How to Fly With a Cat (2022)

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It might seem crazy to think about how to travel with a cat internationally, but it is possible.

However, you need to do many things for your cat to be safe and healthy on your trip.

Summary on how to fly with a cat domestically and internationally:

  • Look into the rules of your airline
  • Pack the right items for your cat
  • Acclimate your cat to traveling
  • Prepare your cat for the journey ahead

Explore this guide for an outline of how to fly with a cat abroad. Moreover, this guide will give you information about what you should pack to ensure your cat achieves maximum comfort.

Finally, I will cover other essentials to ensure the safety of both yourself and your cat during international travel.

Can Cats Be Trained To Travel?

You can train your cat to travel depending on your kitty’s personality. Moreover, you should acclimate your cat with its carriers before becoming old enough to travel outside the home.

Cats can also have an easier time adjusting if they started living in a new environment when young or had regular interaction with strangers and other animals and were introduced gradually over time.

How to Fly With Your Cat: Preparation

1. Look Into Your Airlines Requirements for Pets

First, look into your airline’s regulations.

Some airlines allow cats in a cabin; therefore, it’s essential to contact the airline before booking a flight. The ticket cost for traveling with your pet ranges around $150–$350 + crate fee.

If your airline doesn’t allow cats in the cabin (or you would like to book a separate flight for your cat), it will be necessary to ship them on cargo.
When shipping pets internationally, all airlines require notice 24-hours ahead of time and potential crate charges between $175–250 USD.

Moreover, with the cost to travel with a cat, you’ll want to factor in the price of a vet examination/health certificate ($150–$500) depending on the destination country.

You might also need a USDA export health certificate. USDA’s certification costs an additional $75 plus possible extra fees at customs if shipped as excess baggage or freight.

It’s important to note that there can sometimes be delays due to weather conditions, so make sure you plan to book flights accordingly.

2. Look Into the Pet Fee for Each Airline

If you’re traveling with a cat, please note that most airlines charge an additional fee for the animal. Pet travel fees can range from $100 to $200 per pet and varies by airline:

  • Delta Air Lines charges customers at least $125 for each flight.
  • Alaska Airlines $100 each way per pet
  • United Airlines $125 each way; moreover, United will charge an additional $125 per stopover that’s over four hours within the United States.

Contact your destination’s consulate office before booking travel plans to determine what fees are required when flying internationally.

3. Leash Train Your Cat

The first thing you have to do after dealing with your flight is to leash train your cat.

You can leash train most cats, but it takes time and patience. Also, you need a harness for this training because most cats won’t walk nicely on a collar when they’re still not used to being held by one.

Start with just walking around the house or in an open field so that your cat gets used to feeling pressure from the lead while also getting some exercise at the same time.

Training will take about thirty minutes each day, preferably before breakfast, since humans and animals are usually more alert.

Assemble Your Cat Traveling Packing ListWhen traveling with your cat internationally, you should pack the following items to ensure that your feline friend remains comfortable:

  • Litter box: a litter box that can be broken down and put back together quickly.
  • Cat leash: you might want to have two of these on hand in case your cat gets too out of control.
  • Food: don’t forget to bring enough food for your cat.
  • Litter scoop and litter: you’ll want a way to clean up after your cat, or he will make a mess in whatever space you’re around.
  • Pet carrier: necessary when traveling with a cat because kennels provide safety while traveling safely on most major airlines.
  • Medical records: bring these along if you don’t have a veterinarian in the country you’re visiting.

3. Food and water dishes

A detailed map of where you’ll be staying with all of its entrances, so your cat has an escape route should he need one.

Items for playtime: this will help keep him entertained while traveling and ensure that he doesn’t form any bad habits from boredom.

Regarding cat crates, ensure they’re big enough so that there is room for both of their front paws and hind legs to move freely without touching any sidewalls.

Moreover, make sure it’s not too large where it’s difficult for someone else to carry the cat from one place to another. For example, having too big a crate may make it difficult for airport personnel to move your cat.

4. Exercise Your Cat Before Getting on Your Flight

This tip only applies if you’re flying with your kitty.

In addition to the items you will need for your cats, like food and litter box, many forget a few things.

One of these is exercising.

You may not think much of it now, but if your cat gets on an airplane after sitting around at home all day, he will be more likely to face stress.

The best way to avoid your cat’s stress is by giving him plenty of exercise before getting on the plane. That way, he can burn off some energy from being pent up in one place for too long.

