One of the most challenging experiences that we had in terms of moving abroad was moving our cat. I adopted Lu in the United States at a shelter. Admittedly, she’s not so keen on traveling, but I knew that when we moved abroad that she had to come with us. Since then, she’s traveled with us to four countries following our various moves around Europe by plane and by train. I include my experience traveling with my cat internationally, some tips for traveling with your cat, and my favorite cat traveling accessories, including an airline approved pet carrier.
I urge you not to underestimate how many hours it takes to properly research flying with your cat to your destination as well as preparing them for the move. Cats are creatures of habit and it can be very traumatizing for many cats to be uprooted from their home. I can’t really say that it’s fun traveling with a cat, but sometimes it comes to this when making a significant move abroad with your cat.
- Tips for flying internationally with your cat
- Traveling with multiple cats
- Why you shouldn’t put your cat under the plane
- Should you drug your cat for travel?
- What you need to do before traveling with your cat
- Cat traveling essentials
- The best airline approved cat carrier
- Our experience flying internationally with a cat on a transatlantic flight
- Our experience flying within the EU with our cat
- Our experience taking the Thalys with a cat
Tips for flying with your cats internationally
Before you travel with your cat internationally
In general, I recommend not traveling with your cats unless you’re moving for a significant period. Both of my cats do not travel well and if it’s a few weeks, I found that it was better to board them at a facility rather than bring them with me to a destination where the paperwork would make my life more complicated.
In general, it’s generally cheaper to buy a round-trip ticket rather than a one-way ticket. Try to time the way back with when you think you’ll next head home, so you only need to purchase the way back to your new home.
If you intend to fly internationally with your cat, you need to carefully check the requirements of your final destination as well as possible transit destinations. Your cat needs to be healthy in order to fly. I had to first ensure that she was up-to-date on her vaccinations. Talk to your vet.
Some countries require a rabies vaccination to be given a certain amount of time ahead. As a result, you’ll need to plan at least 1-2 months ahead if you’re traveling from a high rabies country as a blood test may need to be done and your cat will need to have their vaccines done in advance. I had to bring my cat in for a check-up shortly before flying in each case to ensure that she was ready.
If you can minimize your travel time, do it by getting a direct flight. Your cat will appreciate it. Your cat will be stressed, hungry, and tired from the travel. Fewer flights will reduce the likelihood that you have a delay or missed transfer.
If you have a rolling suitcase, I recommend putting your cat carrier on top and rolling your suitcase slowly. I’ve tried a couple of ways in terms of minimizing trauma when traveling en route to the airport using public transit/walking and this way worked the best. It’s smooth, your cat is less likely to be jostled within the bag, and they can look out more easily!
If you can travel with your cat in the cabin, do it. I felt so guilty every time that I’ve traveled with Lu, however, it’s a small relief to be able to see how the cat is doing. Your cat might be deeply unhappy, however, at least you can give them water and pet them to calm them if needed. Just be careful about unzipping the bag, so they don’t escape!
Book your cat’s plane ticket in advance. Most airlines that allow animals on board have a limit on how many animals can be brought with you. I had to pay extra to bring Lu as my “carry-on” item and she had to fit in the space near my feet in her carrier.
Traveling on the plane with your cat
As soon as you get on the flight, talk to the flight attendants as well as those around you to check that nobody is allergic. Similarly, it’s good to notify the flight attendants of your furry friend on board just in case something goes wrong.
Keep your cat’s documents with you somewhere that is easily accessible. You might need to show them several times, so don’t put them away in your suitcase. I keep mine in the side pocket of my cat carrier. I have been rarely asked for them, but you never know!
Make sure that your cat carrier has a tag that states your information on it, including your phone number. I made sure that Lu was wearing a collar that stated my phone number on it, just in case she ran off.
The biggest risk in losing your cat is during security when they must be removed from the carrier to be carried through security with you. If you can find a non-metal collar, that’s probably best as you might need to remove the collar during security. I also had a photo of her on my phone, just in case.
Get through security when it’s not so busy and find a quiet place to sit. I recommend giving yourself extra time at the airport. That said, airports are really loud places and if you’ll be there for a while, find a quiet corner away from music, security, and people talking loudly to sit. Your cat will thank you!
Clip your cat’s nail before you travel. You’ll need to carry them through security most likely…and it’s not fun being clawed into with sharp kitty claws.
