Post # 1
I’ll be moving across the country soon to join my SO who just moved there, and I’ll be taking our 4 month old kitten, Arthur, with me. I have never traveled by plane with any pet, and it’s stressing me out because I’m not sure what to expect. He’ll be riding with me in the cabin of the plane, so I know I need the following things:
A soft carrier to fit under the seat, a note from the vet saying he’s healthy to fly, a halter and leash, some food for him to snack on, a bowl for water, and treats
I was also thinking about getting some of those ‘puppy pads’ to put in the carrier, in case he has an accident on the plane. We’ll be in the air for almost five hours.
Arthur’s pretty chilled out most of the time – I walked with him to the vet for 10 minutes along a busy downtown street and he didn’t make a peep – he just kind of looked intently out the windows of his carrier, so I’m pretty sure he’d be OK with all the people and noise…
Anyone have any experience taking a cat on a flight? Any advice you can give me?
Here’s a pic of the little guy:
Post # 3
me again- please don’t think I’m stalking you! I’m at work and it’s slow and we are allowed, even encouraged to surf the net between calls.
I haven’t travelled with a pet but I do know you have to register your pet ahead of time with Air Canada:
also here is Westjet’s http://www.seatguru.com/airlines/Westjet/pets.php
Post # 4
I’ve taken my dogs on board with me in their carrier several times and it was no problem. I did line the carrier with an extra pad or two to ensure their comfort and I placed some of their favorite soft toys in there with them. I made sure they used the bathroom just before boarding and made a beeline to the curb when we landed so they could go. I’ve even gotten the okay from the flight attendants to let my dogs out on uncrowded flights so they could sit in the empy seat next to me.
I’d just recommend not giving any food or water to Arthur for a couple of hours prior to the flight so that he has less of an urge to go while in transit.
Good luck & safe travels to you both!
PS – you should definitely try to get some of those plastic wings to put on his collar after the flight; it’d be too cute!
Post # 5
I would actually advise against the water and treats, depending on how long the flight is. You don’t want your cat to throw up or go in the carrier because he’s nervous or something. Maybe a little water is okay, but I think he’ll be fine with no food for 3-4 hours.
Post # 6
Also, I’d ask the vet for a sedative – just in case. Sometimes crowded flights wil have really strict rules on non-sedated pets, and you don’t want to get into that situation. There’s a huge difference between walking down the street, and the changes in cabin pressure on a flight.
Post # 7
I second the fact that you really don’t want him to have food and water before or during the flight. If he is thirsty give him a tiny bit but not a lot.
Also, ask your vet if you can give a sedative or even benadryl. It will make you and him MUCH more comfortable. My mom has to give our dog benedryl before he goes to the vet or on a long car ride.
Post # 8
@julies1949: you made me laugh when I read your response 🙂 Thanks for the links. I think one of the things that’s stressing me out is that I leave in about 10 days and I heard you have to give lots of notice to the airline. We haven’t even booked the flight yet. I worry that I’ll show up and he they can’t let him on for some reason, like there’s another pet on the flight and I’m SOL.
@tootietoo2: OMG if I can get my hands on those wings I will sooo do that! I’m glad to hear things have gone so smoothly for you and your dog.
@GoldfishPie & @caszos: Not feeding him or giving him water so close to the flight is a good idea. I think I read that I shouldn’t feed him after his dinner the night before. Thanks for the tip.
@afbacher: I’ll for sure ask the vet re: sedatives when I go for his checkup. I reaally don’t want to get caught out on a technicality like a ‘non-sedated’ policy or something.
Thanks ladies! I’m feeling better already.
Post # 9
If you have a t-shirt or other piece of clothing that you have worn, that has your scent on it, I would put that in there for him to make his bed in the carrier. Your scent will help to calm his nerves and make him feel safe.
Post # 10
No advice, but I’m curious as well. Seriously adorable kitty. OMG so adorable!
Post # 11
For the carrier, I recommend a SturdiBag. That’s what I got for my dogs after a lot of research to the roomiest airline-aproved pet carrier. And it’s flexible on top so it can squish a little if the seats are a little lower.
Sedatives are not required by the airline. You can get a sedative from your vet for just-in-case; but don’t give it to your cat unless the cat needs it.
Practice at home ahead of time. Put the cat in it’s airline carrier for 5 minutes, then 10 minutes, then 30 minutes, then 1 hour. (Space this out over days or a week so it doesn’t overwhelm the cat.)
