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Tips for Staying in Hotels with Cats

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Traveling with your cat likely means staying in hotels, and these tips will ensure everyone enjoys the trip!

Fish the cat laying on the bed in a hotel room

Traveling with Cats

When we head out on a road trip with Fish and Chips, the plan is generally to camp the whole time. But we almost always end up staying in a hotel 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.

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 welcome cats, and those that do sometimes charge steep pet fees. You can find this information on 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!

Here are 9 Pet-friendly Hotel Chains that Welcome Cats!

Siamese cat laying on a white comforter

If you have multiple hotel options, we recommend choosing a motel or motor inn. It’s far easier to bring the cats back and forth to the vehicle, along with their gear and your luggage, when you can park a few steps away from the room.

The final step before making your reservation is 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 a room with leather furniture, which Fish and Chips would love to dig their claws into! And, just to play it safe, we bring extra blankets to throw over any furniture that looks questionable.

Packing for Your Cat

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 picking up 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 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 keep the smell to a minimum.

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 hotel room

Special Preparations for Anxious Cats

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, it’s not that way for every cat!

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

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

Provide a Comfortable Place to Curl Up

If your cat isn’t used to being on a leash, you’ll want to bring a carrier get him safely them from your car to the room. We often have our backpack carriers with us and, depending on how far the walk is to the room, we’ll sometimes use these to transport the boys so we have our hands free to carry more things at one time.

If you have a carrier your cat feels comfortable in, this can double as a safe, familiar place for them to sleep. 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

Leaving Your Cat in a Hotel Room

Once you’ve checked into the hotel and gotten settled, you might want to leave to partake in 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 all day that 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 entertained. And don’t forget to open the blinds or curtains – our cats are entertained for hours if they have birds to chirp at.

Lastly, 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.

Chips the cat sitting on the window sill in a hotel room
Do you have any other tips for staying in a hotel with cats? Please share them in the comments below!

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