Avoid feeding your cat 4-6 hours before traveling. I caved during my flight with Lu and gave her a treat, which resulted in her pooping (a small bit) in the litter box. Obviously, for cats, this is not comfortable. I recommend carrying a small folding cat bowl that can be used for water if needed. I bought a water bottle once through security just to give Lu water as needed.
Once you arrive at your destination with your cat
Once you’re somewhere less chaotic and enclosed, let your cat out. They’ll probably be a bit traumatized from the journey as well as hungry/thirsty. The sooner that you can get a litter box, the better as they’ll probably need it.
Check with your hotel that it’s cat-friendly before you go. I find that dog-friendly hotels are often surprised that you want to bring a cat, but you’ll pay a premium for finding a cat-friendly hotel. Even if they say that they’re pet-friendly, not all will accept cats.
On average, you’ll pay 30-40% extra with the majority of hotels telling you no. It’s frustrating, but book your hotels/accommodation in advance as soon as you know your traveling dates. I always try to emphasize that my cat is very well behaved and doesn’t go outside.
Travel can be really hard on cats and it can take your cat weeks to get used to your new home. If possible, try to move slowly to avoid changing accommodations too often as they’ll want to be at home. I recommend looking for places with good windows (like our Paris apartment).
Traveling internationally with multiple cats
An acquaintance of mine contacted me about my experience moving abroad as she was moving with her two cats and one small dog. Airlines usually allow one pet per person, so she found out that it was cheaper to pay for a close friend’s round-trip ticket to her new home (e.g. a free vacation) than it was to have someone else bring her dog. Her friend got a free trip out of it and she got to bring her cats with her.
Why you should consider NOT putting your cat underneath the plane
Quite a few cat breeds, especially Persians, may have issues related to breathing and heat stroke. Putting certain cats into cargo may be a bad idea. Even if your cat is a mutt like mine, your cat might be hyperventilating during the flight. Coming with the uncertainty of not knowing what is going on and the sounds, your cat might be really anxious underneath the plane and/or have issues during the flight.
Some carriers will report the percentage of animals in their care that were injured or killed in transit. Choose carefully if you are considering putting your cat underneath the plane. Ask around if possible.
Lu tends to hyperventilate when on a plane and inside a car, so I opted to take longer to travel with her if it meant having her with me to check on her, even if there was a layover. I ended up going with Aeroflot due to their cat-friendly policy, which allowed her to sit near my feet!
Should you drug your cat for travel?
Talk to your vet about your travel plans. I’ve seen several vets about traveling with my cat. Only one of them recommended drugging my cat for travel while the rest said that it was enough just to use a calming spray. There are a number of other drugs, but you should discuss what is most appropriate with your vet.
Generally, cats are given something similar to Xanax (benzodiazepines) if they’ll be traveling a long distance. This is what my cat had gotten prescribed for our U.S. to Netherlands move, however, it left her disoriented and unable to sleep. Since then, I’ve not used a drug.
What you need to do before traveling with your cat
- 6 Months ahead: Book your cat’s plane ticket and find a cat-friendly airline.
- 5 months ahead: Find out your airline’s paperwork requirements for flying with your cat. Your cat might need to be microchipped with a different chip if it’s not the same where you’re traveling.
- 2 Months ahead: Talk to your vet about your travels. Ensure that your cat’s vaccines are up to date.
- 1-2 months ahead: Ensure that your cat’s travel documents are up-to-date. Possibly see the vet and make relevant appointments shortly before your travels.
- 1-2 months ahead: Organize relevant transportation (buses don’t usually allow cats) and cat-friendly accommodations in your new destination.
- 1 Month out: Buy a good cat carrier, calming spray, cat collar, a cat harness, and other relevant supplies (see below)
- 1 Month out: Call your airline to check that all is well.
- 2-3 weeks ahead: Take care of relevant travel documents (if required)
- Week of travel: Check-up with your vet to ensure that your cat is healthy to fly. Clip your cat’s nails.
- The day before travel: Give your cat a nice meal 12 hours before! Organize your cat’s travel documents. Spray the carrier with Feliway and leave it out for them to explore.
- Day of travel: Stop feeding your cat 6 hours before your travels. Get the cat into the carrier. Leave early for the airport. Keep calm and try to find somewhere quiet.
- Day of arrival: Buy litterbox and cat litter once you arrive. (You can bring a small litter box with you if you arrive late at night) Feed your cat and let them relax/sleep.
