How to Transport a Cat on an Airplane

There are situations when a long trip is planned and there is no one to look after your favorite cat. There is only one way out – to take it with you. And then there are many questions – how to properly transport the cat on the plane, where it will fly (in the luggage compartment or cabin), what vaccinations are needed, list of documents, etc. We will try to answer all these questions in detail in this article.

Can I take a cat in the cabin?

Some airlines allow you to take pets in the cabin, others do not. Therefore it is necessary to find out the rules of the chosen carrier in advance. In the cabin transportation of cats is possible only when accompanied by an adult capable person, in a special carrier or container. At the same time in the container may be no more than two cats, the total weight of which must be equal to 8 pounds. Therefore it is unlikely to take with you two adult cats, but two kittens or a cat with a kitten – quite possible.

Rules for Transporting cats on the plane and in luggage

The cabin during the flight may be kept from two to five animals, it all depends on the requirements of the carrier. Therefore you must inform about your desire to take your pet on board, while booking a ticket. Moreover, it is allowed to carry cats in the passenger aircraft only if there are no dogs on board.

It is forbidden to put a container with a pet on an empty passenger seat. You may keep it in your lap or place it on the floor under the seat in front of you. It is also forbidden to put the container on the places that obstruct the emergency exit.

Do not let the cat out of the container during the flight, as you cannot foresee its behavior in stressful situations.

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Some air carriers allow you to transport pets on the plane only in the luggage compartment. You should take care not to let the cat get cold: put a warm litter on the bottom of the carrier, and dress your pet in a suit. The container itself can be placed in a fabric bag, letting the air in, so the pet is less anxious. Visit cats website 

What is important to know when booking?

When booking a ticket it is necessary to ask about the rules of the chosen airline, because all carriers have different rules. What you should find out for sure:

  • whether there are restrictions concerning the transportation of animals;
  • what documents are necessary to prepare for the transportation of cats;
  • find out where the cat will be during the flight;
  • what the requirements for the carrier are;
  • the cost of transportation.

In addition, you must find out how many pets are allowed on board and get the airline’s permission for transporting a cat. In the case of a flight in the luggage compartment, you can get permission after buying your ticket. In the case of a cabin flight, permission must be obtained before buying your ticket.

If an international flight is planned, it is important to clarify the rules for bringing animals by the country to which the passenger is flying. Some countries prohibit bringing pets into their territory, or provide for quarantine, which may last from 3 days to six months.

After finding out all the nuances, it is important to warn the airline employee at least 36 hours before the flight, about your desire to fly with a cat.

Documents for taking a cat abroad

Crossing the border with a cat is a very troublesome business, which causes much stress to both the owner and the animal. Many countries are not very loyal to the importation of pets, even if they are absolutely calm for fear of dangerous diseases and parasites.

In addition to those documents that are required for domestic flights, it is necessary to issue:

  • veterinary international certificate (passport);
  • certificate of pedigree value or lack thereof;
  • certificate, indicating the chipping of the animal (here it is obligatory).
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Booking airline tickets, you need to clarify with the carrier additional subtleties regarding the receipt of the cat at the end of the flight.

The cost of transporting a cat on an airplane

Pet transportation service is paid, regardless of how the cat will travel – in the cabin with the owner or in the luggage compartment with suitcases.

How much it costs to fly a cat depends on factors such as:

  • The size and weight of the container with the pet;
  • The distance and duration of the flight;
  • Airline rates.

Payment for the transfer of a cat is made at the airport before the start of the flight according to the norm of excess baggage. And the cost is calculated as for the flight in first class, even if the pet flies in the luggage compartment.

All airlines have their own rates for transporting pets. In average the animal weighing about 4 kg will pay from 50 to 100 euros for the flight. Thus some companies don’t consider flight distance, the price is calculated exclusively on the weight of an animal.

Carrier requirements

Carrier does not provide a carrier for cats on the plane, so the owner needs to take care of it himself. In the cabin a cat may be carried either in a sturdy bag with a hard bottom or in a shipping container. The bottom must be covered with absorbent material (it may be an absorbent diaper), and the container must have sizes no larger than 45x35x25 cm.

If the flight is planned in the luggage compartment, the cat may be transported only in a container. The size of the container must allow the animal to stand upright and rotate freely about its axis.

The doors of the container must be tightly closed, so that the nervous animal could not open them accidentally. Sometimes airport staff will ask to remove the animal from the container for inspection. To make it easier to do this, preferably the container should have a removable top.

The cat carrier should be well ventilated and have no sharp corners, so that the cat feels comfortable and is not accidentally injured. There should also be a rim around the bottom and a compartment for water and food.

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How to prepare a cat for a flight?

To transport your pet cat by plane with minimum stress for him it is recommended to start preparing him for the journey a few days in advance. For this purpose, he should be introduced in advance to the container in which he will be transported.

Veterinarians do not advise giving the animal any sedatives. After all, during takeoff and landing, due to the differences in atmospheric pressure, the animal’s heart muscle experiences additional strain, and the presence of sleeping pills in his blood aggravates his condition.

To make the cat feel calmer, it is recommended to put something taken from home into the container: a favorite toy or a bed on which he slept. He should be less nervous when he smells familiar to you.

However, some animals experience great stress during the trip and without sedatives the cat will have a hard time. It will meow and romp about during the flight, inconveniencing all passengers. You should definitely consult your veterinarian to find the safest medication to help reduce anxiety and restlessness in your pet.

Worming and rabies Vaccination

To freely transport a cat or kitten on the plane, the animal must be vaccinated against rabies and vaccination against vexemia. These requirements are common for all air carriers, and without their implementation the cat will not be allowed on board the passenger airliner.

Before the rabies vaccination, the cat is given anthelmintics, so you can’t avoid this step. Two weeks after anthelmintics, the animal can be vaccinated against rabies.

In order for the airline to allow the flight, vaccination must be at least 30 days. This means that you have to prepare your cat for the flight no later than 1.5 months before the planned date of departure. Kittens can be vaccinated not earlier than two months, because younger animals are not transportable. However, some carriers allow the flight of unvaccinated kittens in the same cage with a vaccinated mother.

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