Travelling with your Cat
If your cat is sensitive, has an anxious temperament or is prone to illness, it is preferable to leave her at home with a trusted caretaker. If you decide to take your cat along, then here are some precautions & tips:
Cat Vaccines & Health
- Ensure that vaccines for panleukopenia (feline distemper), feline calicivirus, feline herpesvirus type I (rhinotracheitis), and rabies are up to date.
- Be sure to keep a record of these vaccines with you on your travels. Obtain a health certificate from your Veterinary doctor before travel.
- Get the nails clipped to avoid getting them stuck in the carrier.
Going on a Road Trip with Your Cat:
- The best way for cats to travel in vehicles is in carriers.
- Try to get your cat comfortable with the carrier prior to travelling.
- Keep one of your old tees or their favourite toys in the carrier to comfort your cat with your smell. This will reduce the amount of stress your cat experiences while traveling.
- Pick a carrier that is the correct size for your cat allowing for ample room to turn around, sit, sleep & move.
- Never leave your cat alone in an unattended vehicle, especially during the summer since the temperature inside the vehicle can rise quickly, making it uncomfortable & even dangerous for your cat.
- Being surrounded by familiar people helps comfort cats in stressful situations. Make sure you carry all the supplies your cat needs for the entire trip, including food, a litter box & medicines.
- Keep a filled litter box within the car when travelling. Cats tend to urinate when stressed.
- Frequent pit stops are essential to keep your cat stress free. Whenever you get the chance, pull over and open the windows for a while. Allow your cat to drink water & eat a small snack, however keep feeding to a minimum during travel to avoid motion sickness.
- Make sure there is no place to escape from the car.
Flying With Your Cat:
- If you decide to fly with your cat, make sure to weigh all the risks and follow the steps below to minimize stress and keep your pets as safe as possible.
- Try to get an airline that will allow your cat in the cabin with you.
- Try to get direct, non peak flights.
- Persian cats should not be taken on a flight in the hold as their short nasal passages leave them vulnerable to oxygen deprivation and strokes.
- Avoid feeding your cat 4-6 hours before flying & 1-2 hours before car travel. (though small amounts of water are allowed).
- Do not administer tranquillisers to your pet unless they have been prescribed by your veterinarian.
- Cats react unpredictably to sedatives & need to be monitored. Your Vet will prescribe the safest tranquilliser at the right dose only if it is absolutely needed.
- Calming supplements may also be prescribed by your Vet which may need to be started a few days before travel, so make sure your Vets appointment is not at the very last minute.
- Catnip and other soothing sprays may be used to calm your cat during travel. Make sure your cat is microchipped before flying.
- This will help in identification if your cat is not travelling with you as well as in the unfortunate event of your cat being lost.
- Your cat should be fitted with a collar that will not be trapped in the carrier door. Attached to their collar should be two forms of identification: a permanent ID with your name and phone number and a temporary travel ID with the address and telephone number of your final destination.
- Keeping a current photo of your pet with you will help others to locate your pet if they are to go missing during transit.
- When packing for your trip, make sure you pack everything your cat will need. This includes an ample supply of your pet’s food (as that brand of food may not be available at your destination), plenty of water and a collapsible bowl, a litter box, collars, tags, leashes, any favourite toys, and your pet first-aid kit.
Here are some cat friendly airlines that allow you to carry your pets inside the aircraft cabin. All airlines require vaccinations, an IATA approved cat carrier and have individual guidelines on their own websites.
- Air India - both domestic and international
- Swiss Air
- Turkish Airlines
- British Airways
- United Airlines
- Air France
- Air Canada