Cat essentials for flying internationally
The best airline approved cat carrier
I got this bag around five years ago. This Argo by Teafco Pet Avion Airline Approved Pet Carrier perfectly fits my cat (who is on the smaller side) and it’s built cleverly. Inside, you’ll find a leash that hooks into your cat’s collar as to ensure they can’t escape the bag. Similarly, there’s a way for you to reach your hand inside without the cat escaping if you wish to calm them. There are several pockets around the bag, which can fit Feliway, travel documents, and cat travel accessories.
Most importantly, I love this bag as people assume that it’s a carry-on bag, not a cat bag. Travel is stressful enough for my cat and having strangers trying to pet her doesn’t help. She can look out of the bag through the mesh sides without people peeking in, which has been great for international travel with a cat. ( In quite a few cases, I was never asked about the cat as they didn’t realize I had a cat with me.)
In general, I recommend getting a soft cat carrier if you’ll be flying internationally as your cat needs to fit underneath the seat in front of you. If your cat is larger, you’ll want to get a larger bag to ensure they have room to move around. There might be some squishing of the carrier, so it’s much easier to have a soft bag. (Every vet that I’ve seen in Europe has asked me where I got this bag.)
I recommend ensuring that your cat has a cat collar as you’ll probably want to use the collar to clip your cat into the bag (if possible) and/or connect them to the cat leash. You might need to remove your cat collar if it contains metal, so choose carefully. If you can attach your phone number to the collar, that’s great. Ensure that it’s snug, but not too tight.
Your cat might be frustrated inside of the bag. I found the cat harness to be helpful,
Folding cat bowls
You cat might get thirsty during the journey and once you arrive at your destination, you’ll want to feed your cat. It was really helpful having folding cat bowls as it enabled my cat to eat as soon as we got cat food. (I brought some with me in a plastic bag.)
Feliway has helped my cats travel. This spray mimics cats pheromones given off by mothers to help calm kittens. It can help reduce stress in some cases. I recommend putting an item of your clothing that smells like you and spraying it with Feliway before putting it at the bottom of the carrier.
Portable Cat Bed*
As I had to get rid of the cat bed that my cat loved, I ended up buying a smaller foldable cat bed that was in my house for a few weeks before my travels. My cat liked it as it was a good way for her to feel safe in a new environment. Similarly, it was squishy enough that I used it as a pillow in transit.
Portable Litter Box*
If you’re arriving late at night, you’ll want to bring a portable litter box with you as litter is typically easier to get at some late night shops/supermarkets, however you generally need to go to a pet store for the litter box.
Our experience flying internationally with our cat on a transatlantic flight
My first international flight with my cat was flying from New York to Amsterdam via Moscow. When moving to Amsterdam, flying Aeroflot with the cat was our best option for an affordable airline that allowed cats in the cabin. It took many hours to find a flight that would allow her in the cabin, but that was non-negotiable.
In our case, the paperwork involved my vet gave her an examination clearing her for flying prior to submitting the paperwork to a federal agency to be stamped. Ask your vet for the procedure for where you’re traveling. Some airlines have limited space for animals, so you should ensure that you reserve your cat’s place in advance. I reserved my cat’s place as soon as my ticket was booked.
On the day of our flight, we showed the paperwork as we checked our bags and headed through security. Security was difficult as Lu is very noise-sensitive and the various noises did not help at all. I was forced to take her out of the carrier as I went through the metal detector. She was very scared and clung to me. Once we were through security, she calmed down a bit.
Once on the plane, we asked everyone around if they were allergic to cats. (The passengers and the flight attendants doted over us and asked to pet her.) It was very painless. She was very quiet although very anxious during the flight. I checked on my cat at several points and she was too upset to sleep. As per our vet’s recommendation, we avoided feeding her during the plane ride and withheld food 4-6 hours before our flight.
Finally, once we arrived in Moscow for our layover. We put her on a cat leash and let her sit on one of the seats. She immediately curled up and took a small nap. Nearby, two burly Russian guys took selfies with her. On the next flight, she meowed quite a bit, but we managed to get to Amsterdam. We immediately went out and bought a litterbox for her as it was day-time.
Flying within the EU with a cat
If you’re traveling within or from the EU with your cat, I strongly recommend seeing if you can get your cat an EU pet passport. It will make your life a lot easier as it shows their complete medical record as well as recent examinations. Just a few days before our flight, we brought her to a vet for a pre-flight examination as required by our airline, who we booked her ticket through.
