Pet Travel Preparation Tips: How to Crate Train Your Cat

Tips for Cat Crate TrainingCat Crate Training Tips That Work

Planning a relocation that includes your pets adds a fair amount of prep work to the equation. Not only do you have to research pet import requirements, schedule vet visits, and buy an airline-approved travel crate, you'll need to help your furry friend feel comfortable spending time in the crate as best you can.

Some pet owners are lucky to have dogs or cats that tolerate or even like stepping into their home-away-from-home, but others have a challenge at hand. Based on general personality traits it seems easier to help dogs gradually accept crates and learn to treat them as a safe and cozy place, but we all know that cats can be a different story.

Before you throw up your hands in defeat imagining a lot of hissing, scratching, and yowling from your one-of-a-kind kitty, take a look at the following tips and give crate training a try. Your cat will probably never love the experience, but with time and patience applied to the situation, you can at least remove some of the discomfort.


It's a problem if cats only associate travel crates with being jostled around in the car and then taken into the vet's office to be poked and prodded. Try leaving the crate out in a room where the cat often goes so that the sight of it becomes less of an event and just a part of everyday life instead.


Always leave the door open and place toys inside the crate to pique feline curiosity. When the cat goes near it or inside it, offer praise and maybe a yummy snack. Soon your little skeptics will begin to put two and two together and will look to you for a handout each time they step inside.


Don't expect change to happen overnight. It might take weeks to see any progress, but with steady exposure and positive reinforcement, even the most stubborn kitty will show signs of progress.


Once your cat no longer freaks out at the sight of the crate and begins treating it like just another box to crawl inside of, it'll be time for some practice runs. Take a car ride around the block to start, and then try some longer drives so that when moving day arrives, that longer journey won't be such a shock.

Talk to your vet if you have any particular concerns about cat travel, and don't hesitate to ask your Pet Relocation Specialist for their own tips and advice, as well. We have lots of experience moving pets of all breed, size, and temperament, so don't be shy!

Have a dog? These tips generally apply to canines, too, but here are our favorite dog crate training tips



PetRelocation Team


Air Travel, Ask the Experts





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By Gisel on June 5, 2018 at 10:48 pm

Hello, I am traveling from Orlando,FL to Puerto Rico in three weeks and I am going to bring my two cats. I am very concerned to when is going to be the time to pass them through security because one of them is very nervous around people. Does anyone know if the airport provide with a room so they can can scan the crate and the pet will no have to be exposed to the crowd? Thank you, Gisel.

By Maegan at PetRelocation on July 16, 2018 at 11:33 am

Hi Gisel! Where and how your cats will clear customs will depend on how what airline your pets are traveling on into Puerto Rico and how they are traveling (as manifest cargo, excess baggage or in-cabin). We only book flights for pets arriving into Puerto Rico as manifest cargo so can only advise on the arrival process for this type of travel. However, if we can be of assistance, please let us know!

By Chantel on June 3, 2018 at 10:33 pm

I’m worried about putting my cats on a flight to Australia. Are they allowed in the cabin with me or do I have to put them in cargo? My one cat has high anxiety and I don’t feel he will do well apart from me. The other would probably be fine but I don’t like the idea of not knowing how they are doing on a long flight.

By Maegan at PetRelocation on July 16, 2018 at 11:30 am

Hi Chantel! Australia requires all pets to arrive as "manifest cargo" in the cargo hold so your kitty cannot travel in-cabin with you. Here are the requirements for moving pets to Australia. When completed properly, cargo travel is perfectly safe. Feel free to read more about Pet Cargo Myths & Facts. Please let us know if our team can be of assistance. Hope this helps!

By Sarayu on May 26, 2018 at 11:24 am

Hi,I am bringing my cat back to India from the Cayman Islands via the US and Qatar. I am worried about the length of travel (close to 30 hrs) plus having to change airlines in Miami while in transit and how my cat will adapt to all this and how he will manage his bathroom needs. I am thinking of taking Qatar airways but concerned about the heat in Qatar during transit. Any suggestions?

By Maegan at PetRelocation on May 29, 2018 at 4:17 pm

Hi Sarayu! Thanks for your comment. If you fly Qatar Airlines, you can request that your pet get a "comfort stop" at Qatar's pet hotel in Doha. However, it would be best to schedule a long layover in Miami so that your cat can get a potty break before his next long trip.

If you are looking to DIY with your cat flying in-cabin, check out our “all encompassing” DIY airline booking post that includes all our favorite pet friendly airline guide links for one easy reference. Hope this helps & please let me know if we can be of assistance!

