Traveling with cats is becoming more popular, much to the delight of many adventurous felines! After years of traveling with my cats, Fish and Chips, I can say that most cats can be taught to enjoy exploring the great outdoors. And training your cat so you can experience new things together is a wonderful way to strengthen your bond and deepen your relationship.

But where do you start? Does your cat have the personality to enjoy road trips or weekends spent backpacking? And, if you’re adopting a kitten or cat with hopes of traveling together, what should you be looking for? Read on to discover the traits that traveling cats share!

Traveling cats, Fish and Chips, post for pictures on a pet friendly trail

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Personality Traits of Traveling Cats

Like humans, cats have different personalities. Some are homebodies, while others thrive on new experiences. What’s important to know is that you don’t need a special breed of cat to train him to enjoy adventures. Fish is half Bengal, half unknown. And Chips is the perfect combination of who-knows-what. All you need is a kitten or cat with the personality traits that will make him interested in learning new behaviors.

READ MORE ⇒ Nine Pet Friendly Hotel Chains that Welcome Cats


Having a cat with strong motivations helps for training. Whether it’s food, play, or a desire to be together, being able to reward your cat with something he really likes makes it easier to reinforce new behaviors.

Another consideration is the age of the cat – kittens tend to be easier to train. But remember he’s not a dog, so “easy” is a relative term!

Your best bet is to look for a cat or kitten who is outgoing. Most kittens are adaptable and embrace new experiences. But if you have a choice, pick the craziest, boldest kitten. Basically, do the exact opposite of what most people would do!

When we adopted our first kitten, Fish, he was a tiny ball of energy. His sisters were curled up sleeping on a blanket, and he was climbing our legs getting into mischief. We knew from the moment we saw him he’d make an ideal traveling cat. He was, and still is, almost fearless.

Chips, on the other hand, was very shy when we adopted him. He liked to play, but was generally nervous. Despite being less intrepid, he followed in Fish’s pawprints and was able to embrace our lifestyle. The difference in Fish and Chips’ personalities shows that nearly any cat, if introduced in a way that works for them, can become a great travel companion.

Grey and white kitten on a leash climbing a tree

Grey and white cat on a leash on a pet friendly trail


The next thing to consider when determining whether your cat is cut out for a life of adventure is his level of curiosity. Does he have a desire to explore, sitting by the window all day or trying to sneak out when you open the door? Cats with an interest in being outside might be more easily persuaded to go out on a leash.

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Next, think about is how bonded your cat is to you. This is huge. To feel comfortable outdoors on a leash, your cat must trust you. And an affectionate cat is more likely to put his confidence in you than one who’s more aloof.  We’ve formed such strong bonds with Fish and Chips that we now feel comfortable letting go of their leashes for short periods of time. If they get frightened, we trust our cats to run towards us rather than running away.

Orange stripe cat in a red harness lounging against a parking barrier


Finally, how does your cat react to other people and animals? People are going to want to meet your cat, whether you’re walking around town, or hitting the trails together. And you’re likely to see some dogs. Cats who are comfortable with strangers and other animals are more likely to enjoy traveling with you.

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Having said that, if your cat is nervous around dogs or people, or if you’re worried about him running away, start out in a backpack style carrier or pet stroller. Safety is the first priority! While tucked comfortably in his backpack or stroller, your cat can get accustomed to new surroundings and build his confidence at his own pace.

READ MORE ⇒ Ensuring Happy Greeting When Traveling With Your Pet

There are a lot of things to consider when it comes to training a traveling cat, and we’d never deny that it can be difficult and frustrating at times. However, with the right cat and some patience it can be exceptionally rewarding for both you and your feline friend!

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  • Thank you! I’ve been thinking about it all week, and I’ve been researching all the different backpack styles to get… after much debate I just placed an order for one :) Decided you were right and if it doesn’t work out we could easily sell it, especially as the choice is limited to buy here in Sweden so shouldn’t be much trouble to find a buyer :) Hopefully she’ll love it though! Will let you know how we go!

  • Thanks for sharing your experience, Kylie! Perhaps you could look for a used kitty backpack to try with your cat. It sounds like she does have an adventerous spirit and may really enjoy getting out with you! Alternately, if you did buy the backpack and it didn’t work out, I’m sure you’d be able to sell it and reciver some of your money. My feeling is that your cat seems pretty adaptable and will catch onto the fact that the backpack means getting out for fun outings quickly! I wish you two many years of happy adventures.

  • My cat, Shadow, is 13. We found her as a playful lost kitten who loved seeking attention and playing. Our older cat who was 4 at the time – hated her and refused to play, always hissing every time she walked past. As Shadow grew older, she remained affectionate with us and sometimes with visitors, but would run and hide every time we had all the family together (especially when my baby nephews and niece came along). After 12 years, the two cats still hated each other and I made the decision to move her with me (at 12!) from Australia to Sweden (One – because I couldn’t bear to leave her and Two – so the other 16yo cat can live out her retirement in peace with my Mum). Quite the climate change. I was terrified of her getting on the plane (she’d never been away from home from a night at a vet or cattery let alone a trip on 3 planes) but she made it through. For the next 10 months we lived in a room in a basement with small vinyl-covered windows she couldn’t look out of unless we put her up there and opened it. She had limited roam of the rest of the house due to an allergic person. We got her tolerating a leash in the backyard the first few months we were there (scared to let her loose in new backyard which was next to a road with no fence) and even took her to a small forest down the end of the street a few times, but was difficult to say whether she liked it or not as we weren’t consistent and only went 4 or 5 times with her – a cat that’s never seen a forest before and while we never encountered any, it did get a few dog-walkers which I was equally afraid of. Also had a cow paddock next to it, though she never saw the cows I think she smelt them! But then winter and snow came (yet another new experience) and she hated the snow as much as I tried to get her into little woolen socks and stick her outside she’d always run straight back to her window. Then the snow melted, and we allowed her in the backyard without a leash and she acted as if she’d never seen grass before. She loved it and went in and out all the time the way she used to in Australia … for two months. Now we’ve moved into a first floor apartment (not ground level) in a big city and for the first time in her life she’s completely confined indoors. Although she was also confined indoors for basically four months in the winter when she refused to go out, but now we’ve got summer sun streaming through big open windows and view of a canal and I really feel like she’s depressed and sleeping more. That and we can’t have the windows open too much because of the noise and fear of her jumping out (we’ve got doorstops on the windows but I’ve caught her trying to push the window open more). We’ve got a tiny courtyard we’ve taken her down to once on the harness with a bit of a garden but no grass which she did seem to enjoy. But I’d really love to take her out in a backpack so she could see everything and smell the fresh air and feel the cool breeze, maybe even go biking with us. She’s always been a stickybeak for windows. But I also don’t know if I can justify spending $80 on a backpack she might hate (not much option here, I’ve got to buy from overseas). I don’t know if she’s too old to train, but she’s got no health issues and her life has already changed so much in the last year, I feel like she’d enjoy it in the safety of a backpack over the leash if we could find a quiet area for her because she clearly misses the outdoors… but like I said… big town, we’re next to a railway overpass, lots of noise, no car to drive her further away, just bikes… eh. I just don’t know how she’d take to it. :/ We don’t want to stay here in city forever and hope to move out in 6-9 months, but then it’ll be winter again! But there’s so much adventure she could be doing! :P Fish and Chips are adorable and if we ever get a new kitten, I definitely want it to be an adventure cat from the start! :P

  • Category: Travel Tips / Tagged with: Cats