Last summer, we lived in Brussels while waiting for our French visas. We ended up flying with BlueAir, a budget European airline to Romania and France. The process was fairly decent as my cat already had an EU pet passport. She simply had to get examined by a vet in the days prior to the flight to clear her for health. At this point, she was up-to-date on her vaccinations.
I had Lu on a leash clipped to her collar. The most stressful part was security where one of the employees required that I take the collar off. I had to carry her through airport security, which was an immensely stressful experience for both of us. She tried at one point to jump back into her box as it passed through security.
The flight itself was fine, however we flew twice with her. It was quite hard on her and given the option, I prefer to take the train. That said, you will have limited options as most of the major bus companies in Europe do not allow cats on them, which is quite aggravating as a pet owner.
Taking the Thalys train with our cat
I’ve taken the Thalys with my cat between Belgium and the Netherlands and France and the Netherlands. Cats were free and allowed when I traveled, however I had to have all my cat’s documents in order (similar to a plane). She had stay underneath the seat.
When boarding the Thalys, you’ll need to scan your items. It was quite nerve-wracking going through the security line in Paris, which as outside next to the train tracks. I had to remove Lu from her bag and carry her through security. It was loud and I’d be a bit apprehensive about doing this with a cat who tends to run when they’re scared.
Once on the Thalys, I found my seat. The journey was uneventful and at one point, the conductor asked about the cat. On one journey, a woman next to me refused to sit next to me as I had a cat. (She was pregnant.) I was a bit confused, but she moved across the way with the permission of the conductor. The journey was easy and my cat was far more relaxed than traveling by slower trains and flying.
do you have a recommendation of a vet in The Hague who is familiar with what is needed for cat “import”? will be bringing my fluffy friends and want to be sure I have all the proper docs up front. I am not in an EU country right now so they don’t know the regulations.
Hi Molly, You should be able to ring basically any vet in the center of the Hague. I”m not sure if they’ll help you as you’re not a client (maybe if you promise to become a client!), but you should definitely check with your airline too. Depending on whether the country is high rabies, you might need to do an extra paperwork. There’s some good information on the various pet transit websites and it’s so different by country that I can’t say for sure. Best of luck moving to NL! 🙂
I suggest you contact the nearest consulate or embassy for the Netherlands, they should be able to help you. Otherwise, their should be the correct info on their government website or the corresponding EU website. I am moving to France from the USA and found clear instructions on the French government and EU sites. On the latter, I was able to print out the documents which needed to be filled out by the vet in the country of departure (with instructions on how it should be filled out) and also a copy of the EU pet passport which you can print out. Your cat will need to be microchipped with an EU approved chip and also have its rabies vaccine up to date. If the cats aren`t vaccinated for rabies they have to have a primo vaccine and may have to have a titration (?) done by an approved lab 3 months before travelling. I`d advise you to look into this as soon as possible as there may be time limitations for some procedures. Best of luck with your move!
There are U.S. Veterinarians that are specialized on preparing the needed documents and doing the health exam within 10 days of flight. Not every vet does this but every community has one. We have reserved the cat spaces 6 weeks prior to the flight (during Covid). It is true, if your cat does not have rabies shot yet, you need more time for preparing the transfer, one has to wait 21 days for the rabies shot before being able to travel. One has to submit the documents to the animal export department of your state, which provides a quick turnaround with courier service. If you stay in Europe and travel with your pet there for a while we recommend getting a European animal passport through a vet there. Some countries (Switzerland) are annoyed looking at the U.S. documents and feel suspicious about them or don’t take the effort to understand them. Once the agent did not want to check us on the flight from Zurich to Greece… until her supervisor did a great job in understanding the U.S. health certification papers. This can be stressful.
Thank you for all this great info Karen. I have traveled to several countries with dogs (diplomat husband) but never with a cat, you have helped a lot and reassured me!
I have 3 cats and will be making the daunting move from UK to Canada. It will be close to impossible for me to have all 3 with me on the plane (Probably 1 can go with me – as she is the most nervous) but they will have to sit in the belly of the plane.
i have discussed arrangements with PetAir, but after reading your blog speaking on dead pets absolutely worries me.
Have you any tips on how I can go around this?
Apologies, but I don’t have any easy answers. Can a friend help you with the move to bring another cat on the plane?
I have just been reading this blog for some reassurance and panicked at the same part you did.
