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

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

Linda    Wichita, KS

6/12/2008 10:31:00 PM

Thanks for all the helpful tips. I found out many new things.

Elizabeth    White Mountains, NH

6/11/2008 10:13:01 PM

Great tips! Thank you!

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