cat travel backpack

Is it possible to travel with a cat? Heck yes! We are proof that it’s possible & Yoda makes our adventures around the world even more meaningful.  

But we have definitely found that having the right cat travel gear can make all the difference when it comes to helping your furry explorers feel safe & comfortable. 

In fact, it’s one of our top tips when asked how to get a cat used to traveling. 

So we’ve decided to create a cat travel equipment list for new adventure kitties, recommending all the top items you’ll need for flying, driving or hiking your way around the globe with your fur-friend by your side. 

These items can help train your cat to travel like a pro & make your life as a pet parent 100x easier. 

The Cat Travel Equipment List

cat carrier

Every cat travel kit should include: 

  • Carrier
  • Travel dishes (& food)
  • Water carrier (& fresh water)
  • Bedding
  • Cat travel litter box/tray
  • Cat backpack with window
  • Leash & Harness
  • Travel friendly toys 
  • First aid kit 
  • Essential documents 

We’ll be sharing our personal favorite options for these below, covering all the top travel gear for cats, plus a few top tips along the way. To set you and your feline friend up for a calm & enjoyable trip!

But first – how do we pick our travel favorites? Paul, Yoda & I have a certain criteria that we like to stick to:

  1. Cat-centric – We choose products that are made specifically for cats, with their wellbeing in mind. We choose items that are geared towards their safety & happiness, allowing them to fulfill natural urges in healthy ways. 
  1. Eco-friendly – We always try to find the most sustainable options we can, with Earth’s health in mind. While no one is ever perfect, our choices can make a difference – so we reflect this in our suggestions. 
  1. Accessible – We all love to spoil our pets, but that can mean something different to each of us. So we include a range of options at different price tags, to include all cat lovers in our community. 

1. Cat Carriers 

While you may not think you need a carrier if you are heading off in your RV, even when you aren’t traveling by plane a cat carrier can come in real handy. You never know when you might need to visit the vets, or need to contain your cat for some other reason. 

This is why I like super sturdy yet lightweight options. Bonus points if they fold down too!

Our favorite all-rounder is the Mr. Peanut’s Airline Approved Soft Sided Pet Carrier. A great fit for pet parents looking to get a good value-for-money, a collapsible & expandable option, and also airline approved!

If you want more airline & portable options, check out our Guide To The Best Cat Carriers.

My other top tip? If you are traveling super lightweight, a cat backpack could double as a carrier…see our cat backpack recommendations below. 

cat backpack on beach

2. Travel dishes 

For travel dishes, you want something light, easily packable & sturdy enough to keep up with your adventures! 

If you are hiking or out on the road, a collapsible bowl will be your best way to go. I like the Simple SLSON Collapsing Bowl, again because it’s lightweight, really durable (so it will last) & super easy to clean. Plus it’s got a handy clip, so if you want it easily accessible or can’t squeeze it in anywhere, you’re covered! 

If you’re in a campervan or RV, you might want a more permanent solution that’s still travel friendly. For this I’d recommend a light, non-slip bowl. This option from Beco is cool because its low rim is whisker friendly, and it’s made from durable & sustainable bamboo. Grippy rubber pads secure the bowl from below too.

Read our tips for feline road trips 🚐

For an extra dash of travel security, I sometimes add a non-slip mat too – for those rockier journeys! This Bohemian Pet Food Mat is a winner on all fronts. It’s made from recyclable materials, is waterproof and grippy & it’s super cute too (Bingo!).

3. Water Carrier

Having fresh water on hand is always important when traveling, especially on longer trips. So a good pet water bottle is top of my list for cat car travel accessories.

I love this Pet Water Bottle, because it’s got a huge capacity & easy carry options. Meaning you’ll make the most of every refill without it weighing you down. 

More importantly, it’s BPA free, the parts are easily detachable for cleaning & it’s recyclable too. 

Though it’s designed for dogs, I also love the Kong stainless steel options – especially for hot climates. These are a little bulkier, but they keep water cool for a super long time, which can really help a furry kitty on a hot day! The clip means you can attach it to your belt for hiking too. 

P.S – It’s always a good idea to confirm the cleanliness and hygiene level of drinking water before filling your bottle.

4. Bedding

A long day’s traveling leads to plenty of naptime ahead. Comfortable, non-bulky yet supportive bedding is key to helping your cat feel cozy, wherever they are. 

This handcrafted Wool Pet Bed is a great option for campers & RVs as it’s small, lightweight & washable. But it’s also sturdy enough to offer support and soft enough to offer lots of comfort for your kitty.

If you need something even more adventure friendly, this Travel Pet Blanket rolls up into a tight ball. Another bonus is that it’s water resistant on one side, should you need it! 

gray tripod cat sticking tongue while laying in cat bed

5. Cat Travel Litter Box

Probably the trickiest part of traveling with a cat is toilet time, right? Well we’ve got you covered! Check out our RV & Camper guides for those recommendations. But for everything in between..

This Portable Stress Free litter box looks like a game changer. It’s another lightweight must-have, and collapsible too, so you can bring it anywhere and open it up as needed. 

Plus, a durable waterproof liner makes for easy cleaning and leak-free usage. Phew! 

Disposable boxes might sound like a big no no, but KITTY SIFT has boxes that are made from recycled paper, meaning they are compostable when you are done with them – amazing right! We also reviewed the Nature’s Miracle disposable litter box, and loved it! It’s super long-lasting and uses integrated baking soda to keep odors at bay. 

Really want to keep the mess to a minimum? Read our guide to The Best Cat Litter Mats.

6. Cat Backpack 

Perfect for seeing the sights together, we like a cat backpack with window options or an opening so your kitty can watch the world go by. Yoda loves it!

We own the Mister Peanut Backpack and we love it because:

  • It can hold up to 15 lbs, so even larger cat breeds can enjoy a ride on your back.
  • It has a harness clip, so your cat can hang out/pop their heads out safely.
  • It’s comfortable to wear, even for longer hikes and trips.

At around 50-60 dollars (as of 2021) it is great value for money! We even use it as a carrier in the plane. 

Don’t forget, your next option for outdoor exploration is coming up next…

We’ve got plenty of other backpack options to suit your style & budget here: 10 Best Cat Backpacks for Adventurous Felines.

And our 12 Do’s and Don’ts of Backpacking with a Cat!

7. Leash & Harness

When it comes to travel, we are always on the hunt for the next best cat harness so Yoda can join along on our local exploration. We look for harnesses that are safe but easy to slip on, durable, non-bulky & comfy but always stylish! 🙂

Recently we reviewed the Supakit Vegan Cork Cat Harness, because for us it checked all our boxes. We used it extensively while visiting Guadeloupe and it worked very well

Materials that are gentle on the environment, a company that gives back to the cat community & products specially created for adventure cats. Plus we loved how it fits – allowing Yoda loads of freedom and comfort. 

Supakit also makes hardy & durable leashes that are comfortable to hold and allow for all kinds of adventures. They even have a super cool retractable option which is great for allowing your kitty a little more freedom. 

For more options, check out our guide to The 5 Best Cat Harnesses for Adventurous Felines.

a gray cat wearing blue harness by supakit

8. Travel Friendly Toys

Keeping cats entertained is just as important when you are on the road. Especially if you are in a confined space for a short, or longer period of time. 

It’s great to bring a few of your kitty’s favorites with you, as this can help them feel more at home wherever you are. But pick wisely – it’s probably best to leave anything hefty behind and just take your smaller toys. 

A compostable or recyclable scratching pad, like these 3 in 1 Scratch Pads, is a great way to keep your packing light whilst also allowing your kitty to do that all-important claw sharpening!

On your way, you can also use any cardboard leftovers, such as toilet rolls or boxes, to create eco-friendly fortress toys or treat dispensers for your feline sidekick. 

 9. First Aid Kit 

It always pays to be prepared, and adding to your own first aid kit with a few feline specific supplies is always top of my packing list. 

Including some pet-safe bandages, antiseptic & tape are a must. 

If you’d rather have a whole dedicated pack for your furry friend, the Pet Products Pocket First Aid Kit comes in a really handy clip bag. It’s designed to be easily transportable, but contains enough essentials to help you feel calm and prepared in the event of an accident. 

10. Essential Documents 

The biggest packing nightmare? Trying to find your passport as the boarding gate is closing – right!?

This is why we keep everything concerning Yoda in a safe water proof document holder, so I can keep both mine and Paul’s & Yoda’s important information easily accessible & super safe. 

Want more detail on what documents to pack?

The Extras

Depending on your chosen location, whether it’s a mountain trail or a city beach break, and how you plan to get there, road trip in the RV or flying with a pet-friendly airline – your kit list might change. 

The above list covers all the essentials, but for those with specific destinations, activities or needs in mind, here are the extras you might consider adding to your cat travel kit list:

  • Pet wipesbiodegradable wipes can be a great eco-friendly option for keeping your kitty clean and hygienic on their travels. 
  • Life jacket kayaking or boating? Your cat will need a life jacket too!
  • Cool bag – if you feed to keep things fresh, it’s a great idea to have a cool bag to keep meals at a safe temperature. I like these mini washable bags as they are super easy to pack. 
  • Stroller – uber handy for senior cats or local breaks. We’ve written a blog about why cat strollers rock, with a buying guide included too!
  • Relaxing music & natural supplements – in our post on 10 Ways to Calm My Cat Down for Travel, we discuss how training and natural aids can help keep your feline friend much happier than sedation can. Calming aromas like pet-safe lavender oil or CBD drops can help if you have a nervous kitty.

And there you have it! Our ultimate guide to the essential cat travel accessories. We hope you find the perfect addition to your packing list, that will see you through lots of amazing adventures together. Any questions? Or travel tips of your own? We’d love to hear them 🙂

The Fluffy Kitty

The Fluffy Kitty blog inspires cat owners around the world to live a more adventurous and eco-friendly life with their cats. Read more about our story on our about us page.

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