Traveling With Cats in the Cabin of a Plane
For many people traveling with cats, using the cabin rather than cargo for transport is the best option. Cats are small and tend to get nervous, requiring physical contact and attention. Fortunately, you can train your cat to travel in the cabin of the plane. Follow airline regulations to ensure your cat stays safe during the flight. Visit the veterinarian before your departure to get personalized advice about medications and tactics for soothing your cat. In addition, make sure your cat’s rabies shots are current and that your veterinarian gives you a certificate of health record for you to carry during your travels.
Booking the Flight
Airlines have vastly different policies when it comes to travelling with cats in the cabin of a plane. Some carriers offer cabin travel only for certain flights or seasons. If your cat has never flown or tends toward nervousness, begin with a short flight. When booking your flight, ask for a locator number for your cat. Compare the pet travel policies of airlines.
Using an Air Carrier
Review your airline’s requirements for pet carriers. In most cases, soft carriers meet these requirements and are more practical than hard carriers. Choose one with strong seams, quality fabric that will not rip and ample air vents. The base should include a removable pad that simplifies cleaning up after your cat.
Preparing Cats for Air Travel
Acclimate your cat to air travel over an extended period. Leave the air carrier open at home so your cat can enter and exit it. Place enticing toys and treats inside to encourage exploration. Reward your cat when it enters the carrier. As your day of departure gets closer, place a comfort object with your scent in the carrier that you can keep inside when your cat travels in the cabin.
Place a collar with identification and contact information on your cat before travel. You should also label your pet carrier with contact information. When traveling with pets in the cabin, you must remove your cat from the carrier before going through airport security. Hold your cat tightly and walk it through the metal detectors. The carrier goes through the X-ray machine. Whenever possible, keep the cat carrier closed while you are in open areas.
Cat Care Before and During the Flight
Feed your cat about five hours before your time of departure. Do not give your cat water right before the flight. Instead, give your cat ice cubes or small sips of water toward the end of the flight. If your cat’s veterinarian recommends medication during air travel, schedule the doses according to your itinerary. During the flight, use the privacy flaps on your carrier to soothe your cat. If possible, hold your cat and pet it through the vent of the carrier.