Q: I am thinking of taking my cat on a plane with me. Any advice?
A: Flying these days is very stressful for people, let alone our cats. I suggest that if you are going away for less than two weeks, it is best to leave your cat at home and have a trusted friend or cat sitter care for her. I have a client who is in Manhattan during the spring and summer and goes to Florida from December to March every year. They fly and arrange to bring her two kitties, Kathy and Millie, in the cabin. We call them “snowbirds” but I laugh when I think how Kathy and Millie feel about that!
If you are going to fly with a cat and have her in the cabin where you can safely keep an eye on your cat, you’ll need to do your homework. Not all airlines allow cats to fly with you, so call around and see what their requirements are. They will have a cat carrier size restrictions and I believe the carrier must be able to fit under the seat in front of you. In this case, a soft-sided Sherpa-style cat carrier with mesh for ventilation and visibility is a good choice.
Get your cat’s vaccinations up to date and get a cat health certificate from your cat vet; your airline will probably require it. You can also ask your cat vet about tranquilizers, although some cats react poorly to them. Allowing your presence and soothing voice to calm them down could work best. Keep your cats’ favorite cat food treats on hand.
Above all, you are the best judge of your cat’s personality — is your cat suited to the rigors of air travel? A nervous Nellie is probably not the best cat candidate. I know you will make the right decision and enjoy your trip. As always I welcome your questions and comments!
Readers: I will release my first cat book, Cat Calls, with co-author CAT FANCY editor Susan Logan in September 2011. Stay tuned to CatChannel.com for details! Also, visit my website for more advice and follow me on Twitter where I provide a daily cat tip.