Wednesday, June 19, 2024

How To Fly With A Cat

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How To Take Your Cat On A Flight

How to Fly With Your Cat

Flying with a cat used to be very straightforward buy a travel crate, limit access to food and check your cat in as checked luggage.

However, nowadays the process is a lot more complicated, with good reason to ensure that cats are happy and safe while travelling.

Flying with your cat can be straight forward and stress-free with a little planning:

  • Select a cat-friendly airline.
  • Obtain your cats pet passport.
  • Ensure your cats carrier is appropriate.
  • Get your cat used to its travel carrier.
  • Exhaust your cat 48 hours before the trip.
  • Limit access to food 12-24 hours before the trip.
  • Pack all the essentials.
  • In this article we will go into detail on how to prepare for taking your cat on a plane. Ive also included some travel tips, to ensure that the process is as stress-free as possible for both you and your cat.

    How Will I Move Through The Security Checkpoint At The Airport

    Your cats travel carrier must go through the luggage X-ray screening device at the airport, and your cat cannot, so you will have to carry her in your arms through the human screening device. She should be wearing a firm-fitting harness with a leash attached to prevent escape, and you should follow these steps:

  • Prepare yourself and your belongings, removing your shoes and your toiletries and laptop or tablet from your bag, then place them in the bins to go through the X-ray machine.
  • Remove your cat from the carrier and send the carrier through the X-ray machine.
  • Once you are through the screening with your cat, find the carrier and safely reposition your cat inside before gathering your belongings.
  • The Federal Aviation Administration requires that pets in the airplane cabin remain secured in their carriers throughout the duration of the flight.

    What Airlines Allow Cats To Fly In The Cabin

    In the same way that every airline has different pricing, routes, and policies, they are have different requirements for the size of your pet carrier. If youre the proud owner of one of our Fat Cat Backpacks you will be fine on Delta and American. Here are a few airlines and their requirements:


    – Require cat carriers be under 45 linear inches/114 cm in combined length, width and height.

    – Fee ranges from $75-$200 per pet.

    American Airlines:

    – Requires cat carriers be under 51″/130 cm long.

    – Fee is $125 per pet.

    Southwest Airlines:

    – Requires pet carrier to be within 18.5 long x 8.5 high x 13.5 wide.

    – Fee is $95 per pet.


    – Allows you to bring your pet carrier in addition to carry-on bag, with more guidelines on their website.

    – Fee is $125 per pet each way.

    – Soft sided pet carriers should be within 18 inches long x 11 inches wide x 11 inches high

    While they recommend soft-sided kennels that are under 40 linear inches/102 cm, they say that you may exceed these dimensions slightly, as they are collapsible and able to conform to under-seat space without blocking the aisle.

    Jet Blue:

    – Must not exceed 17″ x 12.5″ x 8.5″ See other restrictions on their website.

    – Fee is $125 each way, and only one pet allowed per person.

    Allegiant Air:

    – Must not exceed 9 x 16 x 19

    – Fee is $50 per segment of flight.

    – Only two pets allowed per person.

    As always, double check with your airline to familiarize yourself with their requirements!

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    Think Of Different Options

    Make sure your pet is healthy enough to travel by air. If you have any doubts, consider leaving your pet with a trusted friend, family member, or boarding kennel during your trip, or taking another mode of transportation.

    With careful planning, your pet will arrive both at its destination and return home healthy and safe.

    What Else Will Help My Cat Be Comfortable On This Trip

    Portrait Funny Cat Fly His Nose Isolated White Background ...

    Traveling on an empty stomach minimizes the risk of nausea and vomiting, so withhold breakfast on the day of travel. Line the carrier with an absorbent puppy potty pad in case your cat needs to urinate or defecate during travel. Carry extra pads as well as a couple of zip-lock bags, some paper towels, and a few pairs of latex gloves for any necessary cleanup and containment of a mess. Carry some of your cats food with you, a water bottle and bowl, and do not forget to bring any medications she takes.

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    Preparing Your Cat Or Dog For Travel

    Always remove your pets leash before placing it in its carrier.

    Since we assume no responsibility for the care or feeding of cats and dogs while in transit, it is most important that you prepare both the pet carrier and your pet ahead of time:

    • Feed your pet four to six hours prior to departure, as a full stomach may cause discomfort during travel.
    • Give your pet water right up to the time of travel. Be sure to empty the dish at check-in, otherwise spillage during the flight will give your pet a wet and uncomfortable ride.
    • Leave the dish in the carrier so our agents can provide water in the event of an extended wait before or after the flight, or during connections.
  • Tranquilizers and other medications are not recommended. Consult your veterinarian.
  • Cover the bottom of the carrier with absorbent material such as a blanket.
  • Do not lock the carrier door as Air Canada personnel may need to access your pet in the event of an emergency.

    Requirements For Dogs Arriving In The United States

    Meet the requirements for dogs entering the United States.

