How to Prepare a Cat for Air Travel

By September 23 | See Comments

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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 – 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 don’t have to suffer last minute.
  • Picking between cabin and cargo hold – Any pet parent would choose to carry their cat with them in the cabin. It's understandable, but some airline policies dictate that cat 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 in. Also, always label the sides of the carrier appropriately to let the handlers know that there's a live animal inside. That way, they won’t be rough while handling it. You can also mention your contact information on these labels.
  • Be careful when booking your flight – You want a flight which allows pets to be carried as cabin luggage. Ask all the do’s and don’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 – 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.

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