How to fly with a cat

How to fly with a cat – on a commercial flight it requires some preparation. Here are some practical tips to help you and your cat fly safer and more comfortably. My Kitty Care followed Toby who takes his first ride on an airplane. For domestic flights, proof of shots from your vet is not necessary, but for international, you must have papers from your vet validating your cat’s shots, but this depends on the airline and destination, so be sure to research this. For Toby, this was a  domestic flight from New York to Florida (USA) which lasted about three hours, but of course the actual time Toby spent in his carrier was much longer.

Toby in carrier at airport

cat in carrier at airport – photo by shari smith dunaif 2015

So the first thing to consider is total time: leaving your house, getting to the airport, then there’s waiting for departure at the airport (hope there are no delays), flight time, possibly picking up checked baggage, car rental, anything like that which adds the time your cat is kept inside his/her carrier. If your cat has done little or no traveling, try driving around with your cat in the carrier. Start with a short jaunt, then try a longer one. Also, keep the carrier visible and accessible in your house, so that your cat gets use to it.

vents on cat carrier bag

cat carrier – photo by shari smith dunaif 2015

• Here are a few more tips to prepare your cat and you for the trip.
You need a harness  – check out buying a harness for your cat, or at least get a collar.It’s important because you can attach an ID tag, and a leash, and you’ll want to have both. The tag you should keep on your cat from the moment you walk out your door, until you arrive at your destination. The leash is because going thru TSA, you must take your cat out of her/his carrier – and your cat may FREAK. According to a TSA agent who I spoke to, cats have been known to jump out of their owner’s arms: at best, after you retrieve your cat, you are both very upset, but still make your flight. Or the worst case scenario: your cat isn’t found till two weeks later, dehydrated, REALLY FREAKED and your cat may become too terrified to ever try to travel again.

Next, buying a cat carrier is an important preparation. The cat carrier must have proper ventilation, and be big enough for your cat to turn around while inside it.

cat carrier bag 17" L

cat carrier size – photo by shari smith dunaif 2015

Also,  you must get a carrier with specific dimensions, according to the airline you’re traveling on – which means check your airline. You might even want to bring a tape measure to the pet store, just to make sure.  Here’s a few examples:
Jetblue has maximum dimensions of 17″ L x 12.5″ W x 8.5″ H, and total weight of your cat and carrier not to exceed 20lbs.

whereas US Airways has maximum dimensions (a soft carrier) of 17″ L x 16″ W x 10″ H

Southwest maximum is: 18.5 L x 13.5 W x 8.5″ H

cat carrier under sea

cat carrier under airplane seat – photo by shari smith dunaif 2015

these sizes are to fit under the seat in front of you (hmmm, kind of suggests which airline has a little more space)

Pet ticket CU

pet airplane ticket – photo by shari smith dunaif 2015

Although your cat is considered carry on (meaning you’ve used your allowed carry on) the airlines somehow also get to charge you for your pet, from $95 – $125 one way. Plus, most airlines require booking your cat’s “ticket” in advance.

Another suggestion is to use a wee wee pad –

photo by shari smith dunaif 2015

cat carrier – photo by shari smith dunaif 2015

and keep a spare in the carrier pocket. Treats are always appreciated too – right Toby?

wee wee pad and treats for flying with cats

ca t treats – photo by shari smith dunaif 2015

Toby did quite well.

cat carrier on airplane

flying cat in carrier – photo by shari smith dunaif 2015

Cats can travel on commercial flights, providing you and your cat take the time to prepare for your flight.

How to travel with your cat

               how to travel with your cat

 A recent online survey conducted by Petplan pet insurance found that more than 78% of respondents vacation with their pets.
So traveling with your cat? Here are 4 tips
photo by shari smith dunaif 2014

photo by shari smith dunaif 2014

It’s important if you’ll be traveling with your cat to ensure that he/she is healthy, safe and happy when coming along on any trips. We spoke with Dr. Rebecca Jackson, a staff veterinarian at Petplan, for some advice on how to have a safe trip with cats in tow.

1. Identification is key. While nobody likes to think of their cat going missing, one in three pets actually will get lost during their lifetime, and without identification, a whopping 90% of them never find their way back home. In fact, according to the American Humane Association, only about 2% of lost cats ever find their way back to their original owners. (The number is a bit higher for dogs at about 15%.) That’s why it’s so important to always be sure your cat has a collar tag with your cell phone number on it, so if she happens to slip away or is accidentally let outside, you can be immediately reached by phone should someone find her. A microchip with updated contact information can help further increase your chances of a happy reunion, and it’s harmless for your cat to get one.

2. Carriers are your best friend. Use a cat carrier when transporting your cat, and don’t be tempted to let her out once you’re in the car. Having a loose cat in the vehicle could cause a huge distraction to the driver, and could post a serious threat to your cat’s safety in the event of an accident. Be sure to secure the carrier itself, as well — most have a strap or handle where the seatbelt can be looped through — so that if you need to hit the brakes, your kitty will stay safe. As an added bonus, staying in a comfy carrier will also help your furry friend feel safe and secure, and could help reduce her stress.

3. Lower his stress level. As mentioned above, some cats become stressed by travel, and some may even suffer from motion sickness. There are plenty of products designed to naturally help cats settle down, including pheromone sprays and calming treats, as well as medicines that can help relieve stress and curb car sickness. Talk to your vet about what’s best for your cat’s particular needs.

4. Plan ahead. Think of your cat like a child, and always travel prepared. You never know when an overnight trip might turn into an extended stay, so be sure to pack extra cat food, any medication or supplements and kitty litter. Don’t forget to toss a pet first aid kit into the car, too, in case your kitty has an accident or injury while you’re away from home. One other smart thing to bring with you is a health certificate from your veterinarian. Plan ahead for this, since it takes time to get the paperwork, depending on where you’re heading. This could require an office visit, certain vaccines or even blood work.

thanks The Daily Cat by Cheryl Lock

Driving with your cat

cat carrier in car, grab the seat belt

grab the seatbelt                                                      photo by shari smith dunaif 2014

Driving with your cat is inevitable when we take them somewhere, like the vet. The other day I was driving my cat Bear to her vet;  she sat in her cat carrier, in the front seat of my car and I thought about “driving with your cat.” I feel safer when I strap her in with the seatbelt

Pull over cat carrier –

cat carrier in car, pull seatbelt

pull seat belt over cat carrier                                photo by shari smith dunaif 2014

cat in cat carrier with towel

Bear in carrier, feeling safe under towel            photo by shari smith dunaif 2014






I always place towels in carrier, so cats can wrap it around themselves and feel secure, and/or pee…

cat carrier inside car  with seatbelt

cat carrier inside car with seatbelt                      photo by shari smith dunaif 2014




but remember, they’re not secure inside cat carrier, so drive especially carefully