How to Travel with Cats


I know I took a little break from blogging. Well, I updated the weekly Funday Monday and Friday Favorite posts, but does that really count? Depends on your perspective I guess. I had to take a week off though from regular posts. I had to recover from a full weekend with family and friends in Denver. I had something going on at every opportunity and I loved every minute of it, but I also needed a “TIME OUT” moment.

Now, the sole purpose of going back to Denver was to pick up {Orion and Pluto}. The one pictured above is Pluto waiting for the vet. HE’S SOOOOOOOO CUTE! 🙂 Give that cat something square and he is all over it. Doesn’t matter if its a sink, a box, or a table. If it’s square, he’s there! After doing some research on how to travel with cats I realized their wasn’t a lot of information out there. So, I thought I’d do a post about it.

{Step 1} Visit your vet and inform them that you plan to travel with your cat(s). Keep in mind that most airlines require a health certificate, issued within 10 days of departure. If you have more than one cat, you can have both listed on one health certificate {SCORE!}. During my vet appointment, she did a health and wellness examination, as well as, prescribed a sedative for the cats. After all, mine are very vocal in the car and I’d hate to disturb my fellow passengers.

{Step 2} After your vet visit, try out the sedative on your cat(s). This is extremely important because you need to see how they react to it and confirm they’re not allergic to the medication as well. My vet wanted to ensure they’re sleepy on the sedative but not passed out. The prescribed dosage didn’t affect Orion at all (think extremely talkative on cat nip) and Pluto was just “tired” but was feisty. Not exactly the outcome I was striving for, so I’m glad I didn’t ignore this step.

{Step 3} Check your airline for their pet travel policy. I flew Southwest and found out that they both had to be in the same carrier, the price increased, the health certificate was required, and I had to “check-in” my pet 24 hours prior to departure. This was completely different to what Mr. P had to do with {Mars} a few months prior with the exact same airline. All because they updated their policies. Be sure to double check the airline pet policy because you’d hate to miss your flight or the unthinkable – not take your cat!

{Step 4} Airlines have different policies on pet carriers. However, there is one standard – must be well ventilated.  Luckily I already had a pet carrier that was approved, however, it didn’t have with a shoulder strap. There was absolutely no way I was going to carry 21 pounds of cat through DIA in a pet carrier without a strap. So, I took the shoulder strap off one of our other carriers and used it for the trip. If you can find a carrier that has wheels and fits within the airline requirements, DO IT! I’m still recovering from some bruises on my shoulders. They were worth it though…see?


{Step 5} Pack the health certificate, health records, and have a copy of their tags with you. I had the microchip number on a separate piece of paper just in case one of them got lost. Now is a good time to grab one of those free paper baggage info tags, write your final destination on it, your cell number, and attach it to their collar. This is important because if you do end up separated, they know the cats final destination. On a separate, but current note: I highly recommend that your permanent pets tags have your cell number on them. Usually when you lose an animal you’re OUT looking for the animal. I can’t tell you the number of times Mr. P and I have rescued a neighborhood pet only to find out the number on the tag is to a home phone number.

{Step 6} Arrive at security at least 3 hours prior to your departure. This can appear to be a little excessive, but stick with me on this one. When I made it to the security line, it was backed-up and took over a half hour just to get to the x-ray machine. Once you get to the x-ray machine, slide your animal through the machine. JUST KIDDING. DON’T DO THIS!! Please don’t do this. 🙂 Instead, inform your TSA agent you have a live animal, you’re requesting a private room, and you are willing to wait. Why the private room? Well, the cats have to come completely out of the carrier, they have to inspect the carrier, run it through the x-ray machine, and then test your hands. Are you seriously telling me I was supposed to hold onto two cats? Remember the 21 pounds of sleepy-cat weight? Uh-huh! It took over a half hour to get screened by a TSA agent in a private room, and then another half hour for the screening to take place. The screening itself didn’t take long; it was waiting for the carrier to go back through the x-ray machine. So, what did we do while waiting in the private room? Well, my sweet girl {Orion} was walking all over the room and hissing at everything. Even the chair. I’m very thankful I had the private room and opportunity to give {Orion} a little bit more medication. How did {Pluto} do? He couldn’t even stand on all four legs and gave up. I couldn’t imagine trying to hold onto a wobbly {Pluto} while giving drugs to {Orion} without that private room.

{Step 7} When you reach your gate, inform your flight attendants of your live animal. Also inform your fellow passengers next to you that you have a live animal. This isn’t to set-off alarms, but as a courtesy just in case they have allergies and want to take the opportunity to choose a different seat. For me, I purposely went to the back of the plane and picked a window seat. I figured that anyone who was on a Southwest flight and in the back wouldn’t care as much. And they didn’t. They were actually curious of the entire process!

{Step 8} Remember when I talked about how fundamental a scarf can be on a flight? Well, I found another one. I placed my scarf over the cat carrier like a blanket which kept any little “meows” to a minimum. I also had an evening flight, so the scarf prevented the reading light disturbing their peaceful little sleep.

Those are my steps to successfully travel with multiple cats. Of course, if you have any additional questions, I’m happy to answer them.

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5 thoughts on “How to Travel with Cats

  1. Thanks for sharing. I LOVE this post!! I’m still laughing at “Once you get to the x-ray machine, slide your animal through the machine. JUST KIDDING. DON’T DO THIS!! Please don’t do this.” How did your cats react when they reached their final destination? I don’t think Manolo would survive.


    • 🙂 adding that piece of humor was almost too easy.

      Pluto was irritated and acted like a grumpy old male. Orion was very cuddly and an attention hog. So, pretty normal. 😉


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