Flying With Older Cats

How to Travel Safely With Older Cats

Elderly cat flying in cabin or cargo

Planning pet transport for young, healthy cats can be stressful enough, and arranging a move for an older pet can be particularly overwhelming.

That doesn’t mean senior cats can’t travel safely, but preparing them for an international or cross country relocation simply requires a little extra time and effort. Read on for a few tips from our expert team of Relocation Specialists as you start to plan your cat’s safe move.

Special Considerations for Flying With Senior Cats

Note: Every pet move is a little different, so let these tips serve as general guidelines and contact a PetRelocation Specialist to learn more about your specific relocation options. We'd be happy to help!

Flying with Older Cats: Tips for Safe and Comfortable Travel

As pet owners, we want the best for our furry companions, including safe and comfortable travel, whether for a short trip or a big move. When traveling with older cats, extra care and preparation are needed to ensure their health and well-being. Here are some tips to help you and your senior feline friend have a stress-free flying experience.

Check with Your Veterinarian

Before making any travel arrangements, you must schedule a visit with your veterinarian to check your cat's overall health and discuss any concerns or questions you may have. For senior cats, a geriatric exam is recommended to uncover any underlying health issues that could affect their ability to travel. Your vet can also advise you on specific travel requirements, such as vaccinations, medications, and health certificates.

Crate Training

Crate training is essential for cats who are not used to being in a carrier or have had negative experiences with them. Start the training process several weeks before your trip by gradually introducing your cat to the crate and providing positive reinforcement with treats and toys. Make the crate comfortable with a soft bed, familiar blanket, and toys. Also, ensure the crate is spacious enough for your cat to stand, turn around, and lie comfortably.

Food and Water

Older cats may have more sensitive stomachs, so offering small amounts of food at least a few hours before departure is best. Avoid feeding them before the flight to prevent motion sickness or digestive problems. As for water, it's crucial to keep your cat hydrated during the trip, so make sure the water cup is securely attached to the crate and filled at check-in. It's also a good idea to freeze water in the cup before the flight, so it will slowly melt and provide a steady water supply.

Choose a Pet-Friendly Airline

Not all airlines are pet friendly and have the same standards and policies when transporting pets, so it's essential to research your options and choose a carrier with a pet-safe program. Look for airlines that provide temperature-controlled environments, adequate ventilation, and regular check-ups during the flight. Some airlines even offer special accommodations for senior pets, such as priority boarding and extra attention from the flight crew. 

Stay Calm and Positive

Cats are sensitive to their owners' emotions, so staying calm and positive during the trip is crucial. Exercise and meditation can help reduce stress and anxiety for you and your cat. If you have any concerns or questions about your cat's travel, don't hesitate to ask your pet relocation specialist for advice and support.

In summary, flying with older cats requires careful planning, preparation, and attention to their specific needs. Following these tips and working closely with your veterinarian and pet relocation specialist can ensure a safe and comfortable journey for your senior feline friend.

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