I am doing Canada to the UK in the next few weeks and it’s basically impossible for me to have my cat in the cabin with me due to UK laws. He also has to do two flights in two days due to the current flight situation with COVID.
How did your cats do on the journey? I’m terrified something is going to happen to him and I won’t be aware. My cat is only 2 years old and healthy but I’m still so very nervous about it all!
I am confused as I have fo fly two cats from DC to Brussels. When I get there I have to take them to hotel take and then to a vet for EU passport right?How do I do that and how long does it take as I have to take a nother flight out? Can you leave airport without a passport?
I’d check with your airline as the EU passport is generally for cats already within the EU. It’s a good thing to get long-term once you have a vet. It takes quite a bit of paperwork/time though!
Thanks for all this recommendations and insights, even so we have some questions not sure if yourw famiwith:
Were curre3in The Hague and will be moving to Bangkok in August and we have 2 cats.
They can only for with KLM on the Cargo, and for that we need special cages that should be IATA approved, but we seem to find it difficult to find them here in Europe as to be 100% approved as they must have metal screws and so on ( do you know any approved one?)
Then the papers are of a different issue, and I think we can deal with it!
I am sure PetPlus should have a good cage. If you have already moved, I would love to know how it went!
Hi Karen…some great tips. Just curious to know how a 15 pound cat is able to fit
Beneath the seat, in a carrier. Can one simply purchase an additional ticket?
I recommend asking your airline as the weight requirement varies by airline. 🙂
Best of luck,
I traveled from Italy to Us with three cats. My big boy Orly also weighed 15 pounds. He did not make the requirements for under seat, so in the end I had to put them on in the as cargo in the hold to be able to take all 3 together. It was so stressful and very expensive. Especially nerve wracking as by law at least in 2014 , could not be on a flight longer than 10 hours. So we had to fly through a Eu city that had special overnight animal accommodation, which I was not allowed to check in on them as they were considered cargo.
They do get fed and cleaned checked by a vet at this point. When I got on board in the morning, I asked the flight attendant to confirm for me they made it on board, and soon the captain made an announcement: “to the lady with the cats, I confirm they are all on board! ” It all went fine, we arrived in San Fransisco, and it is still a bit of an ordeal to get the customs approval stamped and driving here and there to pick them up. Withstanding restrictions for traveling in very hot or cold weather also. I would try anything else to try and bring them on board in cabin, and finding the most direct route, or one that has a comfortable layover. They do make very light weight, ( a couple of pounds) carriers so he might just make the cut. If you have a long time you could put him on a careful diet to lose a pound ( but slowly!) I am about to return after several years with just one, who is fortunately in the weight category so I found a flight combination with a long enough layover to go to.a hotel and refresh before the next leg.
That’s a good idea to work closely with your vet for how to get your pet onto the plane and how to reserve a spot for them. My best friend doesn’t like to leave her cat during vacations so I’ll have to make sure she knows this. For me, I’d rather leave my cat behind at the vet’s boarding quarters so that I know she’s taken care of and doesn’t have to deal with the toll and stress of flying.
Alyson j long
We have to get our cat ( and a snake) from Australia to the UK – this is not going to be fun!
Thank you so much for this information. We are relocating to Ireland from the US next year with our two cats. I am worried about the travel but feel a bit more confident having read about your experience and tips. One of my cats meowed the whole way on a four hour car trip once, so I’m hoping the Feliway will help her, otherwise I may have to look into other options as I’m sure that will not be acceptable on a 10 hour flight. We also have two 5 year old children to contend with so it should be an adventure for sure! And I am getting that cat carrier! Thanks again.
Glad to hear that Brenda! Talk to your vet as they might have some recommendations.
Hey Brenda, we’re transporting a 5.4kg cat from Mexico to Ireland: how did you find your experience? It’s becoming a massive challenge for us, both in paperwork and maintaining our sanity. We want it to be as easy as possible for our little baby: have you any tips?
I’m moving to Paris for three months with my Exotic Shorthair kitten, Waldo. He’s very social and has traveled by plane, but I am counting on total time door to door from my West Coast home t my Paris apartment will likely be about 18 hours. He has his rabies shot, and all his vaccinations are up to date. I plan a visit with my vet in March (our flight is in early April).
