Pet (Specifically Cat) Car Seats

I occasionally get on I-25 and head to Albuquerque. While I don’t mind the idea of leaving the cat in the house for a day or two, longer trips (like Thanksgiving or Christmas) will pretty much require bringing the cat along. When I brought him from Albuquerque, I learned that he didn’t really like the soft-sided carrier I had and I eventually let him out after about 10 miles on the highway. I already had him in his harness just in case so I put the leash on, tied the leash to the passenger seat giving just enough slack to give him room to stand up, lie down, and turn around without getting off the seat, and drove the next 200 miles in peace. But I don’t really like this method and would feel better if he was buckled into a car seat that buckled into the seat belt.

All of the ones I’ve found online specifically mention dogs. Would one designed for a small dog–say 15 pounds or less–work fine for a cat? I’m looking at no more than four hours on the road, less with no stopping somewhere for food or to rest my leg (no cruise control in the car.) I just don’t want him to be able to get out and wander around the car–I figure he’ll be killed if he gets thrown forward in a crash and when he got out once he kept getting in my sight lines, jumped on my shoulder, tried to go into my footwell, and got himself stuck in the back seat. So tying him down one way or another to the front passenger seat seems like the way to go.

I haven’t ever tried anything like that, but my cats are not good travelers. Driving my siamese to the vet usually leaves my ears ringing for a week.

I don’t see why it wouldn’t work - I do recommend some short test-drives first. If it doesn’t work, you might consider one of the wire crates usually sold as training crates for dogs. They come in various sizes, and would allow him to see what is going on around him while still keeping him restrained.

My cats don’t like the soft-side carrier, either. Of course, they don’t like any carrier, but they are quieter in the hard-shell carrier.

Just in case anyone’s interested…

I got one of these. (No, I didn’t pay $40 for it, I paid about half that at Petsmart.) I’ve taken the cat out on one test drive, just long enough to go to the gas station and back home. I think he’ll get used to it while on the interstate and settle down and sleep. At least I hope so, but at least he wasn’t whining or meowing or hissing or anything. The test will be Friday night when I drive to Albuquerque for the Fourth.

If you don’t mind my asking, what’s to stop your cat from just jumping/climbing out of the seat?

My cat also hates his soft sided carrier - he actually unzipped it from the inside, using his teeth to pull it open!
I need other options (and being loose and hiding under the brake pedal wasn’t a good option! :slight_smile: )


There’s a clip in the seat that can be attached to a collar, or, in the case of a cat, a harness at the leash point. It gives him enough slack to move around a bit but not enough to completely come off the seat.

My only concern with booster seats that are installed on the front passenger seat of cars is the airbag deployment problem. That impact would be enough to kill a small dog, cat (or child!).

Not to be all rain-paradey, but why can’t you leave him at home? Travel is very stressful for most cats, and they’d really prefer to be in their own environment with their own stuff and not in a Moving Deathbox on Wheels. The great thing about cats is that you can leave them behind and it won’t cost you a fortune, unlike dogs. We leave our kitties for up to a week with a big bowl of food and another of water. Longer than that and our neighbor comes in at three day intervals to make sure they haven’t eaten each other.

I also echo the airbag concerns. If my daughter isn’t safe in a big heavy hard plastic carseat, I can’t see how your cat would fare well in a flimsy little canvas thing. Of course, cats are more squishable, so maybe he’d just bend around it, but those things hit hard.