Flying with Your Cat Onboard

Flying with Your Cat Onboard

Have you ever thought about flying with your cat when traveling?

My husband and I were flying home from a vacation when we heard over the airplane speakers, “There is an emergency with an animal. Are there any veterinarians on the plane?” As I had just graduated veterinary school and was not practicing, I was sure there was someone more qualified than I, to take the call.  Five minutes later, the flight attendant repeated the message. I appeared to be the only saving grace.

I walked up the aisle to find a young couple traveling with a stressed out cat.  The cat had anxiously managed to chew through his cloth pet carrier and was sitting with big eyes in his pet mother’s lap. The couple looked up at me and asked if I could pill their cat.  I said I could, but would need someone to restrain him because cats don’t often take well to being pilled.

flying on an airline with your cat

Consider learning proper pet holding restraints before flying on an airline with your cat.

Sure enough, the cat’s reaction to the pill was sheer terror.  The cat managed to jump out of the pet owner’s arms STRAIGHT AT THE FACES of the man and woman sitting behind them.  Luckily, the owner was quick enough to catch the cat in mid air. Next, the cat used the owner’s lap as a trampoline and diverted it’s escape underneath the seat of two people across the aisle a few rows ahead of us.

The owners were frantic. The cat in face people were stunned. The people that the cat ran at next were frantic. That poor terrified feline soul was in a state of utter anxiety.

Retrieving the cat from under the aisle seats, I gently placed it back in the arms of the pet mother.  A sense of relief seemed to come over the cat, and the second time around was much better.  I explained to the owner that a side effect you may see is a little foam at the mouth from the pill. The cat was properly restrained, pilled and relaxed. Unfortunately the flight attendant did not have any  duct tape to patch the soft material pet carrier.  The cat remained on the owner’s lap as I returned to my seat.

I think back to this scenario often when I am taking flights. So often in fact, I decided to write a quick article on tips for people who are planning to take their cat on a flight.

Consider these 6 quick tips for safe travels with your feline friend:
flight with your cat

Look for hard casing for the safest cat carrier.

1. The Pet Carrier

Use a hard under the seat carrier. As depicted by this scenario, overly anxious cats may chew through soft carriers.

2. Bring Emergency Stress Relief

Get a prescription of emergency anxiety medication from your veterinarian.

3. Learn How To

Have a veterinary technician demonstrate a proper restraint technique and a quick how to tutorial on how to pill a cat. This will ensure that your cat, yourself, and other passengers can safely make it through an extensive flight.

4. Bring Pill Pockets

Remember pill pockets or wet cat food to mix the pill up in in case you need one. You can hide the pill in the food, and give this to your cat as a treat. A cat’s response to kindness is far better than a cat’s response to force.

5. Get a Syringe

Before your trip, consider asking your veterinarian for a syringe. If your pet does not take the pill pocket you have a syringe handy for water in case you need to pill your cat.

6. Emergency Baggy

Pack your emergency medications with the dose/directions, syringe and pill pockets on a carry on or in your purse for fast retrieval.

7. Your Kitty's Weight

Have your pet’s latest weight on hand in case of a medical emergency.

Taking your kitten, cat, or cats along on a plane can be stressful. These quick 6 tips will aid you the next time you are flying with your cat onboard. – Travel Animal Doctor

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2015 Jessica Claudio, DVM




  1. A cat loose on a plane – what a scary thought, poor thing! Our cats have flown separately from us – the bipeds were frantic until they’d collected them. The cats seemed less stressed then the bipeds!
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