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Old April 22nd 06, 09:55 PM posted to
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Default Advice solicited about flying with cat

"Charlie Wilkes" wrote in message
I am flying down to Phoenix on 4/30. I plan to rent a car and drive
to SW New Mexico where I have a travel trailer.

My plan at this time is to take Tweaker along, although my tenants
have offered to take him in my absence. My experience so far has been
that he doesn't mind travel at all, doesn't protest over being dropped
into the carrier and hauled around, and actually seems to enjoy it. I
also tend to think he is more "bonded" to me than to any given place.

I assume I can take him on the plane as a carry-on, and I plan to
check all that out with the airline, find out what vetting is required
etc. But has anyone in the group actually had experience with flying
aboard an airliner with a cat? I'm wondering how that will go.

Comments sought.


I have flown many times with my cats, although it was some years ago.
First, check well in advance to make sure cats are permitted in the cabin of
the airline you plan to use. *Only a few* airlines permit it, and I would
*never* put my cats in baggage (which is what most require). Once you
settle on the airline, be sure to make reservations well in advance and
*make sure* the cat is included. Your cat will take the place of your
carry-on luggage but will actually be charged as "excess baggage" (of all
things!!), and airlines will have a limit -- it used to be one small pet per
cabin, so it is even more important to have those advance reservations for
Tweaker than for you. You will be required to keep Tweaker in the carrier
*at all times.* To me, that's only common sense, but there have been
problems with some passengers who have taken their pets out during the trip.

My cats always traveled very well. The only time they would become upset or
cry was when I would make a quick trip to the restroom. They were fine as
long as I was in my seat. Whichever cat I was traveling with could look up
and see me because the carrier would be placed under the seat in front of
me. Most of the time, my cat would actually curl up and fall aleep. (At
that time, I only had one cat at a time, but I traveled with several
different cats over the years).

Be sure to ask for the *exact dimensions* under the seat, and make sure your
carrier will fit within those specifications. The aisle seat is usually
smaller because of a bar that extends down, so use those dimensions. That
way, you won't have a problem if seat assignments change. I really
preferred the aisle seat because I could easily slide the carrier into that
space without tilting the carrier (and possibly distressing my cat).
Incidentally, I used those "stewardess wheels" type of carts in the airport
so I could easily pull the carrier behind me. If you do that, look for the
ones with large wheels -- the ride for your cat will not be as loud or
"bumpy" as with small wheels.

I only used a cat tranquilizer the first time I took a trip. My poor cat
was so sick afterwards that I vowed never to do that again. So, I never
again used one of those tranquilizers -- and I found that it wasn't needed.
However, be sure to take a couple of cans of canned cat food (the type with
pull-up rings to open so you won't need a can opener) and a small bowl in
the cabin. That way, you will have food for Tweaker even if something
happens to your checked luggage. However, don't open the carrier and try to
give food or water to Tweaker until you are off the plane. He probably
would not eat it, anyway. My cats will not even eat in the car. They
always wait until I reach a motel.

Do not give Tweaker food or water for several hours before you depart. That
cuts down on the possibility of air sickness or need for a litter box.
Also, have a harness *already on* Tweaker before you get to the gate where
security checks are done because you may be required to take him out of the
box before going through security. In fact, *insist* on it if they want the
carrier to go through the checkpoint with luggage. When I was traveling,
guards would sometimes let me just hand the carrier to a security agent and
they would hand carry it, but that type of security may have tightened-up
since then (and I would not want my cat to go through the X-Ray with
carry-on luggage, even if the guard tried to assure me that there would be
"no danger").

I hope this helps. It is rather long and rambly, but I have been trying to
think back through some of the steps I went through when I was traveling. I
now have two cats (Holly and Duffy) so I leave them in the house together
when I travel (generally just once a year), and I have a great pet sitter
who comes in twice a day to care for them.

Photos of Duffy and Holly: 'o'
Duffy and Holly together:
Recent pics: