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What Airlines Allow Cats on Them? The Essentials When Travelling

Written by: Christian Adams

Last Updated on January 4, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

cat on board of airplane

What Airlines Allow Cats on Them? The Essentials When Travelling

Traveling with your cat on a plane for the first time can be really nerve-inducing. Will the cat be safe? Will it be scared to stay in the cage that entire time? Some Airlines have better pet policies than others when it comes to travel. And it’s best to do a bit of research before deciding to travel with your furry friend, if not for your own personal comfort, definitely for your cat’s.

Keep in mind there are a lot of things to consider when traveling with your cat, such as travel supplies, fly time, food, and bathroom use. So, to help you in your search for the best airline for your feline friend, we’ve gathered a list of airlines that allow you to travel with cats.

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Which Airlines Allow Cats?

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

The following is a list of airlines that allow you to bring your cats on them. However, the rules for each airline vary so it’s best to reach out to the airline personally or visit the website to get their entire policy.

  • American Airlines
  • Delta Airlines
  • Southwest Airlines
  • United Airlines
  • Frontier Airlines
  • JetBlue
  • Air France
  • Lufthansa Airlines
  • Japan Airlines
  • Air Canada
  • TAP Air Portugal
  • Aeroflot
  • SAS
  • OpenSkies
  • Iberia
  • KLM
  • CopaAirlines
  • Swiss International Airlines
  • Air India
  • Turkish Airlines
  • Aer Lingus
  • Alitalia


The 7 Essential Things to Consider When Traveling with Your Cat

One of the best ways that you can ensure a good travel experience with your cat is to plan ahead. And remember it’s best to travel with pets only when absolutely necessary. Each cat is unique and adapts to the world in a different way, just like humans. So here are a few things to do before you go.

1. Ok It With Your Vet

cat and vet
Image Credit: Stock-Asso, Shutterstock

It never hurts to get an okay from your veterinarian before taking your cat on a plane. This is especially true if your cat is suffering from any current health conditions or is on the older end of the spectrum. In some cases, the vet may recommend against traveling with a cat if he or she believes that it may exacerbate its condition or create an extreme level of discomfort.

2. Food & Drink

Take a little water with you or give your pet an ice cube before takeoff. It’s also best that your cat is well fed the night before, as you may not want a feline to eat in a crate during a 5-hour flight–things can get messy. But many vets recommend against giving pets food before airline travel as it may induce nausea.

It can be helpful to talk to your veterinarian about any medication or advice that may be available for your pet to soothe its nerves if it’s particularly anxious or feisty whenever you travel. You’ll also want to measure out your cat’s food requirements ahead of time and bring enough food and treats for each day that you’re away. And it doesn’t hurt to research a few nearby pet stores in your destination area just in case you run out of your supplies.

3. Take Identification

microchipping cat
Image Credit: LightField Studios, Shutterstock

Make sure your cat has all the necessary identification before you travel. You can purchase an ID tag to attach to your cat’s collar. It will list your home address, cell phone number, and temporary tags with the name and number of the hotel where you’re staying for the trip. You may also want to consider microchipping your cat. Microchipping is safe for cats and can prove very useful for cats that have lost their collars.

4. Gather All Important Documents

Save the medical records of your pet on your phone by taking photos on your smartphone. These documents can be helpful for your vet in the case of an emergency. Some states may require special documentation such as a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection or an Official Health Certificate. This means that a quick visit to the vet might be necessary before you travel around the country.

5. Book a Hotel That’s Pet-Friendly

If you’re not staying in a rented home or with family and friends, be sure to get a pet-friendly hotel. Be aware of any extra fees associated with the pet’s stay and make sure that you communicate that you have a pet cat and not a dog, as rates for dogs may be higher.

Even if your cat has been potty-trained for a while, it may be anxious in an unfamiliar environment and could have an accident. In case of an accident, make sure to have a pee pad or litter box available. It’s better to be safe than pay a large cleaning fee from the hotel.

6. Bring Toys & Accessories

a cat playing with toys
Image Credit: winni-design, Shutterstock

Remember that you don’t want your cat to be bored during travel or when you reach your destination, so bringing toys and accessories is an absolute must. Also, the travel crate for your cat should be well-ventilated and large enough to allow it to stand, sit, lie down, and turn around comfortably. In some cases, you may need to buy a new carrier to meet Airline regulations. Before introducing your pet to a new carrier, make sure you have read the specifications and size guidelines of your airline beforehand.

7. Cabin Travel

With many airlines, a cabin can be rented for small animals of 15-20 pounds or less. However, they can only allow a small number of animals on any given flight. So, make sure to contact the airline immediately to reserve your spot. If you want a less crowded flight, consider choosing a midweek flight if your travel plans are flexible.

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Wrapping Things Up

Before traveling with your cat, it’s best to do a bit of research on the airline and be sure that they have a policy that you’re comfortable with. You also want to ensure that you prepare for the trip by considering any food, medications, supplies, and other things that you may need for your cat either during the flight or while you’re away. Planning ahead can help save you the headache of having to make sudden stops or having to deal with a feisty cat once you’re back home.

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Featured Image credit: Photo Spirit, Shutterstock

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