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 tvmlj on November 9, 2017 at 9:44 am

Hi, we have 4 adult cats and 1 baby cat. We want to bring them from the Philippines to New York. We want to be sure that they will travel safely.

By on November 10, 2017 at 10:20 am

Hello and thanks for reaching out!

We understand your concern for your cats' safety -- moving can be a stressful event for pets and their owners.

To ensure your cats have a safe journey, we would recommend crate training them (with the tips listed above) and selecting a pet-friendly airline to transport them. Lufthansa, KLM, and United are a few examples that you may want to look into.

We hope this helps get you started in the right direction! Should you need further assistance, please let us know here. Safe travels!

By T C on November 14, 2017 at 6:30 am

Hello. I am an American living in Beijing, China. On Saturday, I am planning to fly my cat to another city in China. It is mid-November and the forecast says the high of the day will be 42 degrees. I'm wondering about safe ways to make his crate warmer for him. I worry a bit that 42 degrees is too cold for being outside too long. I can control the exposure to the elements while I have him, but not once the airline takes him, I worry he will be outside for a while.I'm also worried about his bathroom needs. I must have the cat checked in 2 hours before the flight takes off. It will probably take an hour at least to get to the airport. Then, it's 2 more hours by plane to our destination. He will be in the crate the entire time. What should I do? Thank you!

By on November 14, 2017 at 9:42 am

Hello and thanks for reaching out!

Your concerns about the temperature are certainly understandable -- we recommend padding your cat's kennel with a few blankets to help with the cold. This is allowed by airlines and is the best way to prepare the travel crate for warmth. Make sure these items are not important to you or your cat, as they may be discarded if soiled during travel.

Also, as far as bathroom needs go, you can pack some shredded newspaper in the back or one of the corners of his crate. It may be best to add a layer of puppy pads or another absorbent material underneath this area. Litter is typically not allowed by the airlines so this may help give him the area he needs to relieve himself.

Keep in mind that most cats actually hold it in during travel and, though it seems long, his travel time is not too bad. Be sure to have a litterbox ready for him when he arrives, just in case this occurs.

We hope this helps! Good luck with everything and safe travels to your kitty!

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 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!

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

What is cistcto ship 3 cats from Sacramento to Minneapolis?

By 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!

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