Do you know of any good pet supply stores in Paris? I will be bringing almost none of Waldo’s equipment, and plan to buy a scratching post, litter box, and maybe a climbing tree in Paris. I’ll bring a portable littler box and bag of litter on the plane, his food bowl, and his favorite blanket. CDG is the world’s worst airport for humans, and I dread negotiating it with a 12 pound kitten (Waldo is enormous!)
Our apartment is in St. Germaine in the 6éme arrondissement. Any help or additional tips you have will be greatly appreciated. We are flying business class on Delta, so I believe Waldo will have a somewhat quiet, safe little space for this long long flight.
I went to my neighborhood ones, which weren’t within the 6e. You will be best to ask within the local Paris expat group for others’ recommendations. Best of luck with the move and hopefully Waldo will enjoy his new Parisian apartment. 🙂
Thank you SO MUCH! My husband and I are making a Trans-Atlantic move soon & this is the most thorough & *actually* helpful guide I’ve found.
Hi, I am
Curious if the airline staff will allow the cat to be out of her cage for few minutes. I know my cat will be way more secure if I have her on my lap (with leash so others are not afraid of her). She is not an aggressive cat AT ALL! We’re you allowed to take your cat out during a long flight?
I was told strictly that I wasn’t allowed to let my cat out.
i’m considering a move to london from nyc. do you know which airlines allow in-cabin cats on transatlantic flights? so far, it seems all of the major carriers (united, british airways, virgin atlantic, american airlines, norwegian, etc.) only allow cargo transport which is a no-go.
Apologies, but this list frequently changes. Best to check which airlines fly between the destination–and go through all of their policies
Did you manage to fly your cat? Turkish Airlines allows cats, plus 2 luggages as checked in bag, they are the best for US-Europe travel
Did your vet mention any risks with traveling even when they are in the cab of the plane? Do some cats get so stressed that they die from the long flight?
My cat is 16 now and I’m not sure if her age would cause problems traveling that far. I’m wondering if it would be a bad idea to take an older cat that far
Yes, there are risks associated with flying with older cats. This is why you should discuss the issue with your vet.
thanks so much for this information! We have to fly cats from the east coast of the US to France this coming summer. Do you have any recommendations for airlines. Is Air France possible? Also, of course, we are going to have to fly in the middle of this pandemic. Any suggestions as to the best way to do this? We are French citizens with US passports also, so we are authorized to fly between the two countries. But, I’m looking at this as being a nightmare scenario.
All the best and many thanks,
Apologies, but it’s really hard as some have suspended pet services during COVID. You will need to contact each airline, but I believe KLM might allow cats and AirFrance/KLM are technically one company 🙂
Hi – Thanks so much for all this great info! I’ve been stressed about our upcoming move from Canada to India with 2 cats (with one having a heart condition). The whole journey could take 24-30 hours total but we are hoping to fly with them. In your experience, what might be the longest flight duration a cat can handle? We will probably have 1 or more connecting flights with the transatlantic flight being about 12-14 hours long. I am concerned about them pooping/peeing on such a long flight. Also, during layovers are there pet areas at airports where cats can poop/pee? Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks once again for such insightful information.
Hello, can you share how it went, I am travelling my self 24hs journey by plane too, and I have the same questions you had before. Thank you so much in advance!
Thank you! Onni and I are about to take our first flight from Finland for a 6-month work stint in the UK, and I’m reading everything I can find. In case other readers are facing having to take their cat to the UK “as cargo” due to its entry rules, here’s a tip: you can fly into Paris with your cat and then hire a service to drive you both through the Eurotunnel, following proper customs procedures. It is NOT an inexpensive service, but in my case it worked out pretty much the same price as cargo. Our vehicle will have a large crate that Onni can move around in with his travel litter tray and bed.
Hello! Thanks so much for all the information you shared! I plan to travel from Austria to Brazil with my cat in a few months. I have some questions regarding the transatlantic flights. Did you feed your cat during the long flights? And what about peeing and pooping? I read in many blogs that it’s extremely dangerous for cats if they don’t eat anything in 8 hours, that could damage their liver. Could you share more information about it?
Please ask your vet for advice here. 🙂
Hi Karen, thanks for this very helpful and informative piece! You mentioned that if going away for just a few weeks, it may be better to find boarding or a pet sitter as cats are sensitive to changes in their environment. I will be away visiting family in Europe for six weeks over the holidays, making two stops in two different countries (thanks for the info on the pet passport!) What is the duration of time away that you personally consider bringing your cats traveling with you? I am collecting different opinions as I don’t think there is one “right” answer to this question, and it could also depend on the cat.