Don’t let your furry friend go stir-crazy while cooped up in its carrier during takeoff.

Take them outside right before boarding and make sure he has enough water inside the carrier. Then, when you get to your final destination, do the same thing before heading out of the airport.

That way, he can be on his best behavior when traveling in a new place with unfamiliar smells and sounds.

5. Ensure Your Cat Has Somewhere To Use the Bathroom During the Flight

Plan to have your cat use the bathroom either before or during the flights.

You will not want your cat to use their litter box while on a long flight because it is tough for them to move around comfortably in an airplane.

Also, make sure that there is no food stored near where they go potty so that they do not find something else to eat from instead of going back into their carrier.

Also read: How to score a cheap flight

During the Flight (A List of Tips)

  • Use a cat carrier with wide enough openings for your pet to see and breathe.
  • Wear the cat’s harness or collar inside out so it can’t get caught in his crate
  • Give your cat time to explore before closing up their world, be patient.
  • Perform any necessary preparations like feeding or litter box duty before you board.
  • If possible, carry some of their favorite treats on the plane. Your traveling partner may need them as motivation during takeoff and landing.

Don’t Forget to Feed Your Cat and Keep Him Hydrated

Cats are susceptible to changes in their environment.

When you travel, this is especially true because he will experience a wide range of new sights and scents that can overwhelm him.

One way to make your cat more comfortable during international or interstate traveling is by feeding him before the journey begins.

Feeding him ensures he has plenty of food throughout the trip and will not need as much while exploring on his own. However, keep fresh water available at all times too.

Additional Tips for Flying With Cats

The following are some tips for flying with cats:

  • Use a cat carrier with wide enough openings for your kitty to see and breathe.
  • Wear the cat’s harness or collar inside out so it can’t get caught in his crate.
  • Give your cat time to explore before closing up his world and remain patient.
  • Perform any necessary preparations like feeding or litter box duty before you board.
  • Cats must be lightly sedated before traveling by air if they do not tolerate flying well.
  •  If possible, carry some of their favorite treats on the plane. Your traveling partner may need extra reassurance.
  • Laptops or tablet screens make excellent playthings for cats; however, make sure you disable the touch screen if possible.

Related: Travel hacks for humans

Frequently Asked Questions About Traveling With Cats

Where Do Cats Pee on Planes?

On planes, cats will usually pee in the litter tray. The crew will clean up any accidents in designated areas.

If you’re traveling with your cat on a plane, it’s important to remember that they must be confined and supervised at all times. 

Cats are not allowed in airport terminals or checked baggage handling areas. Because of that rule, you’ll have to keep them close by when going through security.

You should also check local laws before traveling internationally, as some countries require you to quarantine your cats for a certain amount of time upon arrival.

Can I Take a Cat on a Cruise?

It depends on your cruise’s rules. Moreover, there’s something to consider before boarding your cat on the cruise.

If you’re going ashore, they’ll have to stay in quarantine until departure day if there’s no veterinary facility available onboard.

What Cat Breeds Are Banned From Airlines

The cat breeds that are typically banned from flying on airlines include the following: Bengal, Egyptian Mau.

However, always ensure that you look into your particular airline’s animal policies. They will let you know what breeds aren’t allowed.

Do I Need to use Sedatives on My Cat While Traveling?

You don’t need to use sedatives on your furry friends. Most cats will naturally calm down after some initial stress from being confined in a crate without any stimuli (noise, people).

A veterinarian may prescribe tranquilizers, but it’s not always needed. However, you may want to consider giving your kitty cat toys that provide stimulation during this stressful period.

Some great toys to give them include laser pointers or interactive games like chase-the-string.

Finally, t’s not a bad idea to have the cat seen by a veterinarian before, during, and after the trip for routine checkups. Moreover, taking them to the vet will help if anything out of the ordinary should occur that might need attention (diarrhea, vomiting).

It also never hurts to get the travel crate checked over by someone who can tell you whether it is secure enough—there are plenty of videos online on how to do this safely.

Final Thoughts on How to Fly With A Cat

It’s been a long journey, but I hope this advice helps you feel confident that traveling with your cat is possible.

If you’re ready to embark on the adventure of traveling internationally with your cat, it will be worth every dollar spent.

You’ll have life memories, and there are so many other animals in need at home waiting for their chance. Happy travels.

Learn from these guides how to prepare your pets for traveling: