Amy has to fly! Has anyone taken their cat on a airplane?

  1. I am leaving Sarasota, Florida and going up to Cape Cod, MA. until November....and taking Amy, my cat (in the avatar). I am extremely worried about flying her on a commercial plane as I don't want her traumatized for life. I spoke with a vet assistant who said that she could be sedated and likely would not know what was going on...even the sedation worries me. Luckly, I can get a non-stop flight (which is three and a half hours long) out of Tampa which is one hour Boston...which is one hour from Cape Cod. Probably all told, a seven hour ordeal. Amy is extremely vocal, (may not be too good in a plane!) animated and a joy to have! My dear sweet deceased KeeKee made the trip many times by car and was an excellent sleeping traveler. Has anyone else flown their cat? Were they ok and did it change them in a negative way? Any tips would be greatly appreciated...I dread putting her through this but really need to go north.
  2. I will be taking Amy into the cabin on the trip...not into cargo. The airline allows four pets per flight. (Awww...Let's hope that they are not all crying cats)
  3. I've never flown with a cat, but I've flown with cats in the cabin and fly with my dog 2x a year. Here's some stuff I have learned which I hope comes in helpful:
    - ALWAYS make a reservation for your pet in cabin. Without one, you may get booted off or not be able to make your flight.
    - If you pet tends to get motion sick (as mine does), limit food before leaving.
    - If you're going to sedate, try it first at home and ask the vet if the sedative will change when flying. Some sedatives can have the opposite reaction if your animal is really stressed or flying. My vet recommended dramamine over anything else.
    - Be ready for security, it's not gonna be fun. Depending on how the TSA is feeling that day, the animal either needs to walk in front of you or be carried through. Remove as much metal as you can (within safety). My dog can get through security with her collars and tags on without setting it off.
    - Make sure the pet is leashed. I know cats usually don't go around on leashes, but in case she jumps out of your arms during security, she's not getting far. Much better than chasing a cat through the airport.
    - Make sure you have fresh water for her and provisions in case you get stuck at the airport. I always travel with a water dish and some food just in case.
    - RELAX. She'll know if you're stressed.
    - Sit kinda in the middle of the pain. Engine noise is a little louder and people will be less likely to hear here if she gets too vocal.

    Good luck and I hope this helps. I was a wreck before I took breezy on her first plane ride. Now we have it down to a system.
  4. I took my Himalayan cat across the country from Boston to Phoenix last January. He was 17 and like you, I agonized about him flying. Two different vets advised me NOT to sedate him as it can actually turn a cat aggressive. I detest flying and Furbie did better than me! I took him in the cabin on Jetblue airlines in a soft sided carrier for a medium sized cat. When they saw us check in they gave us an entire row of seats to ourselves since the flight wasn't full. I had to take his collar off while going through security - you'll have to take your kitty out of the carrier and carry him through. He was scared but never made a peep during the entire trip. He did not want food or water until we got to our new home. The flight attendants were so sweet; they let me keep his carrier on the seat next to me versus underneath the seat in front of me so I was able to reach in and pet him. We sat in the middle of the plane near the wing where the flight is usually smoother (I get airsick easily.) and a little more quiet.

    I am so glad I didn't listen to "well meaning" friends who advised me not to take him along; he settled into his new home quickly, befriended the dog, and recently celebrated his 18th birthday.

