From what to pack, to making special accommodations for your anxious feline friend, get our best advice for staying in hotels with cats.

Fish the cat laying on the bed in a hotel room
 

Staying In Hotels With Cats

When we head out on a road trip with Fish and Chips, as cat owners our plan is generally to camp the whole time. But we almost always end up staying in hotels with our cats for at least one night so we can enjoy some activities that are not cat friendly.

Over the years we’ve developed a system, and now find staying in hotels with our cats is a breeze. If traveling with your cat means staying in hotels, these tips should help.

READ MORE ⇒  9 Pet-friendly Hotel Chains that Welcome Cats

Fish the cat laying on the bed in a hotel room

Researching Cat Friendly Hotels

The first thing you’ll want to do is some proper research! Not all “pet friendly” hotels are cat friendly hotels and those that do sometimes charge steep pet fees. You can find this information on GoPetFriendly or the hotel’s website. However, you should always call ahead to confirm the pet policy.

Some hotels have pet policies that don’t allow you to leave your animals alone in the room, which defeats our purpose. You’ll also want to ask about any additional fees the hotel charges for pets and parking, because when you add them up it can make a big difference!

Woman sitting on a bed in a pet friendly hotel looking at a computer with her feline friend on her lap
 

If you have multiple hotel options, we recommend choosing a motel or motor inn. Being parked a few steps away from your room makes it easier to bring the cats back and forth to the vehicle, along with their gear and your luggage.

The final step before making your reservation is to double check the hotel’s online photos for anything your cat will be tempted to destroy. We try to avoid places with carpet and never stay in rooms with leather furniture. Fish and Chips would love digging their claws into that! And, just to play it safe, we bring extra blankets to throw over anything your cat might be tempted to scratch.

Packing For Your Cat

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When packing for a hotel stay with your feline friends, there are few things you won’t want to forget. First is the litter box. Rather than bringing the one from home, consider a compact litter box with a sturdy carrying handle for easy loading and unloading.

If you’re not sure whether your cat will use a new litter box in a new environment, Dr. Elsey’s makes a great cat attract litter that’s worked well for us.

Fish and Chips the cats standing by their litter box in a pet friendly hotel bathroom

We also bring a litter scoop and waste bags. (Consider buying the thick, scented bags. I promise, you will thank me later!) We keep these two things together in a large ziplock bag to help the waste bags keep the smell contained.

You’ll also want to pack pet wipes to clean your cat’s paws after a day of exploring, and for any other little messes.

Finally, don’t forget their regular food and some convenient collapsible dishes!

Fish the cat getting a drink from a collapsible bowl in a cat friendly hotel room
 

Special Preparations For Anxious Cats In Hotels

We’ve been traveling with Fish and Chips for years, so it doesn’t take them long to get comfortable in an unfamiliar place. However, not every cat settles in as quickly!

If you think your kitty might be nervous in a hotel, you’ll want to be prepared before you go. Bring along some calming treats, his favorite toys, and a cat calming defuser.

You might also consider a kitty Thundershirt, which swaddles your cat to help him feel less anxious.

If you’re concerned about your cat “marking his territory,” it might also be worthwhile to bring some cat-specific stain and odor remover.

Fish the cat sleeping on a comfortable pet bed
 

Leaving Your Cat In The Hotel Room

Once you’ve checked into the hotel and gotten settled, you might want to leave to enjoy some activities that don’t allow cats. The first time we left Fish and Chips alone, we were a little concerned. It turns out they were so tired from our adventures during the day, they spent the whole time snoozing!

It’s always a good idea to make sure your cat has plenty of exercise before leaving him alone. If you’re not able to tucker him out before arriving at the hotel, bring some toys to keep him busy. And don’t forget to open the blinds or curtains. Our cats are entertained for hours if they have birds to chirp at.

Lastly, when staying in a hotel or motel, make sure to leave the “do not disturb” sign on the door so the hotel staff doesn’t open the door to your room. And leave your cell phone number with the front desk … just in case.

READ MORE ⇒  11 Ways to Tire Out Your Pet In A Small Space

Chips the cat sitting on the window sill in a hotel room
 

Provide A Cozy Place To Curl Up

If your cat isn’t used to being on a leash, you’ll want to bring a carrier to get him safely to and from your car and the room. We often use our backpack carriers, depending on how far the walk is to the room. That leaves our hands free to carry more and make fewer trips.

If you have a carrier your cat feels comfortable in, this can double as a safe, familiar place for him to sleep during your hotel stay. If not, bring his favorite bed or blanket to provide a little touch of home.

Fish the cat with his head poking out of a backpack



Staying in a hotel with your feline friend doesn’t need to be stressful if you prepare in advance and have the right gear. Do you have any other tips for staying in hotels with cats? Please share them in the comments below!

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  • When we had dogs we used to take cages for them ,we would do the same thing for our two cats, if we left them in the hotel room while we went out

    • Thanks for your note, Patricia! Yes, taking a crate along is a great way to keep your pets safe and prevent any damage to the hotel. Happy travels to you!

    • Hi Vin, and thanks for your note! It’s pretty common for hotels to require pets be in a crate or carrier if you leave them alone in the room. It’s for their safety (prevents them from escaping in case someone opens the door to the room) and keeps them from damaging the room while you’re away. If your cat is comfortable in his/her carrier, leaving them alone for a short period shouldn’t be an issue. And there are carriers on the market that are quite comfortable!

      I’d suggest looking at our post on crash-tested carriers and crates to find one that would also protect your cat when you’re traveling by car. Of course, allowing plenty of time for your cat to acclimate to the carrier before your trip is key. Check out the tips for that at the end of this post >> https://www.gopetfriendly.com/blog/crash-tested-crates-and-carriers/

      I hope that helps. Safe travels to you!

  • Thank you. My cats and I may have to stay in a hotel or other lodging for a couple of weeks after I sell my house, and this is the type of info I was looking for. I was thinking maybe VRBO or AirBnB would be good to eliminate the risk of staff coming in. Plus, it would eliminate scary sounds from staff and guests.

    • Hi Terry! I agree, a vacation rental is often quieter and that can make traveling pets more comfortable in an unfamiliar place. Thank you for your note, and all the best to you and the cats on the sale of your home!

  • My cat has her own overnight bag for hotel stays. One thing we learned quickly was to “kitty proof” the hotel room first thing. Sometimes the platform under the bed doesn’t go all the way up to the wall. We stuffed pillows in the openings to prevent our cat from getting up under the bed.

  • Sounds simple now that I read this. May bring a litter mat too, to make sure there is no tracking. I think they will love this as we will all be in the same room for cuddles and naps.

  • Good advice. Have been staying back and forth in hotels and home for work and I hate leaving my cat at home. I end up missing her too much. And the litter box was a main concern of mine .
    Thank You

  • Category: Travel Tips / Tagged with: Cats, Pet Friendly Lodging