Sedating cats for airline travel

Being wrenched away from familiar surroundings can make cats testy, anxious, and even physically ill.Getting a cat from one city to another by plane is, of course, possible, but doing so requires a great deal of effort in terms of preparation and patience.Keep your voice low and close to your pet while assuring it that everything will be ok.

For your sake and your cat’s, it may be best to get a sitter while you’re out of town. Let’s take a look at some the steps you’ll need to take before you embark on an airplane voyage with your cat.

You may need to take two trips to the vet: One to ensure that your cat is physically able to endure the rigors of air travel, and another, no more than 10 days prior to departure, to acquire a certificate of health and proof of vaccinations.

However, the key here is to keep your pet calm, to isolate them from all of the crazy activity of people loading their gear in the overhead compartments and finding their seats.

This is the perfect opportunity to keep your pet in its carrier on your lap, turn it towards the window, and hug it tightly (if your pet allows for hugs) and stroke it through the carrier (assuming you are using a soft sided carrier which we highly recommend).

The dimensions of that space vary by plane, so if you cannot gather the relevant information, a soft case might be your best bet for a smooth trip. Practice placing your cat inside the case for short periods each day so that the ride to the airport isn’t the cat’s first experience of her carrier.

cat in pet carrier on a park bench by Shutterstock." / The stress of travel frequently causes digestive upset in cats, including vomiting and diarrhea.

Leave the carrier between your feet for a minute and then slowly slide the carrier under the seat all the while offering plenty of vocal assurances.

Once the plane is in the air, you should be allowed to keep the carrier between your feet.

You are flying, your pet is traveling with you in the cabin of the airline, and, unless you have done this before, you have no way of knowing how your pet will travel.

The last thing you want to deal with is a howling cat or a wimpering dog for hours until you land.

Next, does your final destination impose any additional restrictions for safety or public health reasons, such as Hawai’i‘s quarantine guidelines?

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