Catster is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

How Much Will It Cost to Ship My Cat? (2024 Update)

Written by: Christian Adams

Last Updated on April 11, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

cat in cat carrier

How Much Will It Cost to Ship My Cat? (2024 Update)

When planning to move to a new distant town or getting a cat home from a breeder or rescue in another state, shipping your cat may be the only way to go. You have a few choices when it comes to shipping a cat since it can be done via air, land, or a pet shipping company. In most of these cases, you’ll need to find someone to either transport your cat to the airport or pick your pet up at a specific location.

Depending on what way you decide to go, shipping a cat can cost anywhere from a hundred dollars to thousands. Continue reading to learn more about shipping costs for a cat, as well as some other pertinent information on the topic.

3 cat face divider

The Importance of Shipping Your Cat Safely

cat in plastic pet carrier
Image Credit: Africa Studio, Shutterstock

The entire process of shipping your cat must go as smoothly as possible from the minute you drop your cat off until they’re picked up at the end of the journey. It’s perfectly natural to feel anxious about shipping your cat because you certainly want the trip to go quickly, comfortably, and as stress-free as possible.

The key to making the whole shipping process unfold is to plan ahead. You should make sure you have plenty of food and water on hand, some pee pads for your cat, and all the paperwork required for the trip.

It’s a good idea to have your cat checked over by a veterinarian to ensure they’re up for the trip. Inform the vet that your cat is about to embark on a big journey and ask for travel tips.

Your vet may suggest following a specific diet before the trip to ensure your cat doesn’t get an upset stomach while traveling. It’s also possible that your vet may prescribe a sedative or suggest you use a calming spray to help your cat cope with the travel.

While you’re at the vet, ask for a pet health certificate that may be needed to ship your cat across state lines. This certificate indicates that your cat is fit for travel and shows no signs of diseases that can be passed on to other animals or people.

How Much Does Shipping a Cat Cost?

As stated earlier, the cost you’ll have to pay for transporting your cat will vary depending on the mode of transportation you decide to use. The cost will also vary according to how long the trip will be and the length of time it will take for your cat to arrive at your destination of choice. Below, we’ll break down the different modes of transportation you can choose from and the cost associated with each.

All the cost estimates below are based on domestic shipping in the continental US. Naturally, the costs are much higher to ship a cat internationally, plus the whole process is more complicated.

Shipping Your Cat by Air

cat inside carrier beside luggage
Image Credit: Monika-Wisniewska, Shutterstock

Most of the major airlines have similar pet transportation policies and costs. Cats are welcome onboard most airlines and can be transported in an airline-approved cat carrier that fits under the seat in the cabin. This is a more affordable option for shipping a cat via an airline, but you may have to pay someone to travel with your cat. Flying with a cat in the passenger area of a plane costs anywhere from $60–$150, depending on the airline you use. However, you’ll also have to pay for an airline ticket.

The more expensive option is shipping your cat in the plane’s cargo area. Depending on your airline, the cost can be anywhere from $200–$300. On top of that, you may also have to hire someone to pick your cat up at the airport at the final destination.

Shipping Your Cat by Ground

Nowadays, it’s easy to find companies in the United States that provide ground transportation services for pets like dogs and cats. They are typically transported in a climate-controlled vehicle to ensure the animals are comfortable during transport.

It can cost as little as $1,000 for a shorter day trip and as much as $6,000 for a cross-country journey.  If you choose ground transportation for a cross-country trip for your cat, you may be charged extra for a few overnight stays in pet hotels.

While ground transportation isn’t the cheapest option, it is a viable choice if you can’t find anyone to fly with your cat or simply don’t want your cat traveling on a jet. The price of ground transportation can vary depending on the fuel costs, the distance of the trip, and administration fees.

Additional Costs to Anticipate

cat examined by Vets
Image By: Kzenon, Shutterstock

It costs around $100 to pay for a vet checkup and a cat health certificate. If you don’t have a cat carrier, you’ll pay around $40 for a new one, and disposable pee pads cost about $17 for a pack of 20. If you must hire someone to travel with your cat or pick them up from their final destination, plan on spending at least $100, depending on your demands.

How Far Can a Cat Be Shipped?

You want to get your cat from point A to point B as quickly and comfortably as possible. If you are shipping your cat by air, most airlines put a cap on how long pets can travel on their flights, which is around 12 hours.

If you will be using ground transport, you’ll have to work directly with the company you choose to ensure your cat makes it to your destination as quickly and comfortably as possible. If you are transporting your cat by ground across the country, use a roomy and comfy pet carrier with plenty of food, treats, and pee pads.

Does Pet Insurance Cover Cat Shipments?

cat in cat carrier
Image By: zossia, Shutterstock

Most pet insurance companies don’t provide coverage for cat shipments in their policies. However, if you’re using a pet transportation service that transports cats via vans or pet taxis, the company will likely offer some travel insurance that can cost $100–$200 per trip.

Even if that amount seems high, it’s worth it as you’ll have insurance in case something happens. Some issues that could occur with a cat during travel include unexpected injuries, heat stroke, hypothermia, and motion sickness. If you have trip insurance coverage for your cat, the costs associated with treating your pet will be covered in full.

What to Do to Make the Trip Comfortable for Your Cat

Cats don’t like to travel, unlike dogs that usually love it, and your cat is likely to feel stress during the upcoming trip. On top of buying a comfortable carrier to use, also make sure your cat has their favorite food along on the trip, special treats they love, and a favorite toy or blanket they like to cuddle with.

Don’t neglect to take your cat to the vet for a checkup and health certificate. Even if you think your cat is healthy and fit for travel, they may be suffering from something that you can’t see, such as a urinary tract problem that makes it hard to pee.

cat paw divider


Even though cats aren’t fond of travel, sometimes you are left with no options other than shipping your cat from one location to another. While it’s expensive to ship a cat by airline or ground transportation, it’s a cost you’ll have to incur, so plan ahead and do some budgeting! If all goes as planned, your beloved cat will travel like a pro and do just fine when they arrive at the final destination!

Related Read: 

Featured Image Credit: SpeedKingz, Shutterstock

Get Catster in your inbox!

Stay informed! Get tips and exclusive deals.
Catster Editors Choice Badge
Shopping Cart


© Pangolia Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved.