Where to stay when travelling with a cat

Cat walking on tree trunk

Travelling with a cat that involves an overnight (or multiple nights) stay can be a lot of work and leaves little room for spontaneity. For people like me, who love to plan, it’s quite a joy to research places and amenities that are cat friendly – but for ones like my husband, it can feel overwhelming and take away the joy from travelling. 

We recently went on a pretty long road trip to the coast – started early in the morning, drove all day, took the ferry, and then drove even more to get to our destination. We feel very lucky to have a cat that enjoys driving in the car, however, even that was a lot for him. And then after all day of travelling, he’s faced with a completely unknown place with brand new sounds and scents. It sure can be overwhelming for everyone.


Should you stay in a hotel or a vacation rental?

There are pros and cons to both of those options so depending on your adventure, you might choose one or the other. 

Before getting into the pros and cons, I want to mention one thing that applies to all pet friendly accommodations – you never know who stayed there before you and if they had a (“unhealthy”) pet. So it’s important to be aware of possible risks such as fleas. 

When we look for a place to stay at, I like to find one that is in a quieter area of town and has at least one window where our cat can sit and look out – it’s great entertainment when we are gone, especially if there are squirrels outside! 

Vacation Rental

When it comes to vacation rentals, not only is the list of pet-friendly quite scarce, but if you don’t book far in advance, the place can be simply booked out. Most of our travels (when we do bring Chumka along) are fairly flexible when it comes to dates, so our list of possible accommodations isn’t too limited.

But what I find is that even though a listing is marked as “pet friendly”, that doesn’t always include cats. I always message the host asking about their pet policy and ask if they are ok with having a kitty at their place. I mention (in the same message) all the things I bring and do to ensure their place won’t be damaged in any way. 


There are multiple hotel chains that are cat-friendly – so finding a “last minute” accommodation for you and your feline friend can be much easier and stress-free. It’s important to mention that hotels can be louder than rentals – you have rooms beside each other, people walking in the hallways, other animals and more. So it can be overwhelming to your pet to stay at such a place – not mentioning the housekeeping services that could accidentally let your cat out. 

Chumka enjoying looking out the window at a vacation rental we stayed at

How to make the accommodation more YOUR pet friendly?

There are a couple items that we always bring along when staying somewhere overnight. Since cats are territorial animals, change to their environment can cause great stress – in some cats more than the others. It’s important to bring items that have his and your household/ family scents – his bed, toys, blanket etc. We also take one of his scratching posts with us – that way he won’t scratch on furniture but he’s still able to “mark the territory as his”. 

If your cat is especially anxious, you can purchase a calming aid for your cat. There are a lot of different kinds – pheromone spray, soothing cat toys, or ThunderShirt vest. Check out my post on current deals – some of those items are often on sale. 

I hope this article helps you and your kitty cat have successful travels, no matter where you end up spending the night, my friends. 

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Picture of Paulina, Chumka's Mom

Paulina, Chumka's Mom