    Good luck to you and Amy! If you must sedate, a small amount of Benedryl is better than a tranquilizer. My kitty has a heart murmer so it was dangerous to give him anything at all. I could have used the drugs though!!
  5. I have never flown a cat myself neither, but I am a RVT and agree with roey; If you were to give any drugs, I advise against tranquilizer as I have seen many cats in brink of health danger due to it. There is really no antidote and you cannot really do anything nor do anything if something goes wrong. Common tranquilizer is Acepromazine, and it can really hit a cat hard even though vets prescribe it... If you are set to give drugs, ask your vet about Benadryl. Here are some tips from American Veterinary Medical Association
    You probably don't want to leash your cat in the carrier because it can strangle... Maybe those harnesses when you have to carry your cat through. Or those walking jackets
    I would choose a soft carrier and put a comfy towel under it. And keep extra towel just in case she has an accident... That is what I recommeded a friend who flew 10 hrs to Japan with her cat since she was moving back. No sedation, just some SQ fluids to keep the cat hydrated since it was a very long trip... This kitty was a vocal boy, but he was quiet all throughout the trip, she said.
    Good luck!
  6. Always! If they tell you no, reschedule the flight. I took my kitty fron NJ to FL. Vet prescribed Valium, she was fine! Good luck and happy travels to you and kitty!
  7. When I flew with my cat, Cody, I was advised not to tranquilize him. The vet told me that often the tranquilizer wears off before the journey is over, particularly if there are unforseen delays. Cody is also pretty vocal, but he didn't make a peep. I put a tiny litterbox in there, which he didn't use. I didn't take him out of the bag on the flight, but I made sure to put my hand in there as much as possible to pat and scratch him. That calmed him down a lot and even got him purring.
  8. Yes, good advice to line the carrier with a towel! Also bring along some puppy pee pads.. I taped them to the bottom of the carrier which had a sherpa lining (so didn't need the towel) just in case he had an accident and packed some extras in my carry-on.
  9. Thank you all so much for taking the time to help Amy and I cope with our upcoming trip. You have given me many good pointers and soothed my fears. Reading about your experiences has helped me to better prepare for our trip. I've decided not to sedate her as it sounds way too risky even though she is very, very vocal. I too, detest flying as the motion really bothers me and poor little Amy has gotten sick in the car on her way to the vet. I will be taking a 7:30 pm flight so she will not be having her dinner that night, which should help. I was glad to hear of your positive experience with Jetblue as I will also be flying with them, for the first time. Again, thanks for all of your good advice and for your reassurance. If Amy could, she would thank you too.
  10. Good luck. Sounds like the two of you will be just fine. When's the trip?
  11. Aww, good luck! Your Amy will be OK. I've flown with cats before and everything's gone smoothly. My best advice would be to withhold food and water until you get to your destination, and NO SEDATIVES! Let us know how it goes!
  12. Let us know how it goes! I may have to fly my cat across country in the future, so this would be good to know. Good luck!
  13. hope this helps a friend of ours is married to a man in the navy they have 1 cat who has gone all ovr the world and is fine she lived in italy and guam and hawaii and purto rico all over no trouble
  14. Jetblue accepted my carrier which was a little bit wider than the recommended size. They were just so accommodating. The best thing you can do is not ask too many questions at the airport as you may call attention to something that would otherwise go unnoticed. I never asked if the carrier size was okay; I just sat it on the counter and checked in. I never asked if I could put the carrier on the seat next to me during the flight; I just did it and the flight attendants never asked me to move it. The seats on Jetblue are wider and more comfortable than other commercial airlines and every seat has their own tv. For motion sickness, I always take a dramamine and wear wrist bands which really helps.

    Good luck! I'm sure everything will go a lot better than you anticipated.
  15. Good luck! I flew my cat across the country from NY to LA when I moved back to California in 2004. At that time she was a little over a year old and small (about 8 lbs.) so I put her in a carrier and put a towel down over the sheepskin lining just in case. I had a leash on her too as they made me take her out of the bag at JFK, but she was scared enough by the situation to just curl into me and wouldn't basically let go until I could put her back in her carrier.

    Also, I didn't sedate her but I stopped giving her food the night before as we had an early morning flight (they advised no food for about 8 hours before). She didn't like the sound of the airplane -- I think the vibrations were scaring her when she was on the floor in her carrier, but as long as I kept putting my hand in the bag and petting her, she was fine. She was vocal at the beginning but pretty soon curled up and was OK for the rest of the flight. I had some treats with me to give her after we landed as well as a bowl so that I could put some water in it.

    Overall, it was fine though! I'm sure you will be fine as well. :smile: