5 Best Tips for Stress-free Flying with Cats
If you're among the lucky few who get to travel with your furry friend by your side, congratulations! You're in for a treat.
Flying with your cat can be a bit tricky, but it's definitely doable with a little bit of preparation before hitting the skies.
So whether you're traveling across the country, just taking a short flight to visit family, or preparing for an international move with a pet,here are our top five tips on how to fly with a cat for stress-free plane travel with your cat.
1. Check with your airline to see if they allow flying with cats
The first question when planning plane travel with your cat is whether or not your airline will accommodate pets.
Each airline has their own policies when it comes to flying with animals, so it's important to know which carrier allows for pets, especially if you have an exotic or large cat. . Some airlines may only allow certain breeds of cats on board, while others may have weight restrictions or require that your cat is in a carrier that fits under the seat in front of you. Luckily, on Avvinue’s pet travel booking platform, you just have to add your pet details and you’ll immediately know which flights you can book with your cat
If an airline does not allow your cat to fly in the cabin, you will need to make arrangements for your cat to travel as cargo. But don’t worry, Avvinue also caters for travels in cargo, so our pet-parent team can assist.
No more sifting through hundreds of different airline policies – now you can actually search, compare, and book pet travel all in one place.
2. Get a health certificate from your veterinarian
Most airlines will require a health certificate from your veterinarian in order to fly with your cat. This certificate should be obtained no more than 10 days before your scheduled flight and will need to state that your cat is healthy and fit to travel. If you are traveling internationally out of the US, then a USDA-approved veterinarian will need to issue the health certificate at least 10 business days before so that you receive the stamped health certificate in time for your travels.
You'll also want to bring along any documents or medical records that show your cat is up to date on their shots and vaccinations. You will likely need to provide proof of rabies vaccination, as this is required by most airlines.
These documents will be required when you check-in for your flight, so be sure to keep them in a safe and easily accessible place when you arrive at the airport.
3. Choose the right cat travel carrier
When flying with a cat, you will need to use an airline-approved pet carrier. And as each airline requirements are different for traveling in cabin, you’ll need to ensure that your carrier meets those measurement requirements.
Your cat will need to travel in an approved carrier while flying, and it's important to choose one that is the right size and has enough ventilation.
The carrier should be large enough for your cat to stand up and move around in, but small enough to fit under the seat in front of you. It's also a good idea to line the carrier with a pet pee pad in case any accidents occur during travel. As there is a weight limit, which some airlines and airports do, you’ll want to make sure the carrier doesn't have any additional items in it that cause it to outweigh the limit.
Whether you’ve traveled with your cat before, it’s always good to get your cat re-acquainted with the carrier before the day of your flight. This will help reduce any stress or anxiety your cat may feel while at the airport or while flying.
Practice putting your cat in the carrier and taking her out again at home, so she is familiar with the process and knows that it's not something to be afraid of.
4. Book a window seat for your cat to look out and explore
Cats are naturally curious creatures, and flying can be a very new and interesting experience for them. To help ease their anxiety, it's a good idea to book a window seat so as to avoid the commotion that happens near the aisles.
The key to flying with cats is to try to keep them as calm as possible. Cats can sense our anxiety and stress, so it's important to remain calm and relaxed during the flight. If your cat starts to get agitated, try petting and soothing her until she calms down.
Most importantly, relax and be prepared. Cats are very intuitive creatures and they can sense our emotions. If we remain calm, they will likely stay calm as well.
5. Be prepared for some noise and motion sickness
It's very common for cats to get sick during take-off and landing. The changes in pressure can cause their stomachs to become upset and they may start to experience nausea.
To help ease their discomfort, it's a good idea to feed them a small meal before flying and avoid giving them too much water during the flight; however, always keep your cat hydrated. This will help keep their stomachs settled and reduce the risk of vomiting.
It’s quite normal for a pet to feel nausea during take-off or landing, so it’s wise to pack some pet cleaning wipes in case of any mess.
Flying with cats doesn't have to be stressful! A bit of planning and preparation will go a long way in making sure both you and your cat have a safe and enjoyable flight. When you book your pet-friendly flight on Avvinue, you’ll get dedicated guidance on tips to prepare for your flight, so you know you have a community of pet parents here to assist. Bon voyage!