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Can a Cat Go to the Bathroom on a Plane? Pre-Flight Tips

Written by: Christian Adams

Last Updated on June 18, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

cat on board of airplane

Can a Cat Go to the Bathroom on a Plane? Pre-Flight Tips

When planning an extended trip away from home that involves flying with your cat, there are a few key things to remember. Successfully flying with your cat starts long before the day you leave. Why? Because you must plan and prepare ahead of time to make the experience as good as possible for both you and your beloved feline!

If you’re wondering if your cat can go to the bathroom when on a plane, you should know that your cat can indeed do his business while on a plane. You simply have to add an absorbent pee pad to his carrier so he can relieve himself when needed.

If your cat will be kept under your seat in the plane’s cabin, be sure to pack a pair or two of disposable gloves you can wear to clean up the mess when he’s done. Otherwise, if he’s in the plane’s cargo section, he’ll have to put up with a soiled pad until you’re reunited with your pet.

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Things to Do Pre-Flight to Ensure All Goes Well With the Trip

Below, we’ll discuss how to prepare for the flight to ensure that the trip goes as planned.

Get a Good Airline-Approved Carrier

If you already have a cat carrier, get it out and clean it up a bit if it’s been put away for a long time. If you must buy a new carrier, make sure the size you buy is in compliance with the airline you’ll be using.

A suitable airline-approved cat carrier will have plenty of ventilation to ensure optimal airflow for your cat. It should also include a collapsible bowl for water, a safety buckle to prevent an escape, a shoulder strap for your convenience, and zippered openings for easy access. If you own an older carrier that doesn’t have these basic features, buy a new one that you know will make things easier for you and your cat.

cat in cat carrier
Image Credit: SpeedKingz, Shutterstock

Put the Carrier Out for Your Cat to Use at Home

Well before your flight, put the carrier out in your home with your cat’s favorite snuggle items inside and a few treats so he feels safe and comfortable spending time inside it.

The goal is to make your cat associate the carrier with a positive experience. This will reduce the chances of your cat howling through the entire flight, which will surely upset you and those seated near you! So, it’s a good idea to introduce your cat to the carrier at least 2 weeks before your flight.

Visit Your Vet

Most airlines require a valid health certificate for travel filled out by a veterinarian. Schedule an appointment with your vet a week or so before your travel date for a checkup. While at the vet, ask for a copy of your cat’s vaccination proof you may need to show the airline upon checking in.

cat and owner and vet
Image Credit: Stock-Asso, Shutterstock

Get Your Cat Microchipped

If your cat is not microchipped, now’s a good time to do it. When your cat is implanted with a microchip, it can drastically improve your chances of getting him back if he becomes lost. Your vet can implant the microchip during the health check.

Do Some Harness Training

Because your cat carrier has to pass through the security screening X-ray, your cat must be taken out of the carrier. Buy a cat harness that fits your cat snugly so he can’t escape when removed from the carrier.

If your cat isn’t used to a harness, put it on him at home so he can get used to wearing it. Do this daily for at least a week before your trip so your cat doesn’t freak out on the day of your flight over wearing a harness he’s not used to.

Are you looking for the perfect cat harness? We suggest Hepper's Cat Harness & Leash Set, which includes a nicely designed, machine-washable harness made from soft, sturdy velvet and mesh.

Hepper Cat Harness and Leash Escape Proof Set -...
  • Escape Proof - Cat leashes and harnesses for walking aren't all equally secure. Our double aluminium...
  • Superior Comfort - Our cat harnesses are lightweight, made with premium velvet fabric, breathable...
  • Free Extra Strength Leash - You don't need to worry about your cat escaping this harness. This cat...

This harness is easy to put on and take off and features reinforced stitching, reflective stripes, and quick-release buckles. This set also includes a great leash made from durable nylon climbing rope.

At Catster, we’ve admired Hepper for many years and decided to take a controlling ownership interest so that we could benefit from the outstanding designs of this cool cat company!

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Now that you know your cat can relieve himself while traveling on a plane, you should feel more at ease about your upcoming trip. Before taking to the skies with your feline companion, go through the to-do list above to ensure all your bases are covered.

While airline travel isn’t ideal for a cat, sometimes it’s the best way to go if you travel a long distance. Do whatever it takes to make the trip as comfortable as possible for your kitty, and work out all the kinks before taking off.

Featured Image Credit By: Photo Spirit, Shutterstock

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