With the summer months steadily approaching, it’s almost time for vacation and, more specifically, travel. Travelling can be pretty stressful, for both you and your four-legged friends. The ASPCA urges pet owners to think twice about flying their pets on commercial airlines, especially if they plan on checking them in as cargo. Unless your cat is small enough to fit under your seat and you can bring him or her in the cabin, the ASPCA recommends pet owners to not fly their animal. If you have already committed to transporting your cat on commercial airlines, it’s not the end of the world – rather, you just need to know the skinny on how to do so safely.
Here are some tips for safely traveling by air with your cat:
– First, make an appointment with your pet’s vet for a checkup and make sure that all vaccinations are up-to-date. For travel outside of the continental United States, additional planning and health care requirements may be necessary.
– Make sure your pet has a microchip for identification and is wearing a collar and ID tag.
– Book a direct flight whenever it’s possible – it will decrease the chances that your pet is left on the tarmac during extreme weather conditions or being mishandled by baggage personnel.
– Write the words “Live Animal” in letters at least one inch tall on top of and at least one side of the crate. Use arrows to indicate the upright position of the crate. On top of the crate, write the name, address and telephone number of your pet’s destination point. Line the crate bottom with some type of bedding—shredded paper or towels—to absorb possible accidents.
– Place a current photograph of your pet to the top of the crate for identification purposes. Also, you should carry a photograph of your pet with you.
– Tranquilizing your pet is generally not recommended, as it could hamper its breathing. Check with your veterinarian first.
– Tell every airline employee you encounter, on the ground and in the air, that you are traveling with a pet in the cargo hold. This way, they’ll be ready if any additional considerations or attention is needed.
– If the plane is delayed, or if you have any concerns about the welfare of your pet, insist that airline personnel check the animal whenever feasible. In certain situations, removing the animal from the cargo hold and deplaneing may be warranted.
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