11/15/2021 | By Seniors Guide Staff

by Cathy M. Rosenthal

Animal advisor Cathy M. Rosenthal responds to a reader who is going to Florida for an extended visit and is unsure about taking her older cat along. Please, take your cat with you!

Dear Cathy,

I have a cat that is 18-1/2 years old. We are going to Florida for four months. She is very attached to us, but we don’t know if she is too old to bring with us. What should we do?

– Carol, Syosset, New York

Dear Carol,

I recommend taking her with you. If you leave her behind, she could become very depressed because of being separated from you. Drive her rather than fly her to Florida. While in the car, keep her in an airline kennel or wire crate large enough for her to stand up and turn around in. Make sure she has a very soft bed or blanket to sleep on. At her age, her joints will get stiff if she must sleep on a hard surface.

Let her out of the crate once or twice during each day’s drive to allow her to use the litterbox and get some water. For her safety, remain in the car with the doors closed when you do this. Do not open the door or let anyone else in or out of the vehicle, so she is unable to bolt from the vehicle.

For the trip, make sure you have all her belongings, medications, food, and even a jug or two of the local water. You could get her used to an inexpensive spring water before you leave, and then slowly adjust her to the new water in her new home by mixing it with the local water. Wait to feed her at night. You also should carry her veterinary records in case you need care along the way, and make sure her ID tag and microchip are up-to-date with your new, albeit temporary, location.

I know you’re worried about her traveling, but a car trip is fine if you make her comfortable during the ride. I don’t think she will fare well if you leave her behind.

Tips for Moving with Cats

Cathy M. Rosenthal is a longtime animal advocate, author, columnist, and pet expert who has more than 25 years in the animal welfare field. Send your pet questions, stories, and tips to Please include your name, city, and state. You can follow her @cathymrosenthal.

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Seniors Guide Staff

Seniors Guide has been addressing traditional topics and upcoming trends in the senior living industry since 1999. We strive to educate seniors and their loved ones in an approachable manner, and aim to provide them with the right information to make the best decisions possible.

Seniors Guide Staff