How to Keep Your Cat Calm during Air Travel?



Flying with cats from one place to another is more difficult than with dogs. To avoid any untoward incidents with other passengers or with the airline, prepare your cat for air travel. Even then, she may fidget or act up during the flight. Here are a few tips to keep it calm during the entire duration of travel.

  • Find out your airlineโ€™s pet policy โ€“ Many airlines allow pets in the cabin area. However, do not assume yours will too. Call them in advance and find out their rules for pet travel. You may have to pay additional fees for it.
  • Take him/her to the vet before travel โ€“ The vet should provide a clean bill of health before you can travel. They may prescribe medications to calm your cat during the flight. You may also need to pick up medicines for nausea, cold, diarrhea, and other conditions, which may occur during the flight.
  • Train her โ€“ If you are moving houses, you obviously will know it well in advance. Use the time between moves to train your cat for air travel. Get her used to leashes and carriers so that she doesnโ€™t become uneasy when you put her in them.
  • Pick the right carrier โ€“ Choose a carrier that is large enough for your cat to comfortably sit in and fit under your seat. Line it with swaddle or pheromone wipes to reduce her anxiety. You cannot remove her from the carrier throughout the flight.
  • Talk to him/ her โ€“ Airports and planes can be quite noisy. Talking to your cat as you would at home should keep her calm during the journey. Your voice will let him/her know that things will be okay.
  • Keep her close at all times โ€“ Keep the carrier on your lap until boarding is completed. During takeoff, slide the carrier below the seat slowly while uttering assurances so that it doesn't get overwhelmed. Do not put him/her in the overhead luggage bin as she may get scared. Once the plane has taken off, you can put the carrier back on your lap and keep her engaged.
  • Prepare ahead โ€“ Apart from medications, carry other necessary items that can calm it. Put an item of your clothing along with his/her favorite toy(s) in the carrier. Also bring cleansing wipes, extra towels, plastic bags, and gloves in case she vomits or eliminates in the carrier.

Traveling without your cat can be strenuous for you and is definitely difficult for your cat. Many cat owners even dread going on a vacation, leaving their beloved friends with a sitter. They prefer taking them along and having more fun that way. Preparing well can help both of you have a calm and comforting journey.

How to Calm Feline Stress While Traveling

It's safe to say that cats despise traveling. Unlike your canine playmates, there's something about a car that just doesn't appeal to your felines. Cats are creatures of habit and become easily anxious when faced with a change of routine. They are also incredibly territorial and averse to new places. If you intend to take your cat for a trip to the vet or a drive to your best friendโ€™s upstate, here are a few suggestions on how you can calm your felineโ€™s travel stress โ€“

  • Choose a comfortable carrier โ€“ Never attempt to take your cat out in anything but a cat carrier. It is for your as well as your cat's safety. An uncomfortable cat carrier translates to an uncomfortable cat. Choose a carrier that is spacious enough for your cat to move around a little if you're taking it on a long trip. Your regular cat carrier for a short vet visit won't cut it. Make sure thereโ€™s an opening for your curious cat to keep updated with its surroundings.
  • Introduce the cat to the carrier early โ€“ Don't wait till the big day to let your cat meet its carrier. Place the carrier in a room where your cat spends its time and maybe toss in a worn-in garment or soft blanket you've used โ€“ the cat will be comforted by your scent. Place treats inside the carrier for the cat to find. Repeat this routine over the days. Once, the cat doesn't seem too averse to entering the carrier; you can consider driving it around the neighborhood for test runs before your long trip.
  • Use soothing agents โ€“ Spray the insides of the carrier with a spritzer. These sprays available in the market contain anxiety-releasing pheromones that cats themselves emit to soothe themselves. You can also introduce your catโ€™s favorite toys inside the carrier.
  • Consider administering mild sedation โ€“ The vet may recommend you to administer anti-nausea and anti-anxiety medication to your cat before embarking on your car travel with them if your cat happens to be excessively worked up at the prospect of travel. 


The tips shared above should help ease your catโ€™s travel anxiety. However, be considerate to your cat and leave him/her behind if they show no signs of calming down even after you've tried all of these practices sans the sedation. If you have a friend, who can put them up for a few days, ask them to do you this favor. If not, there are many cat boarding services available that you can look up online. Your cat will miss you while you're gone, but at least they won't have to be subject to the intense stress, and anxiety felines face when posed with travel.

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