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Old 09-20-2013, 11:41 AM
 
Location: Sacramento CA
303 posts, read 394,725 times
Reputation: 353

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Anybody flown with their kitties in the cabin of a plane? We're going via Delta but I just wanted to tap into the knowledge and experience of other kitty parents out there. I'm quite nervous about it. Napoleon just shuts down when he's scared, he won't be an issue. Now, Josie...that's another story. She's one of those cats who screams when she's scared. I mean screams like someone is killing her, literally. And now I'm putting her in a plane cabin for a 1.5 hour flight and a 3 hour flight on the same day. Am I crazy?

On the good side, the vet visit yesterday was a chance to see how well Josie will do in public. She screamed when I put her in the carrier but once I got her in the car and turned on the radio, she was silent. It was like magic. I don't know if it was another person's voice but she didn't scream in the vet's office or on the ride home. The vet tech even told me how well behaved Josie is, which is weird because she's totally my problem child.

Anyway, whatever advice you have would be awesome! I'm sorry to bug y'all so much with moving-the-kitty threads.
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Old 09-20-2013, 06:47 PM
 
Location: Pittsburgh area
9,918 posts, read 19,377,177 times
Reputation: 5068
First, I've never actually done it, and even then different cats are going to react differently.

When people ask about flying with their cats in the cabin though, the one thing I always remind them is that you must take your cat(s) out of the carrier at the airport security checkpoint. The carrier must be put through the x-ray machine with other carry-on luggage. The cat can be held. What this means from a practical standpoint is you want to take all precautions against the cat getting loose in the airport! And that means harness and leash. The cat should wear the harness (and you should try it out a few times beforehand so you know how it works and the cat can potentially understand what is happening), and you have the leash with you for when you have to take the cat out. Make sure leash is securely around your wrist and gripped before hooking it on and then you can bring the cat out of the carrier. It sounds like a lot of stuff but to my way of thinking do you want to risk even for a second that your cat might get loose in the airport? It's just not worth it. Better to take all possible precaution.

The rest of what I know is just the basic logistics part: there are limits to the number of in-cabin pets on a given flight, you must book them in advance and pay for it even though they don't get a seat. Must have approved carriers. Etc. If you're taking two cats you'll need two people most likely, or at least you would have to buy two people seats in addition to two pet fees. You likely have already gone through this part.

There are a few prior threads on here I think where people have actually flown with cats, including some who have both flown and drove and share pros and cons. Here are a couple:

Flying versus driving cross-country with 2 cats (AND a toddler)

Moving across country with nervous cat..
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Old 09-20-2013, 09:23 PM
 
295 posts, read 442,702 times
Reputation: 450
We flew from FL to CA with 2 cats in the carriers under our feet in the cabin on United. I was dreading it from the second my husband said we had to move. I wanted to drive them, he refused. He would rather one day of stress for them rather than 4. I guess that made sense.

We took the cats to the vets prior to leaving, so that we could discuss meds to calm them - plus I wanted to get a "healthy pet" certification just in case there were issues. Some vets say give them meds, some say it's not needed. We got a suggestion to do a trial run so we could see how they reacted on the ground. Made them kind of loopy. So on moving day we got meows, not screams.

At the airport, tell security you want a private screening room to remove your pets from the carrier. I had nightmares about losing my kitties forever in the airport, but read on here somewhere to do that. I really wanted to strangle the TSA agent when he took the carriers and was practically carrying one of them upside down, on the way to the private room. I had to take them out, one at a time, and all they did was go over the carriers by hand - they didn't bother going back out of the room to put them through the scanner.

When we got on the plane, we made sure that at least initially they were facing us, so that we could check on them. Actually, my husband even took a center seat, with me at the window, so they wouldn't get scared seeing all those feet passing by in the aisle. A friend of mine told me that the cats will be soothed by the "white noise" on the plane. Sure enough, they didn't make a peep the entire time on the plane or in the airport in between flights.

It was only when we were in the parking garage, getting our rental car, right after someone commented on how well behaved they were, when Hobbes started howling. I sat in the back seat with them to calm them down.

I never thought I would ever take my cats on a plane -but it really was only one day of stress for them (then getting used to a new house, then the movers coming with the furniture) but we did confine them to one room in the house so they wouldn't get overwhelmed. I think they liked that, as each new door we opened was a new adventure for them to search in (and find great hiding spots).

Good luck with whatever you do! But remember - ask for that private screening room!
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Old 09-20-2013, 10:21 PM
 
218 posts, read 392,284 times
Reputation: 323
Quote:
Originally Posted by greg42 View Post
When people ask about flying with their cats in the cabin though, the one thing I always remind them is that you must take your cat(s) out of the carrier at the airport security checkpoint. The carrier must be put through the x-ray machine with other carry-on luggage. The cat can be held. What this means from a practical standpoint is you want to take all precautions against the cat getting loose in the airport! And that means harness and leash. The cat should wear the harness (and you should try it out a few times beforehand so you know how it works and the cat can potentially understand what is happening), and you have the leash with you for when you have to take the cat out. Make sure leash is securely around your wrist and gripped before hooking it on and then you can bring the cat out of the carrier. It sounds like a lot of stuff but to my way of thinking do you want to risk even for a second that your cat might get loose in the airport? It's just not worth it. Better to take all possible precaution.

The rest of what I know is just the basic logistics part: there are limits to the number of in-cabin pets on a given flight, you must book them in advance and pay for it even though they don't get a seat. Must have approved carriers. Etc. If you're taking two cats you'll need two people most likely, or at least you would have to buy two people seats in addition to two pet fees. You likely have already gone through this part.

There are a few prior threads on here I think where people have actually flown with cats, including some who have both flown and drove and share pros and cons. Here are a couple:

Flying versus driving cross-country with 2 cats (AND a toddler)

Moving across country with nervous cat..
GREAT info, Greg.

The harness is an excellent point. And I'm with you re: taking every possible precaution.
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Old 09-21-2013, 03:08 PM
 
Location: Raleigh, NC
3,883 posts, read 5,379,547 times
Reputation: 3196
I have driven short distances of 500 miles or so in the car. I have taken two separate trips to transport 3 cats in cabin with United Airlines. Going through security I held the cat by the fur on the back of the neck, held tightly and went through. I had a crier but not a screamer. The plane itself was loud enough that I think most people didn't hear her. I would not feel comfortable transporting my cats as cargo.
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Old 09-21-2013, 09:39 PM
 
18,856 posts, read 29,991,133 times
Reputation: 25936
The one issue is security, I had to go thru with Beau, he freaked. I suggest both cats have harnesses and leashes.

Beau was fine the first leg of the trip, SLC to ATL, then, I gave him some water, took him out of the carrier, on his leash, in a corner, and he went in the foliage there...and did some "business"... He covered it up. No problem.

The next part of the flight, ATL to MIA, he was fine, slept the whole way.

I did not feed him for 12 hours before leaving, just water. He lived.

And, Beau was very social, he thrived on attention...he loved being petted by people in the terminal, and strutted around on his leash.

Jasper...forget it. He is not Beau. There is no way I would take that Banshee cat on a plane without doping him up. He is a Bengal, and meows very LOUDLY when he is displeased...he would be literally screaming his annoyance at being in the carrier...I drove him across the country, and he has a lot of stamina to meow for extended periods of time.

All depends on the cat.
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