I try not to travel with my cats as they do not enjoy it. They stay at home. I would only bring them personally if I was going for more than 2 months or moving permanently.
Hi, I’m traveling from Dubai to Italy with a stop in Amsterdam and the company told me the second flight would be late of 3h, my concern is the trip would be 15h. My cat 1 and half year.old and he’s scared of everything.
There’s any per friend zone in Amsterdam airport? Also the carrier bag looks small for my cat for such a long trip. I want to be able somehow to take him out and make him feel more comfortable.
Also should I feed him in the time I wait the second plane ? I won’t leave my cat 24h without eating. I’m very worried.
There is a place for dogs, but not for cats in Amsterdam. If you have a leash or ask staff, potentially that is something that can happen. Airports are busy, so I am not sure that taking your cat out is always the best move either. Please ask your vet for advice.
I’ve held off moving back to the US from Australia because I was terrified to have my cats on such a long flight. This has helped a bit thank you, but I think I’m the one who will need Xanax not my cats! Anyone have tips for the parent on how to cope? Or what to do if your cat meows the whole time? I swear I’m more stressed out than they’ll probably be.
I felt the same, but I hope that your journey goes well. I was stressed too, but it will stress your cat out more if you are stressed out!
This has been super helpful! I am preparing to fly my cat from the UK to Singapore via Amsterdam. I had been reading that you can ask for a security search in a separate examination room and I was really hoping that would be the case, I take it you found airport security quite unforgiving with having to carry Lu through?
It depends on the cat. They were kind, but she was just scared and very skittish. A private room might be a good idea for some cats!
Thank you for this well written and thorough article. Can I DM you for specific questions that I have?
I am not flown in a long time with my cats, so I would encourage you to contact your airline!
Thank you for the tips ,I am going to travel with my cat this summer from Stockholm to Los Angles with a direct flight for 12 hours,I plan to take some food and littler box to use it during the flight but reading your article I understand that I should not feed my cat during flight?! And no litter box needed I was wondering how it is possible since I thin my trip door to door is around 18 hours can you please explain more how to take care of the cat during flight also can I bring out of her box little bit during flight ?!
That is a really long flight! Please ask your vet as it might be tough for the cat to go so long. I was advised not to feed my cat before and she was too nervous to go, but she had to go really badly when we got home!
In a couple of months I will have a terror flight with my 3 cats and 3 toddlers (4, 2, and 2 years old) . My mom is going to help me but am really afraid of the mess I will cause with the cats and the kids… We will fly from Mexico to Spain.
One of the cats is really large and tends to be aggressive (he is 10 years old) I wonder if it is safe to make him sleep during the flight.
We will have to take 2 flights, one domestic in Mexico and then the international. Total flight time will be approx 13 hs.
All recommendations are well appreciated.
I would recommend to talk to your vet or maybe arrange special transport for the one cat?
We flew from Arizona to Portland (3 hours total) with 2 cats when we moved and it was a nightmare. They cried loudly the whole way. I felt for them plus it was embarrassing. We had the spray (not that one though) and even used some relaxer drug (but were afraid to give them too much). Im not sure if Im brave enough to try it again, especially internationally.
I recently flew from my home in eastern Pennsylvania with my 2 year old cat the journey: took Uber from home to phl airport (2 hours) then a 3 hour wait at phl then 13 hour flight (on qatar airways) to doh and then 2 hour layover in doh and then 6.5 hour flight to Bangkok another 2 hours to get through customs and 1 hour to get to my destination in Bangkok. So doing the crude math my girl was in transit for well over 30 hours and she came through great! I give kudos to quatar airlways for her travel. One other thing I had a apple air tag on her collar which was helpful as I got a signal from it while in layover in Doha
My daugher has been living in Amsterdam for the past year and this summer, we are bringing her cat to her to live with her there. (btw, we are traveling from the US and total flight including layover will be about 12 hours). We will get all the necessary documents from the vet for her cat, however, my concern is his carrier for the flight. My daughter has a great one she has used when she has flown domestically (under seat in cabin with her), but I’m afraid it won’t fit the requirements for the airline for the international flight.Her cat is 13.5 lbs and fits fine in the carrier, but am afraid if I get s smaller one, they will say it is too small for him to move around…any suggestions? The current carrier is a Petsfit backpack carrier. Thanks for any suggestions.
The airline requirements are what matter most at the end!