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Air Travel and Cats

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Yuki

Mommy's- 'Blessing'
 
 
Purred: Sat Nov 2, '13 3:49pm PST 
When it comes to traveling without Yuki, I get really anxious about how he's doing, if he has enough food, etc., so I decided I would bring him with me on my trip home for Thanksgiving. Probably a little selfish on my part, but I really don't want to be without him.

We've gone on car rides together, sometimes in the carrier, sometimes not. I use the same carrier to take him to the vet, to a friend's house, or just for a drive. I read that you should have a separate carrier for traveling. Should I still get a different one even though the other one is multipurpose?

I'm mostly worried about how he will handle the airport and the airplane. He is quite the little talker and has no problem letting me know that he doesn't want to be in a carrier any longer. I don't want him to meow the whole trip and bother anyone or lose his voice. I'm also scared that he will void his bowels or vomit during the trip. I plan on having a blanket in the carrier to make it softer and getting a second one in case he makes a mess. I'll be working for most of the day of the flight and won't be able to take away his food and water until about 2 hours before the flight. Should I just put out less food and water than I normally do that morning? Do the altitude changes cause them any pain or distress? Is this going to traumatize him at all?

I'm just really worried about how it's going to affect him. I mean, he's like my child. laugh out loud Can you tell I'm a first-time pet owner? laugh out loud
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Mordred,PAWS

No Not-Moms!!!!
 
 
Purred: Sun Nov 3, '13 10:52am PST 
You ARE taking him with you in the cabin? Do NOT *ever* fly him in cargo! The stores are horrific. Go to Facebook and look up "Where Is Jack the Cat?" Jack's carrier was improperly stacked on a luggage cart, fell off, and broke open. Jack escaped and was not found until the 61st day (yes, the 61st!) when he fell out of the ceiling in an airport building. The airline and the airport were NOT fully cooperative in letting people search for Jack; the searchers asked for permission to search the upper areas and were denied. They might have found Jack in time. He spent several days in ICU but had to be let go because his body had suffered too much trauma.

Assuming you are taking your beloved child in the cabin with you, check with the airline you'll be using; they have restrictions on pets in the cabin. They must be able to fit under the seat; at least one airline (maybe more, maybe all) have weight restrictions even on cats - which is why Jack was forced to fly in cargo. Also make sure you have complete health records with you. Visit the airline website; they will give you all the details but do NOT believe what they say about the care they give your precious one! Just yesterday, I read on FB about a Neapolitan Mastiff (huge dog) whose 'dad' flew on an airline that *promised* the dog would travel in a climate-controlled air-conditioned compartment and would always be in AC. (This was in Texas.) The dog's body arrived - deceased - and his dad learned too late that his precious one had been left ON THE TARMAC and had never been in AC!

If this scares some readers - good! All of us need to be aware that airlines bear almost no responsibility for the care of pets traveling in cargo! You should be ok with him in the cabin, but again - check the airline website for details.

I admire your love and your determination to have your friend with you, and I surely wish you all the best - and that you'll have a truly happy Thanksgiving with your family!
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Yuki

Mommy's- 'Blessing'
 
 
Purred: Sun Nov 3, '13 5:34pm PST 
Thank you for your concern. He will be in the cabin with me. I have already spoken to the airline about it. He will be in there with me no matter what as he is also an emotional support animal.

Is anyone else able to answer my questions? How did your cats handle traveling by airplane? Aside from the airline regulations and rules, is there anything else I should be aware of?
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Ben

I fetch,- therefore I am.

moderator
 
 
Purred: Mon Nov 4, '13 10:15am PST 
Well, I don't have any direct experience in flying my own cats, but I used to work in the airlines so maybe I can offer some help.

I'm sure you have already checked out the regulations and know that you'll need a vaccination record and a certificate of health from your vet. Since you'll be talking to or visiting your vet anyway, ask about a mild sedative for the trip. A lot of vets actually don't advise using tranquilizers for traveling, but you and your vet know your kitty and his needs better than anyone.

As far as relieving himself or throwing up, most kitties are too scared during the trip, though you might want to line his carrier with a few layers of disposable puppy training pads just in case. I do agree that taking his food and water away a few hours before the leaving would be a good idea. If he has a tendency to get motion sickness, you can also talk to the vet about an anti-nausea medicine.

You can look into some OTC products as well. Feliway (or Comfort Zone with Feliway) is a product that mimics a cat's facial "happy" pheromones and can relieve stress. It comes in spray and wipe form that can be applied to the inside of the carrier. We've also used Bach's Rescue Remedy for stressful situations, it can also be applied to the inside of the carrier. There are actually quite a few calming products available, maybe some of the other members here can advise you on the other ones.

As long as your carrier is FAA approved, I don't see any need for a different carrier. I'd think that one that's familiar to him would be more comfortable, anyway?

One question: are you taking a direct flight or do you have to make any connections? If you're connecting, you might want to plan in advance in case you get stranded anywhere overnight. Pack some supplies in your carry-on: a little food, a couple of disposable bowls for food and water, a baggy of litter and something lightweight that can serve as a temporary litter box (they do make disposable cardboard litter boxes or rigid liners that would work, but I suppose any small, shallow box would probably work well enough in a pinch).

That's all I can think of for now...if I think of anything more, I'll add it!

Good luck to you and Yuki!

hug