A Cat Clinic

Traveling with Cats: Flying with your cat, Part I

Posted on: July 24th, 2015 by Dr. Dale Rubenstein

Flying with your cat can’t be done, can it? Well, with the right cat and careful planning, although it may not be easy, you can take to the skies with your cat!

Previously, we gave general tips for traveling with cats, focusing on trips in the car. But what if you are traveling to California? Or moving to Hawaii? While researching this article, we are reminded just how complicated flying with your cat can be. So we decided to divide this into two parts as we did with car travel. This time we’ll discuss domestic air travel tips.

First, two main points. If you’re just visiting, for trips less than 2 months consider leaving your cat at home. It may take Kitty 1-2 months to fully adjust to new living accommodations (not to mention the trauma of air travel), so it may be more stressful to take her with you than for her to stay home with a pet-sitter or at a boarding facility.

Second, start preparing early. Check with hotels or apartments to make sure cats are accepted. Check with your airline for specific requirements and allow enough time to schedule an appointment with your veterinarian for any microchip placement, vaccinations and health certificates you need. There may be limited availability to bring cats on board, so book the flight as early as possible.

Oh, and Hawaii has it’s own rules. So these suggestions for “domestic” flights don’t include going to your tropical paradise. Unless it’s Florida. We’ll cover Hawaii next time with the international travel.

OK, now for some general tips:

Making arrangements for traveling with cats

Before you go

At the airport – Security Screening

Whew! Seems like a lot to prepare for, and it is. But the last thing you want to do is arrive at the airport with a nervous cat and find out you are missing a required certificate, or have your cat escape during a busy travel rush. Do your homework, allow lots of time, and stay calm. That will go a long way towards having you and Kitty survive the ordeal of air travel.

However, if you think domestic travel is a hassle, next time we’ll discuss international travel. That can really take some planning!