Holiday Travels with Your Cat, Part 2

Here’s part 2 of the travel series. And now that I’m thinking of parts, I’ve been thinking that I need to add a 4th part – pet-friendly hotels. So that’ll actually be tomorrow’s topic, and then the day after that, I’ll tell you about how to make your kitty most comfortable if you really must leave your kitty behind.

Today’s topic will be about airlines, buses, trains and cars.

PassportGroupWRFirst, though, let me start off by saying that if you’re traveling somewhere that requires a passport of you, it’s a good idea to get a passport for your kitty, too. Pet passports are more common in the EU than here in the states. That doesn’t mean that it’s a bad idea to get one. So how do you get one? The process is as long and tedious as getting your own passport, so make sure you get one for your cat well in advance of your travels. The first part is checking in with the embassy of whatever country you’re going to so that you know what that country expects of your cat. Then you’ll want to visit with your veterinarian and have them help you and your kitty to meet all the requirements for travel (and it’s never a bad idea to have a vet check out the health of your kitty before you leave no matter how you travel or where you go, even if you’re not taking your kitty with you). You then have to send a completed health certificate to the USDA Veterinary Services center in your state to get that certificate endorsed. And don’t forget to take your kitty in for those passport photos!

pets-on-a-plane-1No matter which airline you choose to fly on, check with them on their pet policies before you buy your tickets. Some airlines are not so pet friendly while others are. And make sure you choose an airline that allows you to bring your cat inside the cabin with you … we really aren’t fond of being stowed in the baggage area under the plane; it makes us super nervous and scared and lonely. We’d much rather be with you!

So far, I haven’t heard of an airline that has no fee for bringing your pet onboard with you. The fees are usually much cheaper than a full fare ticket, though. The fees typically range from $75 to $125 each way. And some airlines charge per carrier rather than per pet. So if you have to kitties that can comfortably fit in an airline approved carrier, by all means, keep them together. Pairs travel better together and tend to be a bit less stressed (as long as they get along – if their relationship is somewhat strained, travel together might make that worse – when in doubt, go for a car ride with them both in the same carrier, with a spare in the car so you can separate the kitties if things get bad, but make sure to separate the kitties with all of your car doors and windows closed).

collapsSome things to bring along when you travel are puppy pee pads so that you can easily change (and throw away) any messes that are made (did I mention my sister Penny gets the poop literally scared out of her when she travels?). Also, there are collapsible pet dishes you can bring along with you for water and food during rest stops. We may not feel comfortable enough to eat or drink, but offering and encouraging us to do so is not a bad idea. Check in with a vet if we don’t eat, drink or go potty in any 24 hour time period (sometimes we get super stressed and forget to do these things which can be bad for our health). And make sure you bring bottled water (it’s easy to pour small amounts into the collapsible bowl from these).

Some airlines that accept cats onboard: Air Canada, AirTran Airways, Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Airlines, Frontier Airlines, Horizon Air, JetBlue, Southwest Airlines, Spirit Airlines, Sun Country, United Airlines, US Airways, and Virgin America. Rumor has it that Virgin America is pretty awesome when it comes to us pets, but I’ve never flown (except for down the street in my stroller), so I can’t vouch for them (or any other airline).

So, next is trains. If you’re planning on taking your cat with you on that Amtrak trip across the U.S., don’t. Why? Because Amtrak only allows service animals. Sheesh, what’s a cat to do? I’ve always wanted to see the countryside by train!

How about Greyhound? Nope, sorry. No cats allowed on Greyhound either. Just service dogs.

I think us cats need to picket Amtrak and Greyhound – they’re petist (get it – petist – like sexist or racist or agist?)!

cat_driverHow about that car ride? You betcha. Let’s go!!! But only if the drive is within a 2 hour span. Oh, wait, I guess that’s just me. If you’re planning on going anywhere by car with your cat, I would make sure to keep your cat in the carrier at all times, have a harness and leash that are on your cat, and bring the same supplies you’d bring on an airline with the addition of a small litter box (some grocery stores and pet stores sell small disposable ones that fit perfectly on the back seat floorboard).

Just remember that with all this traveling, you need to give us a break. We’ll be at our worst and let you know all about it, too. Keep loving us anyway; we’ll eventually return to normal.

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