Fly Safely With Cats

Website offers tips for holiday air travel with pets.

If your holiday plans call for air travel, and you can’t bear to leave your cats behind, consider these tips from before you board a plane. With careful planning and a few precautions, you and your cats can safely fly during the holidays.

The travel agents at recommend that you consult your vet before bringing your cat along on a trip. If your veterinarian gives your cat the green light for air travel, follow these steps to ensure the journey is as stress-free as possible for both of you.

  • Research airline policies about flying with pets. Whenever possible, try to book a flight that allows you to bring your cat in the cabin with you.
  • Book a direct flight, and always travel on the same flight as your pet.
  • When you board the plane, notify the flight crew that your cat is traveling with you.
  • Make sure your cat is outfitted with identification that includes your permanent address and the contact information of your travel destination.
  • Write your contact information on a label affixed to the outside of your cat’s carrier.
  • Make sure your cat’s nails have been clipped so they won’t catch in the carrier’s door, holes or other crevices.
  • In the weeks leading up to your trip, allow your cat to become accustomed to the carrier.
  • Do not give your cat tranquilizers before the trip unless they are prescribed by your veterinarian.
  • Avoid giving your cat food or water for 4 to 6 hours before your flight.
  • If possible, try not to fly with your cat during the busiest travel times.
  • When you arrive at your destination, open the carrier as soon as you are in a safe place, and examine your cat. If anything seems wrong, take your pet to the veterinarian immediately.
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