A journey with the cat in the airplane is still more unpopular with the quadrupeds than the stay in the car. Unknown smells, loud noises and pressure equalization make the flight unpleasant even for calm house tigers. But unfortunately it is not always possible to avoid taking the cat with you in the plane. But no matter whether you are moving house or staying abroad for a long time: with a little preparation you can make the flight as pleasant as possible for your cat.
The legal side
If you want to dare to fly with a cat, you should ask the airline about the current regulations beforehand. While some airlines do not allow any animals in the cabin and only carry them in the baggage compartment, others allow them to be carried in the cabin. However, the regulations differ in terms of weight and size of the transport basket. In most cases, a textile transport bag, which is expressly approved for air transport, is preferred. As a rule, the animals must be registered at the time of booking and often a certain fee must be paid.
If you are travelling abroad, the entry regulations of the destination country must also be observed. Information on this can be found on the homepage of the respective embassy. Depending on the entry regulations, the chick will need a health certificate or certain vaccinations. An EU pet passport is also a must. Please do not forget to carry all documents during your journey!
Cat on the plane: Medication
Even if you want to do something good for your cat: Sedatives are not recommended for air travel. Many airlines even expressly prohibit them. The reason: drugs have several times the effect in the air as strong as on the ground, and the effects are hardly predictable. This is why more and more airlines are switching to not transporting sedated animals – neither in the transport area nor in the cabin.
If you want to calm your cat, you can use pheromone sprays like Feliway or Felifriend or Bach Flower Emergency Tropics instead. “Anxiety globules” available from pet shops consist of a Bach Flower mixture in the form of homeopathic globules. Supplementary feed with the amino acid tryptohphan is also said to promote the release of the happiness hormone serotin in the brain and thus lead to more serenity.
The security check
At the security checkpoint, animals travelling in the passenger cabin must be removed from the kennels. Ask here for a separate room and point out that a lost cat does not help anyone and considerably delays air traffic – persistence is often worthwhile!
During the flight
Preparing for the flight is an exceptional situation – the time spent in the aircraft and the pressure in the cabin, which increases with altitude, are anything but pleasant for your cat. The reaction of the four-legged friends is different when flying with a cat: some become calm, others complain loudly. Still others panic or breathe quickly. No matter what happens: During the flight cats must remain in the carry bag the whole time. This bag must be closed according to regulations and remain in its place. These airline regulations have their reasons: No one wants your cat to escape on the plane Possible allergies or phobias of fellow passengers and hours of searching for the cat should be avoided.
Depending on the length of the flight, you may want to give your cat a little water in between or calm her down. A small sip of water or a piece of cat paste will motivate your cat to swallow and can help equalise pressure. Not every cat wants to drink during the journey. Despite thirst, many furry noses refuse to drink. Trusty animals can be injected with a disposable syringe without needle into the mouth on very long journeys. The zipper of the carrying bag can be opened easily and the syringe can be handed in by hand. But don’t be hurt if your cat backs off or even hisses. Staying in the plane is a real exceptional situation!
Thanks to air conditioning it is often cool in the plane. A cloth over the transport basket can protect the cat from draughts. However, not every furry nose likes to travel in the dark. But many transport bags have several windows that close with Velcro and can be opened again as needed.
Finally – landed! But with the arrival at the airport the journey is in most cases not over yet. Depending on whether you have flown abroad, you may have to go through customs control. They are not always interested in pets – but in any case you should have your cat’s health certificate and pet passport at hand. Without these, no entry and often no return journey is possible. Further information can be found on the homepage of the respective embassy.
After the flight
Once at home, in your holiday home or in your new home, your cat will be a bit wobbly on his feet. Give her a lot of rest and let her arrive first! During the acclimatisation period Feliway or Bach Flowers can also help.
You and your cat “have a good trip” and all the best!