The image of a cute cat in a cat carrier

Essential Packing List for Flying with Your Cat

Sometimes you don't have an option to leave your cat behind and have to come with it on a trip. We have two cats (Bunnie and Rosie) that have taken a couple trips with us. To take a stress free international or domestic flight with your cat, you need to prepare adequately.This guide is based on my family's experience and lists what I believe you need to know about flying with your cat, from choosing the right carrier to handling post-flight recovery.


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Essential Packing List for Flying with Your Dog Infographic


Best Cat Carriers for Air Travel: Comfort Meets Safety

When selecting a cat carrier for air travel, your top priorities should be comfort and safety for your cat. Look for carriers that are airline-approved, which are safe and easy to transport. These carriers should fit under most airline seats and also provide enough ventilation and secure zippers for ease of access. Remember, a comfortable cat is a calm cat, so choose wisely!

How to Choose a Cat-Friendly Airline for Travel

Choosing the right airline is crucial when flying with your cat. Airlines like Delta and JetBlue are known for their pet-friendly policies and offer cabin access for small pets. Before booking, verify the specific pet policies on the airline’s website to ensure they accommodate cats and check for any breed or size restrictions. This will help you avoid any surprises at the airport.

Essential Documents for Flying Internationally with Cats

When flying internationally with your cat, you'll need more than just a passport for yourself. Ensure your cat has all necessary health certificates and vaccination records as required by your destination country. It’s wise to consult with your vet and possibly a pet relocation service to ensure all paperwork is complete and compliant with international pet travel regulations.

Preparing Your Cat for Their First Flight Experience

Preparing your cat for their first flight involves familiarization with their carrier and some dry runs. Place the carrier in your living room a few weeks before your trip, encouraging your cat to enter it by placing treats and their favorite toys inside. Short, gradual car rides in the carrier can also help acclimate your cat to the sensations of travel.

Tips for Keeping Your Cat Calm During Flights

To keep your cat calm during the flight, consider natural sedatives or pheromone sprays1. Covering the carrier with a light blanket can also reduce stress by blocking out the hustle and bustle of the cabin. Additionally, a familiar-smelling item, like a blanket or a piece of your clothing, can provide comfort and reassurance.

Bunnie and Rosie 2 cute cats on the floor playing
This is Bunnie and Rosie and we have had them for two years now


What to Pack in Your Cat's Travel Kit

Your cat’s travel kit should include all essentials: food, water, a portable litter box, waste bags, and any necessary medications1. Pack a favorite toy or two to keep your cat entertained and comforted. It’s also smart to include a first-aid kit tailored for pets.

Navigating Airport Security with a Cat: A Step-by-Step Guide

Navigating airport security with a cat requires patience and preparation. Keep your cat in their carrier until you reach the security checkpoint. You’ll likely need to carry your cat through the metal detector while the carrier is x-rayed. Practice at home to make this process smoother and less stressful for both of you.

The Importance of Hydration: Water for Cats on Planes

Hydration is key, especially on long flights. Pack a collapsible water bowl in your carry-on and offer water to your cat during the flight. Avoid overfeeding before the flight to prevent discomfort and nausea but provide small amounts of water regularly to keep them hydrated.

Selecting the Right Sedatives for Cats on Long Flights

Consult your veterinarian about using sedatives for long flights. They can recommend the best type and dosage to keep your cat calm without causing harm. Remember, not all cats react the same way to sedatives, so it’s important to test them well before your travel date.

How to Handle Layovers When Traveling with Cats

During layovers, keep your cat secured in their carrier. Find a quiet corner in the lounge where you can open the carrier to check on them and offer some comfort. Avoid the temptation to let your cat out during this time, as busy airports can be overwhelming and pose escape risks.

Feeding Your Cat Before and During a Flight

Feed your cat a light meal a few hours before departure to prevent an empty stomach, which can cause discomfort and nausea. Avoid feeding during the flight to prevent motion sickness. Instead, focus on hydration and comfort until you can provide a full meal post-flight.

Creating a Cozy Space for Your Cat on the Plane

Make the space inside the carrier as comfortable as possible. Line it with absorbent bedding and a soft blanket. If the airline allows, slightly opening the carrier to pet your cat can greatly reduce their stress.

