There is nothing like air travel to reveal how ambivalent our human attitudes towards animals really are. Is your cat more like a baby, or a piece of baggage? Should you be allowed to bring it on board with you and the other passengers, or should it be thrown down in the hold with all the other things? If you are allowed to bring it on board, should you be able to calm and soothe it when it gets anxious, or should you have to keep it stowed under your seat at all times?
In the last few months, I’ve gotten several messages from women who are getting ready to move internationally, and trying to figure out how to get their cats safely overseas with them. They have no option but to fly with their cats. I’ve been in their shoes, and I know what it’s like. Moving is stressful. Moving overseas is extra stressful. Moving overseas with an anxious best friend who authorities will treat like a suspicious package is extra extra stressful.
I had to do a lot of research to get my cat safely around the world, and am happy to share any information that might be helpful to others in similar boats. I’ve been writing a whole book about traveling with cats, which includes a lot about flying. It hasn’t been published, but since I’ve written it, I keep forgetting that no one can actually read it. Not much help to the world, is it? I’m rewriting the whole book in a different format, but in the meantime, I’ve decided to put up chunks of the old version here, on my blog. The section on air travel was nearly 4,000 words (it’s a complicated subject), so I’m going to edit it slightly, and break it into two halves – information pertinent to all flights, and extra info for international ones.