How do I fly with my kitties?

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I own this- house!
Purred: Tue Nov 20, '07 10:40pm PST 
My two female cats, Lola and Janie Jo have been under "foster care" with my brother in Oregon, but I am finally in a position to go get them and bring them home to Texas. I have never flown on an airplane with animals so I was wondering if someone could give me the 4-1-1 on doing it in the most efficient way while providing the least amount of stress for my kitties. I realize it is still too cold yet to bring them right away, it would be in the spring or summer.

What documentation do I need?
Would I have to have a passenger with me to let each cat fly as a "carry-on?"
Can I sedate them?
Is it insanely expensive?

Thanks for any help!


Purred: Thu Nov 22, '07 5:24pm PST 
My kitty Hannibal is originally from the island of St. Kitts where I lived for a while.
When we would fly back and forth I flew him in an airline approved soft sided carrier and put him under the seat. Since we were going "international" we had to have proof of rabies vaccine and a health certificate for all other shots. I think it cost $50 to fly him each way and I did have to notify the airline at the time of my flight booking that I would have an cat in a carrier. I did not sedate him, I took a chance that he would be good and he was but he is not a nervous cat at all. He was exposed to a lot as a young cat and was scared of very little. Other then a little meowing he was great but I think it all depends on your cat. As for flying 2, I am not sure but you may have to have 2 people ( 1 cat per person). First, I would call the airline to find out what you have to do to fly a pet, next I would call you vet to find out what you need to provide for your cats to show they have proper vaccination, etc. If your cats are at all nervous about things, I would talk with your vet about sedation
Oh, and as long as they are in the cabin with you, the temperature should not matter, just be sure they have warm blankets in the carrier with them. Be sure to check them every 1/2 hour or so in the carrier to make sure they are ok and be sure they have identifying info on them in case they get out. Some states require a microchip, for others a collar ( cat safe) with tags is good enough.

edited for spelling
Good Luck

Edited by author Thu Nov 22, '07 5:26pm PST



"But I... but- I... but I am- the QUEEN!"
Purred: Sun Dec 2, '07 4:34pm PST 
Since you're flying within the US, chances are it's going to be pretty easy. You should put them separately in large plastic carriers, not cloth ones. They wont be kept with luggage but more likely someplace near the kitchen. I would recommend having them mildly sedated shortly before take-off. But they should travel just fine. My human has had several air trips with his cat owners before me, and they all took to it just fine.

Of course, were I to do something like this, it would have to be someplace with fabulous shopping... like... oh, I dont know, Paris comes to mind.

Mysty (The- Princess)

Lay still! I'm- grooming you!
Purred: Sun Dec 2, '07 4:39pm PST 
You need to go to the airline's web site and there will be info on what to do and all the rules. It was $65-$80 last time I checked depending on the airline, and I am not sure about the number of animals. You do have to have an airline approved carrier, and it goes under the seat. Some have rules regarding where you are taking them (hot climate to cold), and some states require proof of rabies shots before you can bring an animal in. I'd start looking into it now, so you are prepared.


I need my Teddy- Bear
Purred: Mon Dec 3, '07 12:25pm PST 
I have flown with Lilly a couple of times. You need to have a health certificate (which they don't always check...I usually don't have one, because it's expensive and they've never checked itshh) Also, depending on the passengers and flight attendents will depend on how "smooth" the flight is. Almost every flight for me has been smooth, one flight, as soon as one person found out I had a cat in the carrier, 2 more flipped out like there was no tomorrow! Even the flight attendant became VERY rude to me like I wasn't allowed on the plane! I bought a ticket for her, I have just as much right to sit where I want! They moved me to the very back of the plane like I had a disease!!! I went from row 1 to row 30!!!! I was very upset on how they can just embarress and treat someone!! But other than that, you should be ok, just don't tell many people and don't make a big fuss on the plane with them. GOOD LUCK!!! wishes


I own this- house!
Purred: Tue Dec 4, '07 9:32pm PST 
Thanks so much for all of your suggestions and help! I feel pretty prepared now thanks to all of you!

Uncle Stosh- (In Loving- Memory)

Purred: Wed Jan 9, '08 7:05am PST 
Please consider driving instead. Despite sedation, the airport may frighten the cat: relentless loud noises, riding a baggage cart on the tarmac, smell of jet fuel, less-than-gentle treatment, and separation from the owner. Also, possible ear discomfort from change in altitude.
I think it's better to be close to the cat in the car for a longer ride, instead of a short flight which maybe very traumatic.
Either way, good luck. Be sure to ask the vet about mild sedatives.

Beatrice- (Miss You!- '94-'12)

The very Beast- of all

Purred: Wed Jan 9, '08 5:51pm PST 
For domestic flights, most airlines will allow one pet in a carry-on approved carrier per human passenger. It depends on the airline what the fee charged will be, but they all will require a recent health certificate from your vet.

If you are going to be transporting both of them by yourself , you may be required to check one she will have to travel in the luggage compartment since there is only room for one under the seat in front of you. In that case, she will need a larger, hard-sided carrier with adequate ventilation as well as food and water and instructions on care in case of irregular operations.

Some airplanes lack pressurized luggage compartments, and if that is the case, pets can't be checked for the flight and must be carried on. As far as I know, though, the one carry-on pet per passenger would still apply. It would depend on the airline if or how they might be able to accommodate another pet. They may want you to purchase a second seat.

Many airlines also place restrictions on the number of pets that they will accept per flight, either checked or carry-on. You want to make sure to let them know about your pets when you make your reservation to make sure it doesn't conflict with other passengers who are bringing pets.

Remember that if you're on a connecting flight, there is always the possibility that you could miss your connection or it could be canceled, leaving you stranded in the airline's hub for a longer than expected amount of time. Make sure to bring emergency supplies, such as a day's supply of dry food, a bowl for water, and a small bag of litter with something that can be used as an impromptu litter box, such as a large shoe-box lid.

There is some very good advice on the ASPCA website:

I tend to agree with Uncle Stosh that if driving is possibility, you should consider it. It could save a lot of stress on them, as well as expense for you. Do you think your brother might consider meeting you halfway?


Purred: Fri Feb 22, '08 1:21am PST 
I am going to fly in a "Sturdibag". They are made for traveling by air in a cabin. www.sturdiproducts.com. Expensive but I think it is worth it.

My mommy has been reading "Kittens for Dummies" and it suggests Bach Flower Essence, Rock Water or Rescue Remedy which calms kittens. The other thing to put in my carrier is Feliway which is a calming spray.

Hope your trip goes well!