Home YOU ASK - WE ANSWER Can My Elderly Cat Fly With Me?
Can My Elderly Cat Fly With Me? PDF Print E-mail

Q: Mems is 15 yrs old, and except for needing daily medication, he’s in good health. However, recently, whenever I’m away from the house for even one day, he won’t eat until he sees me again. I need to spend a week with family in a city 500 miles away, and I want to take Mems with me. I’d never put him in baggage, but I understand some kind of cage is required if he rides with me. What are the rules and costs?

Cat in bag


A: Only cats and small dogs are permitted to be the aircraft’s passenger cabin, so unless Mems weighs more than 20 pounds, he’s OK to ride with you, but must stay in a container. Make sure you take enough of his medications with you to last the week you’ll be traveling, plus another week’s worth in case you’re delayed. If you believe Mems also needs some kind of sedative if he’s a nervous traveler, ask your vet to recommend or prescribe one.

Also, check with your vet or pet store owner about choices for carry-on pet containers. They’re more comfortable for the cat if they’re soft-sided plastic, rather than rigid material. They should be large enough for your cat to stand up and move around. Inside, they must be water-tight, padded for comfort, with adequate screens on at least two sides for fresh air and to allow your cat to see out.

The cat must stay in the container throughout the flight, although many times we’ve seen owners take them out once or twice to stretch their legs. If the flight is longer than an hour, take some dry cat food, and because individual water containers may not be allowed aboard, ask the flight attendant for some in a plastic cup.

Taking Mems as your flight companion isn’t cheap. Here are some prices: American, United and US Air $100, Delta and Midwest $75 and Northwest $80. When booking your flight, check with your airline about requirements for taking pets in carry-ons, prices and other information. And for both you and Mems, have a happy flight!

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