The Best Cat Litter Solutions for Air Travel

Opt for a portable, disposable litter box that can fit in your cat’s carrier. There are several compact, travel-friendly options that won’t take up much space but will allow your cat to relieve themselves comfortably.

How to Deal with Cat Anxiety and Stress in Airports

Airports are noisy and crowded, which can stress your cat. Keep their carrier covered with a breathable cloth to block out stressful stimuli and speak to them in a calm, soothing voice1. A pheromone spray can also help reduce anxiety.


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Essential Vaccinations Before Flying with Your Cat

Ensure your cat is up-to-date on all necessary vaccinations well in advance of your trip. This not only protects your cat’s health but is also often a requirement for airline travel.

Understanding Airline Pet Policies for Cat Owners

Familiarize yourself with your airline’s pet policies to ensure a smooth travel experience. This includes understanding size and weight limits for pet carriers, as well as any fees or additional requirements.

Packing Checklist for Cat Travel Accessories

Create a checklist of all travel accessories you’ll need for your cat, including their carrier, travel kit, documents, and any comfort items. This ensures you won’t forget anything important.

How to Find Cat-Friendly Hotels at Your Destination

Research cat-friendly hotels at your destination before you book. Websites like BringFido can be helpful. Look for hotels that offer pet amenities, such as welcome treats, pet beds, and on-site pet services.

Emergency Vet Services: Planning for Health Issues Abroad

Identify emergency vet services near your destination in case of unexpected health issues. Keep a list of local vet clinics and their contact information handy throughout your trip.

Travel Insurance Options for Pets: What Cat Owners Need

Consider purchasing travel insurance for your pet to cover any medical emergencies or travel interruptions. This can provide peace of mind, knowing that you’re covered in case of unexpected events.

Post-Flight Recovery Tips for Cats After Air Travel

After a flight, give your cat time to adjust to their new surroundings. Offer them water and a quiet place to rest. Monitor their behavior and health closely for the first few days after travel.

Choosing the Ideal Carry-On and Checked Luggage for You!
It is important that you choose the right choice of carry-on and checked luggage before you travel. Consider the Loomis Travel Carry-On for its sturdy build and smooth operation, or the Loomis Travel Wheeled Checked Luggage for a resilient and budget-friendly option. Loomis Travel Luggage offers a blend of elegance, functionality, and ease, positioning it as a perfect selection for your travel requirements.

Packing Checklist for Flying with Your Cat

  • Cat Carrier: Airline-approved, comfortable, and secure.
  • Airline Research: Check pet policies, including cabin access and fees.
  • Travel Documents: Health certificates, vaccination records, and any required international paperwork.
  • Carrier Familiarization: Help your cat get used to the carrier through gradual introduction and treats.
  • Calming Aids: Natural sedatives, pheromone sprays, or familiar-smelling items.
  • Cat's Travel Kit: Food, water, portable litter box, waste bags, medications, and a first-aid kit.
  • Airport Security Preparation: Practice carrying your cat and handling the carrier.
  • Hydration Supplies: Collapsible water bowl and easy access to water.
  • Sedatives: Consult with a vet for appropriate types and dosages.
  • Layover Management: Secure handling and comfort checks during layovers.
  • Meal Planning: Light meal before the flight, avoid feeding during the flight.
  • Comfortable Bedding: Absorbent and soft bedding inside the carrier.
  • Portable Litter Box: Compact and disposable.
  • Stress Reduction Tools: Breathable cover for the carrier and calming sprays.
  • Vaccinations: Ensure all are up-to-date before traveling.
  • Understanding of Pet Policies: Familiarity with specific airline requirements.
  • Travel Accessories Checklist: Ensure all necessary items are packed.
  • Cat-Friendly Accommodations: Research and book in advance.
  • Emergency Vet Services: List of local vets and clinics.
  • Travel Insurance: Consider options for comprehensive pet coverage.
  • Post-Flight Recovery: Quiet space, water, and close monitoring post-travel.

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About the Author

Dr. Dickson W., is an Atlanta-based research scientist, passionate traveler and CEO of Loomis Travel, the direct to customer luggage company you can trust featured below.