Is Air Travel Safe For Cats?
Published on: May 7, 2015 | Author: Starwood Animal Transport
Animal shipping procedures have been created to assure your cat’s safe passage. However, as a concerned “pet parent,” it is incumbent on you to learn what is involved, so you know the right questions to ask and what to expect. Airlines have differing rules and requirements, and they do not all treat animas in the same way. And every destination country has its own set of requirements, designed to keep animals already in that country safe from imported diseases.
Talk to your vet about health-related issues and your cat’s overall ability to travel by air, as soon as you know you’ll be moving. You will need to work with your vet anyway, to obtain your cat’s required physical exam and health certificate(s) and any needed vaccinations or other documentation.
Talk to a professional animal transport company.
It’s their business to know every detail for your destination, and ensuring you have everything in order is your cat’s first line of defense when it comes to safety. Plus, there is no substitute for peace of mind. Professionals know which airlines will treat your beautiful cat like more than a piece of luggage and which flight arrangements will enable her to travel efficiently. Shorter overall travel time can help lower her stress level.
Doing everything you can to reduce stressors takes on greater importance when you know that airlines and pet shippers no long allow animals to be tranquilized for air travel, as this can pose even greater safety risks.
A homey carrier makes for a happier cat.
Airline-approved kennels are constructed specifically to provide maximum safety. They’re built of tough materials with no sharp edges, they have secure doors that even the wiliest cat cannot unlatch and there is plenty of ventilation. Nonetheless, you can take a few steps to make the kennel more comfortable as well. That will help reduce stress for your purrfect kitty, and a less-stressed kitty is a safer kitty.
- Give her plenty of time to adjust to the carrier and make the space her own. You can start with the top off, so it’s literally an open invitation to investigate. Let her eat, play and sleep in the carrier.
- Add a soft underfooting – a small blanket your cat is used to sleeping with will help make the carrier smell and feel more like home. It will also make it easier for your cat to maintain her balance while being moved around in the kennel.
What kind of cat do you have?
Snub-nose cats are less common than dogs with short snouts, but if your cat falls into this category, there are some special factors for you to consider. Some airlines embargo snub-nose breeds or restrict them to the cabin, because these cats and dogs have respiratory challenges that can theoretically be exacerbated by riding in the hold of the plane. Cargo areas where animals ride are temperature-controlled and pressurized like the cabin, but the atmosphere can still feel “stuffy.”
If you feel your cat will be safer in the cabin, she can ride in a soft carrier under the seat in front of you. There’s a fee, of course, and early reservations are a must because airlines limit the number of pets in the cabin.
Not leaving the country?
If your vet recommends your cat not fly because she’s elderly or chronically ill, or you are moving within the lower 48 states, you should ask your pet shipping company about a ground transportation option. This alternative can provide equally confidence-inspiring door-to-door accommodation for your beloved kitty, with the same attention to detail backed by the same pet-loving philosophy. After all, regardless how she travels, you want her to be treated like the queen she is.
Considering the fact that hundreds of thousands of animals travel by air every year yet the incidence of injury, death or becoming lost is exceedingly small, it is fundamentally safe for your feline to fly. She may not want to make it her regular routine, but as a means of moving long distance, it should be just fine.
Animals that are shipped around the country (or out of the country) for best-of-breed shows usually fly. And those cats have an even bigger attitude than yours. If they can handle the trip and arrive in award-winning condition, your little lady can make her trip successfully, too.
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