    Whether returning or coming to the United States, all dogs must appear healthy. There is a temporary suspension for dogs imported from countries that CDC considers high risk for dog rabies.

    Some states may require vaccinations and health certificates. Check with your destination states health departmentexternal icon before you leave on your trip.

    Some airlines, cities, or states restrict certain breeds, so be sure to check before you travel.

    The US Department of Agricultureexternal icon has additional restrictions for some dogs arriving in the United States, such as working dogs and dogs intended for resale or adoption.

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    B Airline Requirements For The Size Of Pet Carriers

    Different airlines have specific requirements when it comes to the size of your cats carrier or crate.

    In addition, some airlines may also request that you purchase specific crates for their flights.

    For example, United Airlines states the following:

    • Not accept crates taller than 30, including the 700 series crates.
    • No longer sell or provide crates at airport facilities. All cats and cats traveling with a PetSafe reservation must have a compliant crate, which may be purchased via in advance for acclimation and travel.

    Have a thorough read of your chosen airlines pet requirements well in advance of your trip.

    How To Travel With Your Pet In The Cargo Hold

    Pet Travel Routine: Flying with a Cat In-Cabin | What to Expect

    Depending on the airline, you can either bring your pet to the check-in counter to be taken away like a regular bag , or take them to a separate cargo drop-off in a location separate from the airport, which you have to do if flying with your pet on United or Delta.

    For each airline, you will need a health certificate from your vet from within 10 days of departure .

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    How To Prepare A Cat For Air Travel

    Last Updated: March 29, 2019ReferencesApproved

    This article was co-authored by Pippa Elliott, MRCVS. Dr. Elliott, BVMS, MRCVS is a veterinarian with over 30 years of experience in veterinary surgery and companion animal practice. She graduated from the University of Glasgow in 1987 with a degree in veterinary medicine and surgery. She has worked at the same animal clinic in her hometown for over 20 years.There are 9 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. In this case, 94% of readers who voted found the article helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 57,757 times.

    Just like their human counterparts, cats can feel stress and anxiety when traveling. Removing your cat from her familiar environment can throw her for a loop. Therefore, you should put careful time and consideration into preparing your cat for air travel. Your extra effort will help make the travel experience less stressful for the both of you.

    Whats Best For My Pet

    The Humane Society warns never to fly with Persian cats in the cargo area of the plane because they are particularly vulnerable to heat stroke and oxygen deprivation.

    The Humane Society recommends driving or leaving your cat at home. If you must fly, fly with your cat in the cabin. Ask the airline what kind of carrier and immunization record they require.

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    What Is A Pet Shipper

    The International Pet and Animal Transportation Association , incorporated in 1979, is proclaimed by the United States Department of Transportation as the safest way to ship your cat.

    The DOT requires the airlines to report the loss, injury, or death of any warm-blooded pet in custody of a domestic passenger airline.

    Their rules and restrictions nearly guarantee your pets safety. IPATA claims, air travel is the safest means of transportation for cats.

    Pet Movers, incorporated in 1998, is an IPATA pet shipper with offices in five continents. Animal Land Pet Movers has offices in Atlanta, Hong Kong, Johannesburg, London, Los Angeles, and Sydney, Australia.

    Animal Land specializes in pet relocation for employees of large corporations. Pet Movers are licensed by the U. S. Department of Agriculture as animal handlers.

    Food And Meds In Flight:

    flying cat

    Feed your cat at least five hours in advance of travel, and avoid giving water within one hour of flight. For cats traveling in cabin, offer ice cubes or a sip of water toward the end of the flight as needed.

    If your cat takes meds, schedule the doses according to your travel schedule. Remember that you will have to show up at least an hour before the flight, and once you enter the airport, your cat will be in the carrier.

    Unless your vet says otherwise, tranquilizers are not advisable for high altitudes. Train, dont drug, your pet into being a good traveler.

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    Do I Need To Register My Pet

    Cats or dogs in the cabin or in the baggage compartment

    You’ll need to let us know in advance of travel if you plan on travelling with your cat or dog in the cabin or in the baggage compartment.

    The first thing you’ll need to do is book your own flight*. Once that’s done, contact Air Canada Reservations to register** your pet for travel on the same flight as yours.

    At the time of your call, you’ll be asked to provide:

    • the dimensions of the carrier and
    • the weight and breed of your pet.

    We strongly recommend that you register** your pet within 24 hours of completing your booking. This will ensure that, if your pet cannot be accommodated on the flight and date you selected, your ticket will be refunded without charge. After 24 hours, any changes to your booking will be subject to applicable change and cancellation fees.

    Please take note that you’ll need to arrive a full 30 minutes prior to the recommended check-in time for your flight as you must see an agent at check-in. Customers with pets cannot use Web check-in or airport self-service kiosks.

    * Please also view important information below about travelling on Codeshare flights/Flights with other airlines .** Pets that have not been registered in advance will not be accepted at the airport.

