How to Prepare a Cat for Air Travel


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Cats are a stickler for habits. Shake up their ordinary routine, and you will have a scared and anxious cat on your hands. If you want to fly your cat with you to another state/country, you need to invest time and effort beforehand to prepare your cat for this air travel. Airlines and flight attendants are perfectly capable of assisting cat parents on their trips, but as the pet parent, you must be aware and providing of your feline's physical and emotional needs. You could use a sedative to calm your cat down. However, this is unnecessary in most cases as cats do surprisingly well with air travel, with a little prior training and preparation.

Steps to prepare your cat for flying

  • Choosing the right carrier โ€“ You need to pick a spacious and comfortable cat carrier for your pet. Hopefully, not the one you take it to the vet in. Call up the airline services or visit their website to learn about the necessary size and material allowances for cat carriers, so you donโ€™t have to suffer last minute.
  • Picking between cabin and cargo hold โ€“ Any pet parent would choose to carry their cat with them in the cabin. It's understandable, but some airline policies dictate that cats can only be carried as part of cargo luggage. If this is the case, get your cat a well-cushioned and ventilated spacious carrier where it wouldn't mind spending time. Also, always label the sides of the carrier appropriately to let the handlers know that there's a live animal inside. That way, they wonโ€™t be rough while handling it. You can also mention your contact information on these labels.
  • Be careful when booking your flight โ€“ You want a flight that allows pets to be carried as cabin luggage. Ask all the dos and donโ€™ts before boarding your flight. Make sure you carry all required documents authenticating your cat and its travel with you. You should also expect to pay an extra charge for being allowed to carry a live animal as part of your cabin luggage.
  • Put proper identity markers on your cat โ€“ If your cat is traveling in the cargo hold, there are chances it might get lost just like luggage routinely does from airline cargo services. Besides labeling your cat's carrier, get your cat to wear a collar, which you can use to identify them. Nowadays, modern technology enables you to track your pet by installing a microchip on their person. If you're willing to spend extra, this might be a handy tool to keep your pet safe while taking it for air travel.

Planning to fly with your cat? Do keep the above suggestions in mind.

Five Traveling Must-Haves for Your Cat

Traveling with your cat for the first time? We recommend starting off the prep work by making a detailed list of the things you might need to make the travel comfortable for your pet. After all, you donโ€™t want to go around fetching things while on the road. Here is a list of the five traveling must-haves that will keep your cat happy and safe throughout the trip.

  1. First-aid kit Preparing a first-aid kit is non-negotiable when traveling with your cat. In case there is a minor accident, causing injury to the animal, you will be equipped to handle it without having to make costly trips to the vet. In fact, a vet might not even be accessible in that particular location. The first-aid kit must include antiseptic, tweezers, and gauze. Consider downloading first-aid apps for pets that might help you find the nearest local vet.
  2. Food supplies You definitely cannot travel with your cat without adequate food supplies. If you have a sufficient stock of cat food, you will not have to run around to refill the cat food stash. Carrying food supplies is especially useful for cats that have specific dietary needs. Your cat might be consuming wet or raw food as a part of its daily diet. In such a case, you will have to pack the food in an ice-filled cooler. Carry additional dry food to ensure that there is sufficient stock for your trip.
  3. Pet identification It is crucial for your cat to adorn a proper collar that has an identification tag throughout the trip. Ensure that the tag has your contact number, address, and other details that might help a stranger connect with you during your trip (hotels, lodges, traveling number, and so on.) In addition to this, also keep an up-to-date photograph of the cat with you at all times. In case your cat gets lost, it will be much easier for somebody to assist you in finding your pet.
  4. Travel carriers/harnesses Make sure that your cat stays in a secure carrier if youโ€™re traveling by road. For air travel, carriers are mandatory for cat safety. Keep in mind that the pet carrier needs to be smooth-edged and durable with a grill door, ventilation holes, secure latch, and opaque sides.
  5. Miscellaneous supplies Other important miscellaneous traveling supplies for cats include water bowls, food dishes, litter box, bedding, grooming supplies, tags, and collars. Try avoiding the summer heat and wait till fall if you wish to travel with your cat. After all, you want to ensure that your beloved kitty is comfortable and safe throughout the duration of the trip.
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