By Martin Parr on May 26, 2018 at 11:07 am

I may have to move back to Australia from the USA with my two cats late next year. Does the quarantine period that I can do here in the USA mean boarding them with my vet here or can they just be confined inside at our residence whilst under going the necessary vaccinations and blood tests?

By Maegan at PetRelocation on May 29, 2018 at 4:09 pm

Hi Martin! The first step is to get a rabies titer blood test completed in the US, and then your cats must wait in the US 180 days before imported into Australia. Australia only requires they stay in the United States during this 180 day wait, so they can be confined to your house - they do not have to be at a quarantine or boarding facility. Hope this helps!

By Anais on May 22, 2018 at 2:45 pm

Hi, I am planning on moving back to France with my two cats end of July. Our itineray should be Houston-Amsterdam, Amsterdam-Marseille. I would like to use KLM as they have good reputation. When I contacted them, they said a 2 hours layover would be enough... I am worried that it won’t be enough time, but also I don’t want the layover to be too long and add stress to my cats. What are your recommendations? Thank you !!! Anais

By Maegan at PetRelocation on May 24, 2018 at 11:26 am

Hi Anais! We always recommend at least a 4 hour layover in Amsterdam so that your pets can have a "comfort stop" at the KLM Animal Hotel.. Feel free to check out our KLM booking guide here for all the details. Hope this helps!

By Becca on April 4, 2018 at 1:28 pm

I am moving 2 cats (both are approximately 2 years old) from Chicago to Puerto Rico. The total transit time will be around 6-8 hours, the direct flight is 5 hours. They are extremely anxious cats in the car and when they are outside their comfort zone. I would prefer to sedate them for the bulk of the travel, but I have been warned that sedation can be unsafe and even cause death in animals. They received small doses of ketamine from the adoption agency the day we took them home and they were fine. Is sedation safe? Should I worry about them getting sick? We are taking them to the vet a month in advance to discuss our options, and we are currently crate training them.Thank you!

By Arunima Paul Ghosh on April 22, 2018 at 8:47 am

I too have the same question. Can someone help?

By Maegan at PetRelocation on April 24, 2018 at 3:11 pm

Hi Becca & Arunima, thanks for your questions!

Regarding sedation, the answer is a firm "no." Sedation is dangerous because it interferes with a pet's normal coping systems and may disrupt regular breathing. Most airlines will not accept pets that have been sedated. Instead, try working on crate-training in the months before you move so that your cats see the travel crate as a normal and safe place to be.

We also recommend talking to your vet about any health-related questions you may have and working to make sure your cats are as fit and hydrated as possible before the journey. The cargo area of the plane is pressure and temperature-controlled, and when you choose a pet-friendly airline they will be handled by trained professionals dedicated to safe pet travel. Hope this helps!

By Anita McKee on February 25, 2018 at 10:17 pm

What is cistcto ship 3 cats from Sacramento to Minneapolis?

By Christina at PetRelocation on February 26, 2018 at 3:32 pm

Hi Anita! We are happy to contact you with an estimate for this move. Please fill out our consultation form and a relocation consultant will contact you as soon as possible. Thank you!

By Beth on February 2, 2018 at 6:03 pm

I plan to travel a cat from St. Petersburg Russia to the United States, changing planes in Frankfurt, Germany. Most likely I will use Lufthansa Airlines. Is it best to fly the cat in cargo or in the cabin with me? I plan to acquire a health certificate in St. Petersburg. Are there any special regulations for my layover in Frankfurt? And are there any additional regulations when arriving in my home country of the United States?

By Christina at PetRelocation on February 5, 2018 at 11:47 am

Hi Beth,

Depending on the size of your cat, Lufthansa may require you to fly her in cargo (a maximum weight of 8kg including the transport container). Sometimes the additional commotion and noise in-cabin can increase the stress of pets, but it is ultimately up to you as you know your cat best. If you do book her with cargo, Lufthansa is a pet-friendly airline that has a specific pet program in place, including a layover relief stop at the Lufthansa animal lounge in Frankfurt. When booking the flight, please be aware that Lufthansa requires a 4-hour minimum layover for international pet travel (as manifest cargo). As long as your layover is under 24 hours and your pet remains in the airport, you won’t need to meet requirements for importing her into Germany. It will be considered a transit country on your way to the US. You can view a list of requirements for importing pets to the US here. Hope this helps!

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