    Talk With Your Vet And Get Your Paperwork

    Get a vet checkup and ask if your cat’s healthy enough to fly. Flying might not be a good idea for cats with shorter faces and nasal passages, like Persians.4 Your airline will likely also need vaccination papers and other documentation from your veterinarian. If your cat isn’t microchipped, now is a good time.

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    The Best Cat Carriers For Flying:

    It is important to find a carrier that your cat will be able to move around in comfortably, and one that will allow you to check in on your kitty mid-flight without opening up the carrier. Having mesh paneling/air holes is a must, to make sure they are getting optimal air flow and will not be subject to extreme heat. Find a carrier that your cat loves, and create a good association with that carrier – like giving them treats in it, and doing things they enjoy in it, leading up to your departure date.

    We recommend these cat carriers for flying:

    “The Jackson Galaxy” Convertible Cat Carrier is great because it doubles as both a backpack, and traditional carrier. The floor mat adjusts to a longer length, so your kitty can stretch out and get comfy while safe & sound under the seat in front of you. The mesh paneling makes it very convenient to check in on your cat throughout the flight without disturbing it or opening up the carrier!

    We also love “The Navigator” Convertible Cat Backpack, as it also converts to a traditional cat carrier! This backpack also has multiple pockets, perfect for storing cat nip, your own water bottle & snacks, passport and other essentials, so you can navigate the airport hands-free!

    “The Explorer” Cat Backpack is an excellent choice for airlines with smaller size requirements.

    The Alaska Airline Representative Had Told Us That The Company Didnt Require Any Additional Paperwork For The Cat But Our Airport Might


    Rules for traveling with pets vary by airline, airport, and state. Some airlines require you to get a health certificate from a veterinarian, which you’ll need to show at the airport.

    We got a certificate for both Lily and Zelda , but no one at JFK, LAX, or at the Alaska Airlines’ gate asked to see them.

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    How To Start Planning When Flying With Your Cat

    Once youve verified your airline will let you bring your cat onboard and the destination is pet-friendly, the next step is to inquire about in-flight limitations. You will want to ask about:

    • The rules once your pet is onboard. Ask if your cat will be allowed outside of the carrier at any point or if they have to stay caged for the duration of the flight .
    • The type and size of carrier required for their flights, and if there are any specific features to avoid while shopping for one.
    • Any limitations in regards to feeding and otherwise interacting with your pet while flying.
    • The associated costs that accompany air travel involving a pet. Most airlines will charge an additional fee to allow you to bring your cat onboard.

    We Made Our Way Through Check In And Security Each Taking One Cat

    My husband and I both have TSA Pre-Check, but the terminal our flight was leaving from didn’t have a pre-check line. Instead, we were allowed to leave our shoes on, but still had to remove laptops.

    The TSA agents also had to swab our hands after we went through the metal detectors. They did this while I was still holding Lily.

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    Traveling With A Cat: Top Tips And Advice

    Thinking about traveling with a cat? Adventuring with your cat can make the trip more fun and reduce your worries about leaving them with a sitter. Whilst we highly recommend leaving your cat at home with a sitter or friend or family member when you go on vacation, if your cat is more adventure prone or traveling with a cat is a necessity , be sure to be prepared and plan carefully. Keep these tips in mind before you head off on your next adventure with your cat!

    In The Airport Building:

    Amazing Flying Cat

    For cats traveling in cargo in a crate, the check-in counter staff will advise you where to deliver your cat for transport. If your cat is flying in cabin, you will carry him through gate security. You must remove him from his carrier and carry him through the metal detectors, allowing his bag to go through the X-ray machine.

    NEVER allow your cat to pass through the X-ray machine it is not permitted and is highly dangerous.

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    Train Your Cat To Like The Carrier

    Flying with your cat is all about preparation. Creating positive associations for your cat with his cat carrier will not happen overnight. So plan several weeks in advance to start training your cat to be comfortable with the carrier.

    Leave the carrier out, says Siracusa, so that your cat can come and go as he pleases. Siracusa also recommends encouraging your cat to spend time in the cat carrier. Placing the cat carrier in a warm place and putting a soft blanket with your cats favorite toy will make it much more warm and appealing. Reward your cat each time he spends time in the carrier, says Siracusa. High-value rewards will help your cat create positive associations with the carrier.

    To get your cat used to traveling in the carrier, Siracusa suggests placing your cat in the carrier for progressively longer periods of time, and even taking your cat on short trips in the car to places he will enjoy or even just for a drive around the neighborhood.

    Maximum Number Of Pets Allowed

    Maximum number of pets allowed

    Customers can send up to two pets in the same kennel in the baggage compartment following these conditions:

    • Only fully weaned puppies or kittens from 12 weeks to 6 months can be placed together in the same kennel
    • Both animals must be of the same specie
    • Two pets travelling in one kennel are counted as two pets regardless of combined weight.

    You’ll need to contact Air Canada Cargo Opens in New Window no more than 30 days or less than 7 days prior to your anticipated travel date if youre travelling with more than two pets.

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