Thursday, April 7, 2011

Audrey and some Advice

So a little while ago, I dropped a hint that my cousin Audrey might be coming to live with us. You see, my human sister is getting married in June and her fiance is allergic to cats. So the plan is that after the wedding, my humans will bring Audrey back to live with us. But here is the thing: they will have to do that on a PLANE, and Audrey has never gone on a trip before, and my humans have never taken a cat on a plane before. They can get a booking for her to go in the cabin with them in a soft carrier, but they are asking for anybody who has had some experience with traveling by plane with a cat to please give them some input about what to expect, and how the experience worked for them. What did you do about the cat needing pee or poo during the trip (from the time of leaving the first house until arriving at the second house, including time at the airport - they estimate this will be a total of about 6 hours if everything goes off on time). Did your cat cry on the plane? Did it freak out? Did you sedate it?
Thanks everybody!


  1. My friend was not allowed to carry hers on the plane. It had to go under the plane, so she sedated it. This kitty is very lucky it doesn't have to do that!

  2. We're glad Audrey can ride in the cabin but we don't have any advice for her since we've never experienced that. It's too bad she can't stay with your human sister after she gets married but we suppose the husband does have to live in the house. At least she gets to be your sisfur!

  3. Have you talked to your vet? Certainly they have seen people how have traveled with their pets. Audrey's vet may offer a sedative to keep her calm even if she doesn't sleep the entire way.

  4. Do not fly Delta! They have a terrible record with carrying animals. There have been a number of high-profile reports over the past few months of pets who died or were lost on Delta flights. Google it and you will see.

    I have never flown, nor have my roommates, but my human has been on planes where kitties were fellow passengers. One had a human who was seated right next to her! The kitty was in a special carrier that was meant to fit under the seat in front of her, and she was not supposed to take her out (although she did, and boy was the flight attendant mad!). The kitty did poop towards the end of the flight, but there really wasn't much her human could do until the plane landed. My human, who is used to cat poop smell, did not care.

  5. We've never flown so we don't have any experience here. Like someone else mentioned, maybe your humans could talk to your vet. We hope all goes well!

  6. I have taken cats in the cabin and as "luggage".

    I had to sedate one cat, and the others not. Depends on how nervy Audrey is. If she's a wreck in a car, or is afraid of her PTU, then ask the vet for some tablets.

    The thing is to give them plenty of water up to an hour before you go, then your kitty is hydrated but not bursting to pee. A water bottle with a valve like those you get for guinea pigs is nice for long flights, ie over 3 hours.

    Stop feeding your cat 2 or 3 hours before the flight so you don't have a poo problem.

    A secure PTU with 3 sides covered is better than an open cage type PTU as your kitty will feel safer (but you knew that!)

    AND DON'T OPEN THE CAGE! I know you know that too, but really it's amazing how many people will come and casually open the PTU "to see what's in there". Idiots.

    Good luck Audrey, and see you soon.

  7. The Britcats all flew over in big cat crates, but Äiti was not with them - she was waiting at the airport! However they had some lovely thick 'vet bed' material
    which it was fine to pee in as it is really absorbent. However they were so well-behaved they didn't pee or poop and that was maybe for 12 hours!!! The people who traveled with them said that a couple were quite excited and loved watching out of the carriers. They had no sedation.
    It was important to get them used to the carriers, as one of them was a bit sensitive in dark carriers and used to poop, but these carriers were nice and light instead so there were no problems.
    And PLEASE do not fly Delta - I have no personal experience but some of the stories I have seen have been heart breaking. And cruel.

  8. I know someone on Twitter dat does fly on a commercial plane, in a cabin. I'll try to tell her tomorrow to come see your blog. She probably has some good tips. I know another one hwo is going to be flying with two kitties in the plane - in the cabin. But she doesn't have the experience yet.

  9. I just left a message for her to come visit your blog. MizzBassie is her name.

  10. Hi, MizzBassie here. I've flown with 4 different cats many times from Miami to New York City and back. Total time in carrier 6-8 hours (12 hours once with delays). Have had a few accidents, mostly with with urine. I line the carrier with a puppy training pad and take several pads and plastic bags along. I check the pad before boarding the plane. Once you are on the plane, it's very hard to get into the carrier to clean anything up. Some people actually take along a little litter and give kitty a chance to go in the airport bathroom but that never worked for me so I stopped doing it.

    All my cats stayed quiet throughout the trip (even the one that cries all the way to the vet's). They may have meowed once or twice (usually to let me know about an accident) but not constantly or loudly. I've never sedated any of them, beyond letting them get high on catnip before leaving home.

    When going through security, the cat needs to come out of the carrier and be carried in her human's arms. I always have a harness and leash as well as a collar with an ID on the cat. If you don't have an ID, ask your vet to give you one of those sticky collars they use for inpatients and write kitty's information on it. I've never had a cat try to bolt but better safe than sorry. Having a harness is also good because it means you can let the cat out of the carrier to stretch out a bit while in the terminal (it's not allowed but I've never had any trouble about it.)

    Most people have been helpful and kind. Kids are thrilled. I've met only one snarky person and a few allergy sufferers or cat haters that had their seats changed without any fuss from the crew. Overall, it's been a positive experience.

    I'm sure I forgot something, so if you have any questions, email me. I'm at gmail.

  11. We hope Audrey has a very quiet journey to your home Simba and there are no delays.
    Luv Hannah and Lucy xx xx

  12. Hi again Simba
    Looks like some expert advice here. I was wondering about puppy pads - might be worth checking that there are no chemicals in them that are released to neutralise pee smells which might cause irritation if the pads can't be changed for a few hours ?
    Good luck!

