Should I Sedate My Cat for Air Travel?

Hello PetRelocation,

I'm taking my cat on the plane but am super concerned about having to take him out at security. He can be aggressive when anxious. My vet prescribed 10mg Acepromazine for my 15.5 Ibs cat but I feel reluctant giving it. What are your suggestions? Sedative or not?




Hi Anke,

This is an important question. Owners sometimes wrongly assume that their pet's travel will be less stressful if they are sedated. However, sedating a pet when flying is dangerous and is one of the worst things you can do for the safety of your pet.

Sedatives can interfere with regular breathing and other bodily responses, and pets may react differently and unexpectedly to medications when they are in the air. In fact, most airlines will not fly a sedated pet, as over-sedation can be a cause of animal death during air transport.

Check out more information about the the dangers of sedating pets during air travel and the best alternatives:

Also, some of our clients have explored various natural products that can have calming effects (think herbal remedies) -- this is worth asking your vet about or checking your local pet store. You can also place a T-shirt or blanket in the travel crate that smells like you or that reminds him of home. 

Above all, the best thing you can do to ease your cat's anxiety is to make sure that he is properly crate-trained. The more comfortable your cat is with his crate, the less anxious he will be during travel, and the less likely that he will show aggression at the airport.

Should you have any more pet transport questions or if you think you'd like some assistance carrying out your move, feel free to contact us. Thanks for your question and good luck with your pet travels!


Pet Travel Question Details:

Name: Anke
Number of Pets: Three
Pet Type: Dogs, Cat
Pet Breed: Mastiff, Bloodhound, Siamese mix
From: Austin, TX
To: Denver, CO


Editor's Note: This post was originally published in August 2013 and has been updated with new information.


PetRelocation Team


Air Travel, Ask the Experts




United States


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By Jmick on May 7, 2017 at 11:29 pm

What about simple sedation. Like you give your pet or a cat a pill or some kind of treatment before flight so that they are calm down because they are not used to flights sedation why do they do it at the vet obviously the vet is a professional but there has to be a way to easily sedate

By on May 8, 2017 at 8:50 am

Sedation is neither allowed nor recommended. Rather, crate training is key to helping pets feel calm during a flight. You can also place a T-shirt or something that smells like you in the crate, and many people also try natural/herbal remedies. Feel free to discuss with your vet, but remember that actual sedation is not a good idea. Good luck!

By Gaynor on May 11, 2017 at 3:03 pm

I have just booked my 2 year old retriever dog and 9 year old cat on the plane from the canary islands to the UK, Both are very nervous, my dog hates noise or people moving things. My cat stresses in his carrier just 5 mins in the car, he pants like mad and howls and sometimes messes in the crate. I will be leaving in July and will try and crate train them but I'm terrified that they will be so stressed on the flight. I have natural pet calmer sprays but can you give me any other advice . Thanks

By on May 11, 2017 at 3:14 pm

Hello Gaynor, thank you for coming to us with your question. We really cannot stress enough that crate training is the absolute best way to prepare anxious pets for travel. If you need tips for how to do so (for example, leaving the top off of the kennel first), please visit this page for cats ( and this one for your dog ( As Caitlin mentioned above, it's also a great idea to have a blanket or an old T-shirt that smells like you in the kennel to offer more comfort. The more "practice" your pets get in the kennel, the better so it's a good thing to start crate training as early as possible. Good luck! Hope this helps!

By maria magan on July 21, 2017 at 9:15 pm

My cat already flew ( 4. years ago) and will not go near the crate. Impossible to retrain him

By on July 25, 2017 at 8:27 am

Hi Maria, sorry to hear your cat is having difficulties with the crate.

As stated above, sedation is simply not recommended or allowed, so if you're planning a move we'd be happy to discuss your options with you.

As always, we also recommend discussing your crate-training challenges with your trusted vet, as well. There may be a natural remedy that could help, or you may need to simply spend more time on various crate-training techniques in the hopes your cat will eventually start to see it as a normal place to spend time.

Hope this helps! Please let us know if we can be of assistance and good luck with everything.


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