Flying with Your Cat

Need to make an extended trip away from home? If you’ve arranged for your cat to travel with you, you need to consider some things before you get out of the house and expect everything to work as smoothly as possible. In this article, we’ll give you some tips on how to make sure that you don’t get refused by an airline.

Get the right carrier

You should get acquainted with the demands of the airline you’re going to travel with to know what the maximum size of the cat carrier allowed is. You ought to consider a soft-sided travel carrier since it is a little more forgiving for fitting under the seat space.

Make sure that the design of the carrier enables you to open it up from time to time as this might help your feline friend relax for a bit. Before your trip, try to practice exit and entry to and from the carrier to make it a relatively routine process. Your cat should not feel stressed as you are requested to take her out and put her back into the carrier time and again — security might ask you to do just that.

Schedule a trip to your veterinarian close to the date of travel

You will need a health certificate to be able to travel with your cat. Make sure that you go to the vet and check on the vaccination plan that your cat is ‘enrolled’ in. If you are planning a trip overseas, make sure your cat is vaccinated against rabies. You ought to have your cat’s health certificate and vaccination certificate handy as you are traveling.

Ideally, you should take your feline companion to the vet around 24 hours before your flight.

Find out how you’re supposed to travel with your cat (airline info)

You might have to do quite a bit of research to find an airline that allows you to take your cat with you on the plane. Why is that so important? Cats are extremely sensitive to temperature variations and as you might expect, the temperature in the cargo or luggage hold drops significantly when the plane is at 7,000 feet in the sky. Unfortunately, very many airlines will refuse passengers’ requests to take their pets with them.

Before you purchase your ticket, do a bit of reading with regard to the policy of the airline. Check out their website to find out what cat records you need to have with you.

Do you need to use sedatives?

Many cats can’t stand still when it comes to traveling. Some might make a lot of noise as you take them out of the house — especially those that aren’t used to going outside. But the problem that all cats face when they have to fly is the many pressure variations, the presence of a lot of unknown people, and generally, strange individuals that will interact with the animal in one way or another.

You have several ways of going about things if you know that your cat is problematic in this respect. You can ask your veterinarian to prescribe actual medication for the purpose — alprazolam, gabapentin, or buprenorphine are three examples of meds used for this. You can also use pheromone wipes and sprays so as to prepare the carrier before the flight. Finally, you also have the option of using a pheromone collar, and apparently, it can help with lowering your cat’s anxiety.

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