Flying with a cat

Old Sep 22nd, 2020, 03:50 PM
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Flying with a cat

If you have personal experience flying with a cat in its carrier in the cabin of an airplane, Iíd love to hear about your experience.

we are taking our cat on to Tucson from MA, one stop. Our vet, whom I trust, is suggesting s low dose of Gabapentin, with a trial at home a week before.

our biggest concern is that we are told we must take her out of her carrier and carry her through TSA, but that this can be done in a small private room. That way if she fights her way out of our arms she will not disappear to someplace in the airport. We are working with her to get used to a soft halter which we can keep hold of.

thanks for any insight you can provide.



Last edited by jubilada; Sep 22nd, 2020 at 03:56 PM.
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Old Sep 22nd, 2020, 04:01 PM
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I flew with my cat back in 1980 from NYC to Buffalo, NY. She was in a small carrier under the seat. I'm not sure who it was more stressful for, me or the cat. She was quiet but in order to go under the seat, the airline (American) made me buy one of their carriers and would not let me use the one my father built for her. It was very small and even though she was a tiny cat, she couldn't stand in it. I felt awful about it but there was no way I was going to put her in the cargo hold. She forgave me eventually and still loved me so it did not leave any lasting effects. It was a short flight, less than 90 minutes. I don't think I would fly with a cat if it was not a short non-stop flight. Perhaps they allow bigger carriers in the cabin now so it won't be so stressful on you and the cat. Good luck.

ETA: I gave the same cat a low dose tranquilizer once that I got from the vet, when driving from Buffalo back to NY, right after she was spayed. I hated how it affected her and flushed the rest of the tranquillizers down the toilet when I got to NY. I will never give a cat of mine a tranquilizer again.

Last edited by laurieco; Sep 22nd, 2020 at 04:04 PM.
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Old Sep 22nd, 2020, 04:06 PM
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Sheíll be able to fly in the carrier sheís used to, in which she can stand up and move around and which she sits in voluntarily in our living room sometimes, so thatís a plus i guess.
iím not thrilled about this.

the tranquilizer does worry me. If the trial at home doesnít go well, we wonít use it for the plane, but I hope we can.
thanks, Laurieco
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Old Sep 22nd, 2020, 04:35 PM
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My friend flys with her cat because of her job. In the beginning, it was 2 cats and I do believe she gave them medication from the vet as they had to get shots and stuff. She lives in Europe so very long flights back and forth to the US. The older cat eventually had to go in the cargo hold after the first trip as she was very vocal even with the medication. This cat ended up passing away due to old age before my friend came back to the US for 2 yrs. My friend was dreading the trip back so it was a blessing as it was just too stressful.

The other cat seems to do ok and has lived in Mali, Paris, NJ, Geneva, DC and now Vienna. I don’t know if the cat remembers as she started flying when she was small but does ok with flying. My friend will not do the cargo hold again and will buy a second seat if needed as I think the first cat just had a bad experience. They do allow my friend to go in a separate room for security so that wasn’t an issue.

