Air travel has become more democratic and is now almost part of our daily lives. Yes, but when it comes to flying with his favourite fur-ball, it's still an adventure ! The first difficulty is that cats are casual animals, who generally do not like to travel. But above all, air travel with its strict constraints and strict safety rules makes traveling with his pet quite complex... but not impossible ! Here are the main things to know.
Find out more before you take your plane tickets
Most airlines accept cats aboard their flights, but each has different rules. Generally, these animals are accepted in the cabin up to 8 kilos (carrying bag included) but sometimes this limit is fixed at 6kg or 10 kg. In other cases, the animal will only be allowed in cargo or freight : as much as possible, we advise against this option which can be very uncomfortable for your cat.
In any case, inquire directly with the companies when taking your tickets. Also purchase these in advance, as there may be only one animal on board per flight. Finally, it should be noted that restrictions apply to snub-nosed animals (or "brachycephalic animals"). For cats, these include the Sacred Breeds of Burma, Persian, Himalayan, Exotic Shorthair and Scottish Fold. For these feline breeds that have difficulty regulating their temperature, air travel is indeed likely to cause respiratory problems.
Be well prepared for the trip
Once the tickets are purchased, a little preparation is required. You will have to find a bag or a travel case for your cat. Again, inquire about the rules applied by the company. For in-cabin travel, the carrying bag should generally be able to fit under the seat in front of you. It will also have to be able to close (your cat will have to remain in his basket during all the flight).
Another must: make sure to respect all the formalities of your cat for the trip. Depending on the company or destination, they may differ. In general, your pet will need to have all its vaccines up to date, be identified by a microchip and have a "passport" authorising him to travel. In short, a few weeks before your departure a visit to the veterinarian is necessary ...
Allow extra time on the day of flight
Before the day of departure, be sure to notify your company again (at least 72 hours in advance) that you will be traveling with an animal. On the same day, arrive well in advance. It may take a little more time to check in your luggage than usual. At this time you will indeed generally pay a price supplement for your cat. This varies according to the company: some will charge an extra luggage fee, others have a special extra rate (which may be high for long haul flights).
The other "critical" moment will be the passage of security checks. You will have to take your cat out of his basket so that he can be scanned. The ideal is to have a leash or a harness to prevent that kitty, probably quite stressed, will escape from your arms at this time. Proceed with this method : prepare all your things for the control (computer, liquids ...) before taking your cat out of its basket. After this step, you will only have to take a well deserved rest in the boarding room before taking off !