Some of you might already know that Soda and I recently moved to Washington, D.C. I decided to write about my plane experience because daddy didn’t have a lot of information about how to take a cat on a plane. I think I should write my experience so you know what to expect if you have to take your cat on a plane.
I am a California boy. I was born on a farm in the Bay Area. The farm owner gave us to the ASPCA of San Francisco. I met Soda at the ASPCA and soon after that we found ourselves as The Last Kitty from both our litters. Luckily, daddy found us and wanted to take both of us home. Growing up in San Francisco was very fun. No, I’ve never been on a cable car, and I didn’t want to! I’ve never thought about moving to somewhere else, but daddy told us it’s time to move and we will see Our First Snow!
After researching, daddy found that the safest way to take a cat on a plane is to take them in the cabin. Many dogs, especially larger ones, can travel in the cargo area. It is pressurized, but they are alone and many are scared and don’t know what is happening. While cats in theory could travel in the cargo area, many vets and even the airlines discourage it.
Once you decide to take your cat in the cabin, you will need to research airlines and carrier requirements. Each airline has different rules and size limits. Some airlines like United have a special 800 number to book travel with your pet. Most airlines require proof of your pet to have all their required shots and to be healthy. While our airline didn’t ask to see it, we went to the vet to get the health certificates just in case. Many airlines require the certificate to be dated NOT more than 10 days prior to travel. Also, when you get the carrier, set them up in the room for a couple weeks, and put some toys and snacks in the carrier so your cat will investigate and get used to the carrier.
The next issue is there is a limit about the pet’s weight that is allowed in the cabin. Our airlines had a limit of 16 pounds, and luckily, I weighed exactly 16 pounds! So, I was allowed in the cabin! (I think I still need to lose a pound or two though my furry friends).
Next, you will need to put your cat in a carrier. There are size limit, each airline is slightly different, and each type of aircraft is different. I recommend a soft sided carrier. This is where calling the pet line for your airline is important. They can help you pick a seat your cat carrier will fit under depending on your flight and type of aircraft on the flight. And, if you are traveling with more than one pet, please know that each passenger is only allowed to take ONE pet per passenger. So, if you are taking two pets, you will need two travelers! We also learned that each flight is only allowed a maximum of 4 pets on a flight. So my friends, book early and don’t just show up at the airport and expect your pet to get on board with you! And of course, there are additional fees for each pet. Ours was $125 per pet.
Now that all of that is settled, the next fun time my furry friends is to get to the airport with your cat and get through security! When you get to the security checkpoint at the airport, ask for a private screening ROOM for you and your pet. You still have to go through the normal security process with your carry-on luggage, and then you will get escorted to a private room with a door. Agents will get us out of our carriers and examine us with you in the room. At least with the door we can’t get out and run because we are scared. When we were in the room, the agents were very nice to Soda and I! We were scared to death, but they were really kind. Oh, and daddy did get some Xanax from the vet for us, so we were a bit more calm then normal. I think daddy got some too, but not from the vet!
So, after sleeping for 6 hours from the pill that daddy got from the vet, daddy woke us up and let us get out of our carriers once we got to our new house. Well, my friends, I had a little accident. I walked right into the new bathroom and peed all over the new rug! Take that daddy! Oops! Sorry that I couldn’t make it to the litter box in the other room. Soda, always the lady, did manage to make it to the litter box. Good girl! At least I didn’t go #2!
I hope our experience gives you some good information in case you need to take your cat on a plane. It was not ideal, but also not so bad (at least medicated.) Do I want to go on another plane ride? NO! But, if I have to, I know I’ll be safe in the cabin.