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Top tips help your cat ace international travel

International pet travel with cats is different from travelling with dogs. Cats can be more temperamental and may show their displeasure vociferously. The key to making cat travel less challenging is to remove the stress and anxiety associated with the process.

As a pet parent, you might spend anxious hours wondering how your cat is doing on the flight. Ensuring your cat is comfortable and stress-free during the travel will go a long way in making the flight tolerable for your pet. Here are some top tips to help your kitty have the best flight of their life:

Visit the vet

Vet visits are a big must before international travel for both cats and dogs. Pets require a laundry list of vaccinations and other health tests depending on which country they are travelling to. But even before the process begins, take your cat for a complete physical examination to make sure they are healthy and fit to fly. If your cat suffers from an underlying disease, have the vet explain how it could affect your cat during travel.

Overweight cats find air travel more stressful than cats in the healthy weight bracket. Speak to your vet about managing your cat’s weight before the journey and help your pet achieve a healthy weight. The vet will also help implant your cat’s microchip, which is mandatory before international travel.

The right crate matters

Your pet’s crate will be their home during the journey, and they must feel safe and comfortable in the crate. It is never too early to begin crate training; the sooner, the better. Before you start to acclimatise your cat to the crate, getting the right crate is very important.

The pet crate must be IATA-approved and the correct size. Make sure you measure your pet before bringing the crate home. The crate must be large enough for your pet to sit, stand and lie down comfortably.

The crate must be made of rigid plastic with ventilation on all sides. Though many airlines accept wooden crates during international travel, most airlines prefer rigid plastic crates because they are safer and more durable. Soft-sided cat carriers are not allowed in the cargo hold, nor are metal wire crates.

Crate training

Crate training helps your cat feel safe and comfortable in the crate. Begin crate training as early as possible, so your pet recognises their crate as a safe space. Introduce the crate gently to your pet, and make sure your pet associates the crate with a happy and positive experience. Do not use the crate to reinforce punishment before travel.

Crate training before a long international journey is vital. Most pet travel agencies recommend getting the crate as early as possible. If your pet cat is happy and comfortable in the crate, they are more likely to have a positive and pleasant pet travel experience.

Sedate or not?

One of the most often asked questions before international travel with a cat is whether or not to sedate the pet during the flight. The short answer to this question is no, unless the vet recommends it. Sedatives interfere with how your pet reacts to the stress of travel and make it harder for your cat to cope during the flight.

The alternatives to sedatives are calming sprays with natural oils or pheromones that are known to have a calming effect on cats. Check with your vet or an expert before spraying the crate with these products.

Soothe your pet

Flying alone in a big aeroplane to a new home with strangers is a daunting task for anyone, let alone a pet. Help your pet soothe themselves during the journey by placing an old blanket or a t-shirt that smells like you in the crate. Your cat will be comforted by the familiar smell and less prone to anxiety during the trip.

What not to place in the crate

As mentioned earlier, the crate is your pet’s home during the journey. While you can place an old t-shirt to comfort your pet, some items must not be placed in the crate for safety and hygiene reasons.

  • Pet toys
  • Unattached bowls
  • Hay or straw bedding
  • Your cat’s documentation and medicine

On the day of travel

When the day of departure arrives, keep calm and help your kitty prepare for their big adventure. Do not feed your pet for at least six hours before the flight; flying on a full stomach is not recommended. Let your cat play around and expend their energy before they leave so they are calm and not hyperactive in the crate.

International pet travel can be intimidating for pets and pet parents alike. Partnering with an experienced pet travel agency to help you along the process will ensure your pet has a pleasant pet travel experience.

Petraveller is one of Australia’s leading pet travel agencies specialising in the international relocation of pets from Australia worldwide. At Petraveller, your cat is always treated with utmost care and personalised service. Reach out to Petraveller today for more information on international travel with cats and a free pet travel quote.