  13. #1 carted her first cat, Ikkyu, all over the world with her. He always flew in the cabin and most often on flights that were 12 or 13 hours long. #1 would carry a collapsible litter tray (bought from Drs. Foster & Smith) and litter (including a little from his litterbox) in her hand luggage and would take Ikkyu to the facilities, whether in the airport or plane and set up. It always worked fine. By the way, he never pooped in all the years he travelled, only peed! And he was never sedated. Our vets always advised against it. You can give the kitty a little Rescue Remedy, though. #1 thinks that Ikkyu was just happy to be with her.

  14. I'm so happy you got some very good suggestions.

  15. MizzBassie gave you excellent advice! Our Teri has flown many times with various kitties and she was going to give exactly the same recommendations as MizzBassie. She used to travel with small litterpans (actually chinese take out food containers, and some cats used them-others not. Now she just takes a small ziploc bag of litter, and if there is a layover or delay, she takes us into the ladys bathroom and goes into a corner sorta private and lays down a pad (either a puppy pee pad or an incontinence pad made for human) and sprinkles some litter on it and we get a couple of minutes to decide if we have to go, then we are back in the carrier.Like MizzBassie, she also puts a pee pad in the bottom of the carrier and brings along extra gallon size ziploc bags and baby wipes to clean up any accidents (she only had to do that one time in many trips and just went in the bathroom to do it.

    If you don't have a carrier already, her favorite is the Bergen Comfort carrier. Another nice one is the Sturdi Bag but the Sherpa bags are nice to. Just don't get one of those trendy doggie bags as they just aren't secure enough for a cat. Teri even puts twisty ties on the zippers to secure it more (the Bergen bag actually comes with a attached clasp to secure the zippers!)

    Yes, the harness and leash is a must, as nothing would be scarier that getting loose in the security area! We wear collars and tags and are microchipped anyway, but those paper collars that vets use are a great idea. And just like MissB, Teri lets us out to stretch our legs in the waiting area and no one has every reprimanded us for it even though they say it's not permitted. But she never let's us out on the plane, and she always asks the people sitting next to her if they are allergic or have a fear of cats as then they can reseat us if needed.

    And depending on the airline, you will need a health certificate and current rabies vaccination (some airlines don't require a health certificate on cats traveling in the cabin but they all require current rabies). Their vet will examine the cat and write the certificate and that usually needs to be within 10 days of travel, depending on the airline.

  16. Oh, and the Poupounettes had good advice about sedation too...Rescue Remedy is a good choice, best if started a couple of days before travel. Teri never sedates us with anything else as the effects are way too variable and not recommended unless you use something that the cat has taken before and you know how it works on that particular cat. The most common drug used by vets is acepromazine and the dose is 1/4 to 1 tablet per 10# so you can see there is a wide margin of dosing and unless you try it before the cat travels, you wouldn't know what level is best for your cat. Our vet rarely recommends it.

  17. Wow, that is so great that you got so much good advice. We don't have a clue since non of us have ever had to go on an airplane. It does sound like it is best to have the cat in the cabin with you. And the doggie pads sound like a great idea. Please keep us updated.

  18. Looks like you've gotten some good advice, but please go for the seat open...the other is deadly!

  19. You got some good advise Simba.
    We were gonna tell you about the training pads. Mom has to use those for us -- because I will not on into the box. I use the pad. They work great. No leakage. We had heard from others that when going through security they will remove the cat from the carrier. So a leash is a must. PLEASE make sure to take the cat in the cabin, if you do any research you do not want your cat in the holding area. DELTA is terrible, so we hope they are using another airline. Too many kitty deaths on Delta and they do not care.

    >^..^< >^..^< >^..^< >^..^< >^..^<
    Abby Ping Jinx Boo Gracie

  20. I've thought of using baby wipes but I decided not to use them on the cats because I don't know whether the cleaner might harm the cat when it cleaned itself. So if I have to, I use bottled water and paper towels or napkins that you can get at the airport. Less to carry that way.

    Interesting about puppy pads giving off anything irritating when wet. I always thought they were filled with the same stuff as diapers and to only issue was the moisture, but I admit I don't know that for a fact.

  21. Hello! We have commuted with cats between LAX and JFK , PHL. The cats have always traveled cabin with us. We always try to get an upgrade to first class since we have found if you are in cabin with an aisle seat the carrier will get stepped on unless you are very cautious .We use human disposable incontinence pads in our carrier, two deep although we have rarely had accidents. Since the carrier will sit on the foor, be aware it will be colder there than seat level. We always bring a blanket to cover or place under the carrier. I take at least one shoe off if my foot is chilly, the cat will be chilly. A harness and a leash is a must. Not just a collar.. No elastic. Keep the harness and leash on the cat in the carrier. We had one cat who was very spooked at security. When her bag was in zipped, she flew out clawed me on the left side of the face drawing lots if blood. Thank goodness for the leash! I was able to stomp my foot on the leash and prevent an escape. Thank goodness I had gloves too because getting a frightened cat that has grown 16 legs back in a bag was not fun. This was my only bad experience. All other trips were uneventful. Have whoever is picking you up bring a disposable litter tray with them in the car. My cat Arthur made numerous trips between LA and PHL or JFK.. The flight crew got to know him and would always welcome him aboard as a frequent flyer.
    I would practice with the harness, leash and bag. Be sure your zippers on the bag dont stick and can be zipped quickly Oh and do not fully unzip the bag until your hand is on the leash.

  22. Simba, we have no advice, but we love reading all the great advice here.

    We will just sit and wait for the arrival of your new sister and will welcome her with open paws to the CB!

  23. Thanks so much to everybody who has left advice. And keep adding more if you have any!

  24. No advice but I do hope you two get along when she arrives.