your cat may be traumatized by unfamiliar sounds, smells, and sensations, so it’s important that you double check that your ride will be as stress-free as possible.

Your cat may be in a container inside a vehicle, which could cause him or her to panic.

All of these are significant alterations to your cat’s routine. When a cat is uncomfortable with these alterations, anxiety sets in.

To calm your cat down, try putting them in an anxiety jacket, making their environment more familiar to them, or even letting them ride in your lap if you drive.

If none of these suggestions work, see your veterinarian and ask for sedatives.