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Old Sep 22nd, 2020, 05:10 PM
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I like the harness. I did that with mine when moving from De to Fl. I was afraid she would getaway at the rest stop or hotel. TSA, the tricky part but they have to x-ray the carrier. I have flown with dogs but not a cat. I would try the sedative at home but not crazy about it. They make a CBD oil for cat anxiety.
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Old Sep 22nd, 2020, 05:25 PM
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Iíve heard about the CBD oil for a cat. Iíll think about that too.
they donít apparently have to x ray the carrier if they examine it in the smsll room, or thatís what i undetstand.
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Old Sep 22nd, 2020, 05:46 PM
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We gave our very vocal Siamese a tranquilizer from the vet when we were moving, Savannah toTampa and I wouldn’t do it again. If you test it, be sure she is confined to a small area where she can’t jump. We gave it to her a bit before we left, and before we could intervene, she jumped from bed to floor and her legs just gave way on landing. It was awful. She was so confused and we were sick at what we’d done. Like Laurieco, the rest went down the drain.
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Old Sep 22nd, 2020, 06:49 PM
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Judilada, You might look into getting a Thundershirt for your cat. See Thunderworks. The vest has a calming effect on cats and was recommended in a "My Cat from Hell" program.
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Old Sep 22nd, 2020, 08:17 PM
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Have you considered using an animal transport service? I'm sure it's not cheap, but it may be worth it.
E.g.
Animal Transportation - O'Brien Animal Transportation & Services
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Old Sep 22nd, 2020, 08:18 PM
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Moved to the Air Travel forum
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Old Sep 22nd, 2020, 09:09 PM
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Just be absolutely sure they do take you into a closed room and the door is closed and the cat secured before they open the door or cage. An idiot opened the door to the cage of my daughter’s cat at JFK. Four horrible hours later of searching, my daughter captured her cat and later ended up hospitalized from infection from multiple bites from her terrified cat. Use a Strong twisty wire on the cage door so it can’t be quickly opened by an unthinking person.
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Old Sep 23rd, 2020, 05:28 AM
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I moved my cat from Guatemala to Oregon in 2018. I got a Sherpa soft sided cat carrier (American Airlines approved) and only put her into it the morning we left. As soon as we boarded, she went under the seat in front of DD with a blanket over the carrier. She never made a peep the entire time and this was not her first time flying (she came to me from FFL in 2010). Going through security was very easy and the agents were very considerate of Ginger. No drugs, no food. She did have a halter on which made it easier for me to hold her and make sure she didn't try to jump out of my arms. I had a leash for her which I could attach to the halter just in case, but we didn't really need it. So get a carrier approved by the airline, make sure that your cat has a reservation (I think only a certain number of pets are allowed inside the cabin), put the cat under the seat, and relax!
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Old Sep 23rd, 2020, 05:32 AM
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In addition to the sedative, look at your local pet store or on Amazon for a spray called Feliway. I'm currently using the diffuser for my female cat who is very high strung. It is the scent of a lactating mother cat that calms the cat because it reminds them of the carefree days of nursing with their mom. Humans can't really smell it but I can speak from experience that the diffuser works, so I would imagine the spray would. They advertise it as being used before vet visits and car rides. Maybe it will work for your cat.
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Old Sep 23rd, 2020, 08:44 AM
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I have never had the need myself but wanted to wish you the best for this journey. You are already doing the only tip I was coming to suggest... that is having the carrier around the house so she's used to it and doesn't necessarily associate it only with being taken somewhere. suerte!
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Old Sep 23rd, 2020, 10:01 AM
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Feliway also comes in wipes, which are very handy when traveling. We wipe out our cat carriers with one before schlepping the girls to the vet.
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Old Sep 23rd, 2020, 11:24 AM
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My wife is highly allergic to cats and we’ve had more than one trip half ruined with hives/cold symptoms from having to sit near one on the plane. Please consider spending a few dollars on boarding, the service mentioned by Lucie above, or checking the cat into the hold. We put our dog in the hold once so as to not inconvenience others, no problem.
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Old Sep 23rd, 2020, 01:23 PM
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No way would I ever check a cat or dog into the hold of a plane. If they aren't small enough to travel under the seat, I'd figure out another way.
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Old Sep 23rd, 2020, 02:05 PM
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Originally Posted by suze View Post
No way would I ever check a cat or dog into the hold of a plane. If they aren't small enough to travel under the seat, I'd figure out another way.
While I used to feel the same way, suze, I have since met somebody who has been transporting animals for a living for over 30 years. I'd trust her with my pets in a millisecond.
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Old Sep 23rd, 2020, 02:18 PM
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What causes the allergic reaction In people is not the cat or cat fur. It is the dander from the skin, which sticks to the fur and clothing. I once had a friend have a really bad attack at a party where there was no cat. Sadly, I realized that just before leaving my house, I had picked my cat up and snuggled her against my sweater, which was likely covered with dander and exposed my friend when we hugged. Wiping your cat down with a Rough damp wash cloth a few times on the day of travel will prevent most of that. There used to be some nice anti-allergy Cleansers to wipe cats with too. I will see if I can find them. They worked great and were good for the cats. If you can avoid putting any animal in the hold, do so.
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Old Sep 23rd, 2020, 03:14 PM
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LucieV, How does that person transport the cats? I would never, ever put an animal in the hold.
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