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Flying Tiger - Umh! - Flying Cat

September 19, 2011

Tags: order, airline, altitude, Boston, cabin, cargo, carrier - air-line-approved, cat, Flying Tiger - Umh! - Flying Cat, harness, health certificate, Houston, leash, pressure, San Diego, sedating, stress, suffocation, traveling with pets, vaccination, vet

We will fly to San Diego in about ten days, for a four-months sabbatical. Although somebody will be at home, we decided to take Otto, the cat, with us - he might miss us otherwise. Or we him.

Traveling with a pet is a bit of a nightmare. And Boston - San Diego means a lay-over in Houston; there are no direct flights. My first inclination was to put Otto in the cargo hold so that I didn't have to see his suffering. A bit cowardly, I know. But Otto is the type of cat who nicely curls up beside you for hours and hours of traveling; we do it to Maine all the time. And then gets to be a growling, ripping fierce defender of his freedom if you confine him into a box.

Of course, the airlines don't allow the cat out of the carrier on your lap. What to do?? - Reading up on the Internet, cargo looked less and less like a good idea; animals seem to die there, being exposed to extremes of temperatures and pressures. Then I thought of taking him into the cabin, sedated. According to the Internet, sedation is another bad idea; the animal might suffocate when it is too drowsy to move after it toppled. The numbers seem small - but I love my cat.

Here is what emerged as my plan:

- Booking in advance (which I did today) as only one animal is allowed in the cabin at a time.

- Using a soft, air-line-approved carrier (we own one). Pad it with a familiar towel, etc. and have a dark cloth at hand to cover the carrier. Animals seem to endure the stress of being confined and pushed around better in the dark.

- Taking a leash and harness because the carrier needs to go through the x-ray machine.

- Get a certificate from your vet that the cat is free of communicable diseases and that vaccinations are current. Not all airlines ask for it, but it is better to have it handy.

- I still have not decided if I should get a sedative, at least, just in case. I will discuss it with the vet.

Do you have experience with bringing pets across the continent and want to share them?
Aspen eyes, by Peggy Peters

Iguazu Falls, by Xin Liu

Alexa Fleckenstein M.D. 2012, by Lolita Parker jr.

Tags - see also the non-captalized entries below!