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Author Topic: Flying with a cat  (Read 661 times)

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LadyL

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Flying with a cat
« on: June 09, 2015, 08:35:16 AM »
LordL and I are moving cross country in a few weeks and will be taking our cat KittyL on a 6 hour flight. Kitty is currently taking amyltriptyline (a mood regulator) for symptoms of kitty OCD (overgrooming his tummy) and the vet said those meds should help him travel better. But I'm still worried, of course  ::). We have researched all the airline guidelines and have the regulation carrier that will go under the seat in front of us. We also bought absorbent pads in case of any accidents (though we will stop feeding him 8 hours before to ward this off). We also signed up for TSA prescreening so we can go through the faster security line. My biggest worries are taking him out of the carrier to get through the metal detector -we'll have him on a harness and leash and I'll probably bring a towel to "burrito" him in if needed. My second concern is that he's just going to yowl his head off the whole flight (he is very indignant about being confined to his carrier and has a very dramatic 'you're kiiilllling me to deaaaaath" operatic meow he deploys). I was going to take a tip I read on an article about travelling with infants, and bring ear plugs to give to the surrounding passengers in case this happens.

Anyone done this and have any other tips for keeping a cat calm(ish) throughout the process?

HannahGrace

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Re: Flying with a cat
« Reply #1 on: June 09, 2015, 08:47:01 AM »
I've done this multiple times (cross country moves).  In my case, my cats were so petrified that they did not make a peep during pre-boarding or the entire flight.  There were no accidents - it all went smoothly, actually.  So my tip is to trust your vet and I will think good thoughts for you that your flight is as smooth as mine were :)

PastryGoddess

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Re: Flying with a cat
« Reply #2 on: June 09, 2015, 08:56:33 AM »
I used to travel with my Kitty all of the time in college.  I agree, she was so scared that she didn't make a sound during the flight.  I did also purchase pee pads for the carrier, but she didn't use them at all.  Luckily our flights were only 1-2 hours long.  So it wasn't too bad. 
Maryland

Zizi-K

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Re: Flying with a cat
« Reply #3 on: June 09, 2015, 09:21:32 AM »
I used to fly regularly with my cat, taking her on 5 hour flights (when direct) and sometimes a lot longer when there was a layover. My cat wouldn't yowl exactly, but would keep up a distressed meow. I wondered if she would be disruptive too, but I quickly realized that planes are actually very loud environments. The noise from the jet engines is significant, though it is white noise so it is easy to tune out. I'm positive no one ever heard my cat as I could barely hear her and she was sitting right at my feet.

My cat also never eliminated in the carrier. As creatures of habit, it would be very much against their instincts to go on a hard plastic surface in a small space that they can't escape from. You may want to rethink the pad, actually. I put in a kitchen towel once or twice, and it always ended shoved over to one side, she never used it, and it may have just made a small space stuffier.

Arila

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Re: Flying with a cat
« Reply #4 on: June 25, 2015, 05:29:58 PM »
My cat is pretty similar - wow can he give the "Iiiiiiiaaaaaammmmmmddddddyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyinnnnnggggg!"  all drawn out like that yowl, but I think that their yowls are at a lower pitch than, for example, babies, and the lower frequency engine noise will totally drown him out.

What does your vet think of a light sedative? I've heard of vets providing something light and harmless to help keep them a bit calmer...I'm not a huge one for drugging as a general sense, but it may be better for your guy's wellbeing to be able to zone out.

PastryGoddess

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Re: Flying with a cat
« Reply #5 on: June 25, 2015, 05:37:46 PM »
I used to use Rescue Remedy for my Gretchen.  She is a Meezer/longhair mix with a very piercing yodel.  Kept her calm without making her goofy. 
Maryland

VorFemme

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Re: Flying with a cat
« Reply #6 on: June 25, 2015, 05:47:29 PM »
Feliway - which is a cat pheromone that smells like "safe place, calm place, no need to yowl" - for most cats, not all.

Catnip can also be calming, again, for some cats, not all.  Some cats don't react to it.

Does Kitty sleep with you? Put a garment that you've worn in the carrier with them so that they can hide under something that smells like you.  They might feel safer...
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Twik

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Re: Flying with a cat
« Reply #7 on: June 25, 2015, 06:40:58 PM »
I flew with the Sabretooth Siamese last year, and someone gave me an awesome tip. Ask security to take you into their "Special Search" room. It will be small, enclosed, and no chance for feline escape attempts. I also used a sedative (on him, not me), and he was quiet during the whole event.

I was lucky that security had two young women who loooooved cats, so he was handled with the respect he was due.
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JoW

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Re: Flying with a cat
« Reply #8 on: June 27, 2015, 01:16:07 PM »
Last time I moved, 20 years ago, I air-shipped my pets.  They traveled as unaccompanied luggage so this may not apply now or to you.  But back then each pet had to have a certificate saying that they were healthy enough to fly.  That certificate had to be signed by a vet not more than 7 days before the flight.  Ask your vet or the air line if you need that certificate.

Also, I think rabies shots are required by all states so make sure you have proof of vaccination with you, just in case. 

Margo

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Re: Flying with a cat
« Reply #9 on: July 29, 2015, 08:48:38 AM »
consider covering the carrier. Some cats feel safer in an fully enclosed space  than one where they can see out. Of course, if the carrier is under the seat there will be limited visibility anyway, and you would need to ensure that there was adequate ventilation, but it is worth considering.
How does he do on car trips?

My previous cat used to cry for the first 10 minutes or so then settle down, although on longer car journeys he would do the same if we stopped, and then continued.
He was generally very clean and even when he was older and his digestion a bit unreliable he had a very distinct "I really really need to pee" yowl which was different to his "I don't want to be in the box" yowl, which for car journeys meant I generally had time to stop and let him out onto some newspaper on a leash, although I'm assuming that won't be an option during a flight!

best of luck.

Kiara

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Re: Flying with a cat
« Reply #10 on: July 29, 2015, 08:57:54 AM »
I used to fly my boy to visit family with me.  Even under the seat, you'll need the certificate JoW mentions.  Also, depending on the airport, you may not have to take him out of the carrier until you get into a secondary screening room.  BWI did this for a while - you took the cat in the carrier through the metal detector, then you got wanded, then you went into the secondary room for them to hand search the carrier.  Personally, I preferred just carrying him through in my arms.  (Amused the heck out of the TSA agents to see him looking around like "where the heckola am I?")

Some airlines will let you board early since you'll need extra time - can't hurt to ask politely at the gate.  Also, my cat did *much* better in an aisle seat.  I flew window twice with him, and the vibrations from the metal upset him a little bit.  He was always pretty quiet though...everyone was amazed I had a cat under the seat.  He even did well on the 20 hour Christmas trip from heck.

LadyL

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Re: Flying with a cat
« Reply #11 on: July 29, 2015, 07:55:20 PM »
Thanks for your feedback and suggestions everyone! I am happy to report that Kitty L handled flying like a champ. Once he realized this was NOT the usual car trip to grandma's house he got very quiet and compliant. Even carrying him through the metal detector, he just seemed perplexed and overwhelmed more than panicky, and scampered right back in his carrier first chance he got. He didn't make a peep for the entire trip. Every hour or so of the flight I'd pet him in his carrier and he'd look up like "Huh? What? Oh, it's you. Ok."

Arila

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Re: Flying with a cat
« Reply #12 on: July 30, 2015, 12:33:02 PM »
Glad it all went well!

Miss Understood

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Re: Flying with a cat
« Reply #13 on: July 30, 2015, 12:56:29 PM »
Good job Kitty L!