Traveling with and Separating Kittens from Mom Cat

by Ashley

My boyfriend and I will be moving any day now, and I was wondering if you could give me a few pointers on how to travel with cats. I've never traveled with cats before.

We have about a 800 mile drive ahead of us in a car with 3 adults and a small to medium size dog who is lazy and loves car rides and has already made the drive before so I'm not to worried about her. But we have 3 kittens now, one of which is 7 weeks old and is litter box trained and the other 2 just turned 4 weeks old and are starting to eat by themselves.

Is it ok to take them if they are eating and drinking by themselves? Or should we bring mama cat too? I just don't know if that's too young to take them from their mom, even though they are eating by themselves.

Also, the 7 week old kitten is feeding from the 4 week old kittens' mom. Is that ok? Mama cat seemed to kind of adopt the little kitten, so I just let him, but I don't know if I should make him stop?

On the trip, do we have a litter box in the car, or stop every so often like we do with a dog? If so, how often do you think?

Thank you for your time. I know it's more than one question, but I'm a little overwhelmed at the moment. I hope to hear from you before I leave!

Dear Ashley,

If there is an option to take the mother cat with you, with the stress of the car ride, being in a new place, and being so young, what could be better than having the whole cat family together? Although it is possible to separate them now, 4 weeks of age is very young for kittens to be separated from their mothers.

Mom cat can provide comfort, proper nutrition, and ensure that your kittens stay well hydrated on such a long trip. Although mama cat is only the mother to the two smaller kittens, there is nothing wrong with the older kitten nursing on her.

In terms of the car ride itself, you should have a litter box available in an enclosed carrier that is large enough for all of the kitties to be comfortable. Ideally, if you could, it would be best to put all 3 kittens and the mother cat in a dog crate so they can have enough space to move around and feel comfortable.

If you need to have the cats in smaller carriers, however, you will need to stop on occasion and let them out, with the doors and windows to your car closed securely, for them to be able to access a litter box and relieve themselves. Just be sure to not allow them to go outside!

In the future, please be sure to submit your questions as a new submission in the Ask The Cat Doctor Forum to ensure that they will be seen quickly. Although, fortunately, I think this one was seen before your move, this is not always the case because of the volume of submissions we receive. I wish you and your entire cat family safe travels on your journey!

Best wishes,
Dr. Neely

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