Are you about to fly with your cat? It is quite possible to travel with your feline by this mode of transport, but it is important to respect certain rules and take some precautions. To better support you in preparing for this journey and its progress, discover our 12 tips to follow before departure, during the flight and upon arrival. You will find that traveling by plane with a cat is relatively simple, but that it requires a minimum of organization beforehand and when the time comes so that the flight is comfortable for your little feline and for you.
Before departure: our 4 tips to follow
Air travel with a cat is not a trivial event. It is important to prepare it carefully several weeks in advance, or even more because of the many precautions to be taken before boarding.
Tip #1: Choose a good airline
Not all airlines apply the same regulations when it comes to animal transport. Some accept tomcats in the cabin while others require the hold.
Check the type of transport cage and the dimensions accepted on board, because here again, the practice differs. It is not uncommon for airlines to impose a maximum weight on board for the animal and its cage. As a result, an overweight cat risks being sent directly to the hold.
Tip n°2: check with the veterinarian
Before considering flying with your cat, check with your veterinarian and check that your animal is in good standing. He must be fitted with a registered chip and his vaccinations must be up to date. The vaccination passport is required in many countries, but do not hesitate to inquire beforehand to know the regulations applied.
These steps must be well anticipated. This will save you the risk of refusal of your animal once it arrives at its destination or its quarantine.
Tip #3: Get her a ticket
Airplane seats are limited for cats and they are paid for. So take care to book a ticket for your little companion in advance.
Tip n°4: plan a good transport case
Whether the cat is traveling in the hold or in the cabin, it must remain in a transport cage for the duration of the flight. The cage should not exceed 6 kg to 10 kg depending on the company. The size granted can also be variable, as well as the material that composes it. Do not hesitate to inquire in advance to equip yourself accordingly.
And finally, remember to properly label your cat’s transport cage before the flight to avoid any problems, whether in the cabin or in the hold.
The day of departure: our 4 tips to follow
Tip #5: A little reminder is better
Do not hesitate to contact the airline two or three days before the flight to remind them that you will be flying with your cat. This precaution is preferable, as the check-in of baggage will certainly take longer and new documents may be required at the last moment.
Tip n°6: travel on an empty stomach
Avoid giving your cat food and drink in the four hours before the flight so as not to risk causing nausea or the urge to relieve itself on the plane. Nevertheless, there are suitable absorbent mats to avoid the constraints linked to small accidents occurring in mid-flight.
Tip #7: Consider the sedative
Some cats are particularly stressed on planes. If this is the case for your little companion or if he is flying for the first time, you can ask your veterinarian to prescribe a suitable light sedative which will help him feel more relaxed and soothed.
There are also pheromones to diffuse in his box or Bach flowers to dilute to soothe him.
Tip n°8: Vigilance for the security check
If your little companion is traveling in the cabin, he will have to pass the security check. Its cage will be scanned like any hand luggage and the animal will have to go through the security gates in your arms. To prevent him from escaping you, equip him with a harness that includes his identity – just in case – and a leash to hold him if he manages to free himself from your embrace.
During the flight: our 2 tips to follow
Tip #9: Keep Your Pet Quiet
Your cat will not be able to leave its cage for the duration of the flight. You can give him something to eat or drink if the flight is long, but he is likely to refuse to swallow anything due to the stress caused. The mash is a practical solution, easier to eat and which allows you to hydrate it at the same time.
Tip n°10: a little heat
A small blanket is recommended to cover his cage and protect him from drafts, as they are common on airplanes. Be careful though, because some cats don’t like to feel locked in the dark.
After arrival: our 2 tips to follow
Tip #11: Keep Your Cat’s Documents Handy
Upon your arrival, you will have to pass new checks and the entry of a cat into another territory requires certain procedures and checks. You will therefore need to be patient and keep all the documents that concern him within reach in order to make things easier.
Tip n°12: reassure your animal
The flight could have been very stressful for your little feline and he will still have to wait to get out of his cage and bask in your company. Take the time to reassure him with your voice. If possible, find a quieter, more secluded place to help him settle down.
You can take the opportunity to allow him to drink and eat.