Post # 12
You need to contact the airline and find out what their regulations are on pets. Some will not let you keep them in the passenger area. Plus I would get right on booking your flight, because you do have to give the airline notice that you are planning on bringing a pet. Expect to be charged extra.
Post # 13
@MsGolightly: cute ragdoll 🙂
I’ve never tried to take my cat (also a ragdoll, although I doubt this is a breed trait) on a plane, but she HATES riding in cars. She gets really anxious and meows like she’s dying. I’m too nervous to give her Benadryl even though my vet has said it’s ok, but it would probably be a good idea to have something on hand in case Arthur gets anxious. That being said, my cat didn’t seem to develop her fear of car-riding until she was older. She almost always slept the entire time when we traveled with her as a kitten, so you might not have any problems. Some things that help the anxiety: talking to her/putting my fingers in the carrier to let her know I’m there and putting a pillowcase I’ve used in there so she has my smell.
Post # 14
If you do end up deciding to use some sort of sedative, test it before you get on the plane. I’ve seen some cats have paradoxical reactions to sedatives, and end up REALLY freaked out rather than sedated – definitely not something you want to happen on the plane!
Post # 15
@MsGolightly: oh goodness – what a face!!!!!!!!!!! here’s my kitty-flying experience.
i took my ~4 mo old kitty on a plane just after i got her because i had adopted her in the city by FH lives in (long distance relationship). she had her papers since i’d just adopted her and we went to petsmart and got a cheap soft carrier for her, threw in some free toys they gave us, got a big dog collar at the dollar store to use as a makeshift leash, and we were on our way. it wasn’t a big deal – she got in and was quiet the whole time. picked her up with the makeshift leash and held her when we went through security, and then… my flight got cancelled. so i waited for another… and it was too full. SO! we were at the airport for like 6 hours without flying and had to get FH come get us.
Overnight, there was a HUGE thunderstorm that continued to the next morning. As FH took us to the airport she was howling bloody murder because of the rain. We did the same as last time, picked her up and walked her through security, and waited at the gate. it was non-stop howling and crying for her though because of the weather – the night before she had been absolutely perfect and hadn’t made a peep! so i went into the little convenience store and got a pack of benadryl, bit about a 1/4 off and in the middle of one of her screams, chucked it in her mouth. lol! it worked like a charm. she settled in again, we got on our flights, and made it home. i cheated and let her pop her head out a couple times in flight to check on her and she was fine – not drowsy, just calm.
I wouldn’t do the water and treats, he really wont need it. Also, you shouldn’t need the puppy pads – cats don’t need to pee as often as dogs because their bodies are more efficient. so it shouldn’t be a problem. i’d get a carrier that has coverable sides so that way there’s less for him to get bothered by. and when you’re in the airport, you can always stick your hand down in the carrier to give him some comforting strokes. i think my Clementine would have been perfect without the storm, but you can always do the benadryl trick if he’s not a happy camper – just make sure it’s a low dose. 😀
another thing i’ll suggest is to take the middle seat on the plane. it has the most room under the seat for you to put the carrier, which will give you more leg room and then you can secure your feet around the sides of the carrier for take off and landing to keep him from jostling around. here’s mine in her carrier under the middle seat.
Post # 16
@redherring: Good idea to test the sedative before the flight. I have a feeling Arthur will be a little quieter the day of our flight ’cause he’s getting his final shots two days before. Last time he had his vaccinations he was kind of lethargic for the following 48 hrs.
@elliestan: Oh geez – what a nightmare! I worry about something like that happening to me… Thank you for the pic – I like knowing what to expect on the plane!
@EmeraldR: I’m definitely going to put his blanket in there that he’s had since he was born – the one the breeder gave us. Maybe I’ll sleep on it for a couple of nights too 🙂
@beekiss2: Thank you! I love him sooo much and I seriously recommend the ragdoll to everyone. (don’t you agree @mmbar? 😀
@Loribeth: I booked my flight last night! I called in to book it and so far Arthur’s the only pet on board. I was seriously worried about that too.
I actually have a question for @elliestan and @abbyful (and whoever else has taken their cat on board a flight):
How close to the dimensions that the airline gave you was your carrier? I just bought one that’s two inches taller and longer than what the airline listed, but the guy at the store said that as long as the carrier can squish into their dimensions, it’ll be fine. Is that true?