Flying With Your Cat

Preparation and a relaxed attitude can help you avoid travel turbulence. Our step-by-step guide will help you prepare for air travel with your cat.

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CatAir travel may make the most sense for you, but does it make sense for your cat? While it isn't a decision to be made lightly, sometimes flying is the only way for you and your cat to stay together. Keep the following tips in mind to make your trip safe:

One Month in Advance
1. Call the travel agent or airline to reserve space and get seat assignments.

2. Verify the airline's pet-carrier and pet-travel policies.

3. Make sure your cat's carrier is well-ventilated and large enough for your cat.

4. Take your cat on short car trips to help it adjust to its carrier.

10 Days in Advance
1. Visit a veterinarian for health certificates, vaccinations and sedatives, if necessary.

2. Place the health certificate in a carrier pocket or keep it with your plane tickets.

3. Obtain an appropriate collar, identification tag, leash and harness.

4. Label the carrier with your name, home address and phone number, and a contact name, address and phone number in the city to which you are traveling.

5. Take a photo of your cat and keep it with your airline tickets.

Four to Six Hours in Advance
1. Feed your cat one last time, then withhold food.

2. Pack a carry-on bag with a small bottle of water, dry food and absorbent carrier liners.

Before Leaving for the Airport
1. Offer your cat a small amount of water.

2. Buckle your cat into its collar, leash and harness and place it in the carrier. Secure the carrier with the car's seatbelt.

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Reader Comments

Bev    Stephens City, VA

11/6/2015 5:07:00 AM

Can anyone recommend how to deal with the changing air pressure in the cabin when ascending and descending? I frequently fly with my kitty, and worry about this. Humans can yawn to equalize the pressure but kitties cannot, and I'm sure it's uncomfortable for her.


victoria brizio    International

6/21/2015 2:28:15 AM

Important information which isnt on here...when flying from Non Defra countrys you need to start 6 months in advance as they need lots of vacations, also most flight cannot be booked until 2 weeks before the flightd and you cannot confirm the flight until 2 days before after the airport vet has seen them so if you can organise somebody or a kennel to pickbthem up in the destination country it will be better just incase there is an issue and your pets dont make that flight....I have moved country st lucia to thailand and thailand to the uk with one cat and one dog.....always check requirements for each country as they can be different...BA are the best company to fly your pets with if you can, I have always used them

Melanie    Alexandria, VA

3/13/2011 6:59:31 PM

My Cat was fine in the carrier and on the plane ride under the seat. I could open the top and pet her little head and she could smell me and know I was right there. The only problem I had was walking into the airport and checking in with the TSA. The TSA person wanted me to take my Cat out in the middle of all these people! I asked if I could go in a back room, and they allowed me to. They had to check her carrier and such. Such and invasion to her Cat personality!

Eran    London, AK

3/15/2010 10:41:41 AM

There is a new cat in-cabin program by animal airways - check it out

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