Flying With Your Cat for the First Time

Are you going on holiday with a cat? Or take a big step? Don’t worry. You can do it. You just have to plan ahead.

Flying With Your Cat for the First Time 3

Can you fly with your cat?

Many airlines allow you to fly with a cat in the cabin or cargo. But don’t expect to buy a ticket and show up with your cat in a carrier. Airlines have many regulations to follow.

You also want to be sure that your cat is comfortable in a carrier and with the noise and stress of travel. If the only time your cat has been in a carrier was the 10-minute drive to the vet, build up slowly. And even then, not all cats are cut out for long-distance travel. Think how stressed your cat will feel on the plane.

So the short answer is yes, flying with your cat is possible. But you need to prepare well in advance!

READ MORE ⇒ US Airline Pet Policy

Yoda the Cat - Photo copyright

Prepare to fly with your cat

What do you need to fly with your cat?

Plan your flight in good time. You need help from your veterinarian. Arrange the flight with your airline. And of course you have to prepare your cat for her big adventure.

Gray and white cat sitting in a packed suitcase and looking straight at the camera

Visit to the vet

Your veterinarian is an important partner when it comes to getting your cat ready to fly. Don’t hesitate to make an appointment. Many offices are busy and schedule appointments weeks in advance.

Your cat will need to be microchipped and up to date with all vaccinations. The airline will require a veterinary certificate that your cat is healthy. And your destination will have its own requirements.

For example, Hawaii has a strict policy to prevent rabies from entering the islands. To avoid a long quarantine, yours The paperwork must go to the Animal Industry Division at least 10 days before landing.

READ MORE ⇒ Hawaii’s travel requirements for pets

Yoda the Cat - Photo copyright

And when traveling outside of the United States, each country has its own rules. research each country’s requirements for arriving with a cat at the US Department of State Website.

Many countries require an International Health Certificate to be completed within 10 days of your departure date. You must send it to yours local USDA office to be endorsed Before you go.

If your cat is anxious, ask your vet if they recommend any medication for the trip. Please note that sedation is not normally recommended for pets flying in cargo as it may cause heart or respiratory problems. But your veterinarian will give your cat the best advice.

Make arrangements with the airline

Call the airline you’re flying with to confirm their requirements and reserve a spot for your pet. Airlines generally limit the number of pets that can fly in the cabin. So reserve your place now.

Leave the airline’s website open when you call. Confirm that their policies are still current. For example, most airlines have strict rules about the dimensions of transport boxes for pets (affiliate link). And in general, your cat and carrier together cannot weigh more than 20 pounds.

READ MORE ⇒ US Airline Pet Policy

Cat in a yellow backpack sitting near a black suitcase

Ask the airline about carry-on and pet fees. Yes, you have to pay for your cat to fly. However, you may also have to pay for extra baggage as your cat carrier is carry-on baggage. Or prepare to check in your luggage.

Extra baggage fees start at around $30 and vary by airline. Pet fees average $125.

If in doubt, ask again. take notes And remember the name of the agent you spoke to.

Prepare you and your cat

Shop for a comfortable stretcher with detailed notes on the dimensions your airline requires. Pets in the cargo need a solid crate. But if your cat is in the stall with you, she may find a soft carrycot more comfortable.

Get your cat used to traveling in the crate by associating it with positive things (treats, cuddles, etc.). Maybe you want to start feeding your cat this? Add things that make your cat feel comfortable and at home – like a soft t-shirt you slept in or a favorite toy.

And don’t forget to get a sturdy one harness and leash (affiliate link). Flight security will tell you to take your cat out of the carrier and you don’t want them to escape! So help them get used to the leash before the big day.

READ MORE ⇒ Choosing the best harness for your cat

Rosie the cat outdoors on a leash as she adjusts to RV travel

If the worst happens and you get separated from your cat, you should have multiple dog tags. A linen tag, a harness tag, and a label on the luggage rack are all good ideas.

READ MORE ⇒ Best ID tags when your pet gets lost while traveling

Cat sits in the suitcase with tickets

To be on the safe side, make copies of all your documents (vaccinations, rabies certificate, health certificate) and carry them with you in your hand luggage when you travel. And keep a digital backup on your phone.

Finally, prepare well in advance. Looking for your phone charger at the last minute or packing at the last minute will stress your cat (and you). Feel free to load your bags into the car while your cat is otherwise occupied (perhaps during dinner). When it’s time to head to the airport, make it as uneventful as possible.

At the airport with your cat

Alright, the big day is here. You can do it. After all, you’ve been preparing for a long time.

First, calm down. Deep breathing, meditation, or humming have a calming effect. And when you feel relaxed, your cat will relax too.

Expect to be stared at; You’ll feel like a celebrity walking through the airport with a porter announcing “live animal” on both sides.

Security will ask you to take your cat out of the carrier. They will scan the wearer and blot your hands. Some cats may be afraid to get out of their carrier, so you may encounter resistance from your furry travel companion. Don’t be afraid to ask security if you can step out of line and go to a quieter area before taking your cat out.

Oh, and you remembered the harness and leash, right?

While you’re waiting to board, open the carrier a little and put your hand inside to comfort your kitty (or smuggle him a tasty treat). You’ll both feel better.

If your cat is flying in cargo, notify one of the flight attendants. Ask them to confirm with the pilot that oxygen and temperature are regulated in the hold.

Last but not least, try not to stress yourself! If you tell yourself everything will be fine, your cat will feel it too.

Cat in the airline cargo transporter with a man's feet

When you arrive with your cat

Once safely arrived, you may feel tempted to jump right into a busy array of activities. But give your kitty time to recover from traveling. Plan a quiet first day in your hotel room so your cat can get to know her new temporary home.

You may also want to avoid feeding new treats in case your kitty has a case of travel tummy. And make sure they have access to water as they may not drink much when traveling.

Yoda the Cat - Photo copyright

Flying with your cat is just the beginning

Congratulations! You and your adventure kitty have done something few humans have ever done.

Did you have fun? does your cat have Then you might have even more adventures in your future. Oh the places you can go!

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