Flying with a cat can be simple if you take the time to plan ahead and know a little something about the airline policies on traveling with pets. Keep in mind that most cats would be happier at home since they are not overly fond of travel. Of course, some cats will tolerate it better than others, but for the most part, they would be happier at home.
If you decide that flying with a cat is not your best option, check out these tips for hiring a pet sitter, or boarding your pet. Flying with a cat does not have to turn into a major ordeal if you help acclimate your cat to the process before the big day.
This may mean helping them to feel relaxed in a pet carrier. Start by leaving the door open so the cat may come and go as they please. Place a t-shirt or other article of clothing that smells like you and give your cat treats while they are in the carrier.
Security Screening When Flying With A Cat
Being prepared is the key to flying with a cat. Always allow yourself extra time to get to your gate. With the addition of a pet, try to keep your accessories to a minimum so you will have free hands to take care of your cat at security checkpoints. There is no sense of juggling a coat, purse, and laptop bag if you don’t have to.
Once you have taken care of yourself and removed your shoes, belt, jacket, etc…, and put items in the bin to be scanned, take your cat out of the carrier. Be sure to have a leash with you, and wrap it around your wrist to be sure that she cannot escape when you take her out of the pet carrier. Even calm pets can get nervous and scared when around large groups of unknown people and in unfamiliar environments.
There is a good chance that the carrier will also be run through the x-ray machine. You will carry your cat through the upright metal detector. If your cat tends to scare easily, you may ask for a private room so that your pet will not escape.
ID Tags and Health Papers Required When Flying With A Cat
Your cat will need to have a current health certificate that meets the requirements of your destination, and the airline carrier. The certificate should be dated within ten days of the flight, but check with the airline to ensure you and your pet are in compliance. Pack your cat’s vaccination records and health certificate with you.
If flying internationally, be sure to check with the country you are traveling to see if your cat will need to be quarantined and for how long upon arrival. Make sure your cat is wearing a collar with an accurate identification tag. The tag should have your name, address, and phone number. Your cat should also have a rabies vaccination tag and a license tag if required.
Be sure to include identification on the outside and inside of the crate including your name, your cat’s name, address, phone number, and a second contact person if you cannot be reached. A “live animal” sticker is required on the outside of the carrier.
The Carrier The most important piece of equipment you will need when flying with a cat is the carrier. Review the pet carrier requirements for the airline you are flying. Most of the time, these requirements can be met with a soft-sided carrier, and they are easier to maneuver than hard carriers. Choose a quality one made from durable fabric. It should have strong seams with plenty of air vents. Your cat should be able to turn around, stand up, and rest comfortably inside the carrier. The base should include a removable pad that makes clean up easier.
Check Out These Airline Approved Pet Carriers
If you decide to take your furry friend with you, try these airlines listed as some of the best for cats . Remember to feed your cat about five hours before your departure time. If possible, do not give your cat water right before the flight. Toward the end of the trip, offer your cat ice cubes or small sips of water.