Our trip to New Hampshire (parts 1, 2, & 3) was pretty big, especially for only having Malloy a couple months prior to going. I wanted to write a post sooner after we arrived back home, but here it is mid-March and it still hasn’t happened. Now that I’m finally getting my act together, I have decided to put together a list of our must-have items to bring when we travel with Malloy.
***This post does contain affiliate links (see Disclosure & Legalities for more information), but please know these opinions are completely my own and I would not recommend a product I did not fully support or believe in. These are all items that Malloy does enjoy also, to the extent in which cats enjoy certain items (such as a harness).
When traveling with a cat, it is essential to have a carrier. Because we fly with Malloy, it is essential that ours is airline approved, but I found this Petsfit Expandable (two extension) Foldable Washable Travel Carrier on Amazon, and we all love it! Not only is it amazing for when we travel because it expands on both sides, but the pocket on the back is surprisingly large and fit everything we could have possibly needed (and more, I have a tendency to overpack) while en route to New Hampshire. It is relatively easy to expand the sides while traveling, especially with a squirming cat, and we love that there is a suitcase strap to slide over the suitcase handle for easy rolling. I decided to keep the carrier set up with one side expanded in our bedroom so Malloy has another place to hideout, or in his case, attack. Malloy interacts with the carrier almost daily, whether he is hiding inside, sniffing around, attacking, scratching, etc. We do have this carrier as well which is also airline approved, but I ordered the medium, and Malloy hated it. He refused to go all the way inside because it was so small. I love the carrier overall and would recommend the large if you’re looking for something that doesn’t expand and is a bit more inexpensive.
*Next time, I think I would order the same carrier, but with one expandable side instead of two. While we love the extra room, there’s only enough space under the airplane seat for one side to be expanded. We feel there is enough space for a toy or two, water, snack and room to stretch with only one side being expanded, and I’m hoping we gain extra storage on the other side!
I keep two of these collapsing food bowls attached to the side of Malloy’s carrier using a small carabiner. They take up minimal space, don’t get in the way when traveling, and are conveniently located for when Malloy needs a snack or drink of water. These come in a pack of six (I guess I can only find 5…oops!), leaving us extras. I have a couple water bowls around the apartment for Malloy on top of having his fountain, to make sure he stays hydrated, and I use these collapsing bowls. Believe it or not, he uses them and the fountain! I really like that they collapse, when traveling they stay compact and out of the way, and the extras stack neatly on top of each other.
Our travel litter box has been really handy so far and has helped save space in the suitcase! We use the Petsfit Portable, Foldable Cat Litter Box, also found on Amazon. It is smaller than Malloy’s litter box at home, but he has not shown that this is an issue, and actually hasn’t questioned it at all. I have been terrible and failed each time, bringing minimal litter thinking there was enough, so there were issues…Malloy is very insistent that his business is fully buried, with the least amount of smell possible (fine with me). The issue is that he gets really intense when burying. When Mama put minimal litter (enough to barely cover the bottom), he started digging at the plastic liner at the bottom. Of course, I went out for more litter and the issue was fixed…but fair warning to all who travel with their cat, make sure you bring enough litter! The size when folded is roughly the size of a makeup bag, taking up minimal space in the suitcase.
I think toys are essential for cats when you travel, especially if your cat has favorites (and likes to play with toys). When we travel I like to bring a selection for Malloy including a variety of his toys from home. If your cat has claws like Malloy, it may be wise to bring some sort of scratch mat or portable post to allow them to scratch and stretch. We have a hanging scratching post found at a second hand store (read here) for trips that allow us to drive, and a scratch mat I found at Big Lots shortly before Malloy came home. Malloy’s scratch mat is filled with catnip and he goes insane, he absolutely loves it! He will lick, scratch and chew it for hours to the point where there is a permanent dark spot where he chews…I think it’s almost time for a new one! The scratch mat was a huge hit on our trip to New Hampshire and definitely ended up being one of the favorite and most used toys Mama packed. It folded up nicely for the suitcase and we didn’t have to worry about anything breaking because it is a mat. Here is a similar catnip mat to the one Malloy has. While we do not have this one personally, we do have other SmartyKat products and would recommend them. You can also find a hanging scratching post, also similar to the one we have, here. Again, we do not have this product ourselves so we can’t vouch for it’s durability, but the scratcher we have is very durable and has held up well (despite being from a thrift store).
Malloy eats all of his dry food in some sort of toy that dispenses food. I have found that it helps keep Malloy entertained while I work and also allows him to work for his food which keeps him occupied for longer, gives him something to do, and he really enjoys it. I love watching Malloy pounce for the food that falls out while tossing his Kong around! We found Malloy’s Kong brand new at a second-hand store (Thrift Store post), but you can find it here. Malloy’s is an x-small and I think it is perfect for him, but I would like to see what a small looks like. We also use Wobbert by Friskies and we love him. I try to give Malloy his bigger servings in Wobbert before bed, and smaller portions throughout the day or if he needs a snack at night in his Kong. Wobbert is easy for Malloy to knock around, but not too easy…yet. I ended up giving a Wobbert to our kitty-friend Camilla for Valentine’s Day, and we have one ready to be mailed for our family cat Misty.
Treats are a necessity when we travel. The key to Malloy’s heart is food, so keeping a few treats on hand to lure him into the carrier or reward him after getting in his harness are super handy. Malloy’s favorites are the Friskies Pull N Play cat treats chicken and cheese flavor. These came with his Wobbert toy along with some Friskies Party Mix, but the Pull N Play treats make Malloy do some pretty crazy things. We even discovered that he found the package (placed inside another bag) in a basket on the counter one night and ate the entire package. Talk about a cat-mom fail right there! I learned my lesson to keep all his food inside cabinets completely inaccessible to Malloy. He also really likes the Sheba meat sticks, and I love that I can break them up easily and give him smaller pieces throughout the day. Now of course, these are treats, so Malloy does not get them daily. They are for “special” occasions, such as traveling, harness time, some play time, stroller rides, vet visits, car rides, etc. He does get them occasionally “just because” but he definitely doesn’t eat treats on a daily basis.