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Old 29.01.2013, 19:00
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Cat on 8hr flight?

Has anyone taken their cat on a transatlantic flight?
We are planning to bring our cat when we move to Switzerland. Know about the microchip/vaccination requirements and will take care of that.
Thinking of taking her in the cabin as she is pretty small. I do worry about her "being a nuisance to other passengers" with meowing the whole flight.
So, if you have done it how did it go? Did you give her any calming medication?
Did your cat pee or poop (eek!) during the trip?
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Old 29.01.2013, 19:07
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Re: Cat on 8hr flight?

My husband and I did it with two cats, and it was San Francisco-Munich-Zurich-mountains near Thun (the last bit by car). Total time in the carrier was 20 hours (eek!).

Here's what I did: I withheld food the night before and water for about 4 hours before we left, leaving access to the litter box. My cat did meow, but was pretty exhausted and eventually calmed down when I put my hand in the carrier to pet him. Nobody really heard him, as the plane was quite loud and I was near the tail section. And this cat is loud.

Calming medication can make them sick, so I wouldn't do it. Neither cat did anything untoward, and in fact one of them refused to use the litter box until I put a handful of (unused) litter of the brand he was used to over the new litter box. Within 30 minutes, both cats had used the new litter box, eaten some food, drank a lot of water and passed out. No problems!

As an aside, I packed diaper paper (puppy training pads), a spare towel and dry pet wipes in case of any accidents. I didn't need them, but I was glad I had them.
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Old 29.01.2013, 19:24
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Re: Cat on 8hr flight?

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Has anyone taken their cat on a transatlantic flight?
We are planning to bring our cat when we move to Switzerland. Know about the microchip/vaccination requirements and will take care of that.
Thinking of taking her in the cabin as she is pretty small. I do worry about her "being a nuisance to other passengers" with meowing the whole flight.
So, if you have done it how did it go? Did you give her any calming medication?
Did your cat pee or poop (eek!) during the trip?
We brought 2 female torties (approx 3 years old) with us 1.5 years ago on our transatlantic flight. Here's some of the pertinent (and hopefully helpful) details from our experience:

The airline (Delta) charged $100 per animal to allow the cats to fly in the passenger cabin with us, and their pet carriers counted as 1 carryon/personal item each.

The airline did have specific requirements regarding what type of pet carrier was allowed for the plane. It had to be soft-sided, and there were specific dimension (the dimensions of the under-seat storage space) requirements as well. Each airline is different, but most have this information readily available on their website.

The airline, as well as TSA, required us to have the animals' paperwork available for examination at any time, and the check-in attendant, TSA screener, and boarding attendant did check the paperwork prior to us boarding.

TSA required us to remove the animals from their carriers (removing any metal collars, etc) and hand carry them through the metal detector. They were a bit nervous and squirmy, as we hadn't done anything to relax/sedate them yet.

Our connecting flight to ATL was so short that we opted not to give the cats anything until before the transatlantic leg, but we did select seats that were towards one corner of the airplane and seemed to be near a lot of empty seats.

Our veterinarian gave us a few mild sedatives for the cats, as well as recommending a relaxing homeopathic dietary additive that we fed to the cats before leaving. The sedative worked great for most of the flight, but as our two cats are not small (12lbs/6kg each) it did wear off a couple hours before landing, and we had to give them a tiny bit more medication to keep them calm.

Cats, like most animals, don't like to urinate or defecate where they sleep, so it is unlikely they will do this in their carriers, but if you are concerned, pick up some of the "piddle pads" pet stores sell for housebreaking a pet, and put one in the bottom of the carrier and carry 1 or 2 as backup (you'll probably not need even the one in the carrier). If an accident happens, just use the diaper changing area in one of the lavs to sort it out.

With regards to water, I would recommend bringing a small, collapsible bowl in your carry-on, so you may offer the cat water upon reaching your destination. Cats are naturally very efficient at processing and retaining water, so it probably won't be necessary to offer any water during the flight, as your cat probably won't need any. Additionally, this helps to prevent the accidental peeing problem.

When we arrived in Switzerland, the customs officials gave our paperwork a VERY cursory glance and waved us through, without even a look at the animals (this made me very frustrated after all the research and trouble I to which I had gone for the purpose of assuring our paperwork was in impeccable order), and they have since adapted amazingly well to their new home here.

Good luck to you on your move!
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Old 29.01.2013, 20:18
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Re: Cat on 8hr flight?

Thanks so much for your responses! That was very helpful info!
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Old 29.01.2013, 20:36
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Re: Cat on 8hr flight?

My suggestion is the title of a play by Tennessee Williams, made into a film, starring a sweaty (young) Paul Newman and (an alive) Elizabeth Taylor - it's the best place .... if you haven't had the claws removed.
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Old 30.01.2013, 21:18
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Re: Cat on 8hr flight?

We just brought our cat over in October, 12 hours of travel time with
a connection through Atlanta. Our cat is not friendly to anyone outside of
our family. We had great concern before the trip. She did great. We did not
give any medication. Instead of removing her from the carrier and walking
her through security, I insisted that they take me to a private room. There I
could take her out of the carrier and not worry about her freaking out.
They scanned the carrier, wiped down my hands all in the room, then I put
her back in the carrier. I also put an extra towel in her carrier so that she could hide under it and I covered her carrier to keep it dark in the airport .
During the trip, she did not eat or use the bathroom the entire time.
When we reached Zurich, I bought litter at the Migros inside the airport, and she immediately used the box in the car. I was much relieved at how well the trip went. I am sure your kitty will do well too.
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Old 30.01.2013, 21:45
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Re: Cat on 8hr flight?

I took my cat from LAX to Zurich non stop 3 years ago on Swiss airlines. I was worried too because she is a howler in the car. The vet gave us tranquilizers for the trip with the caveat that it does slow down respiratory and heart rate. Knowing she was a complete meower/screamer, I gave it to her. Now that we are moving back to California, I think we will NOT give her the medication, as at one point I went to pet her and she bit me (not hard, no blood, but it made me sad she was so upset.) She was very confused. Also: unfortunately she did meow through the *whole* flight (12 hours). Luckily the airplane is relatively loud and most people wear head phones, but it was pretty embarrassing. I did have a small panic attack after 8 hours because I didn't think I could handle another 4 hours of her howling. Somehow we made it through and she has been a happy Switzerkitty since! Oh, and she did not use the wee pad even once, even though I was worried that she would. Its amazing what they can hold in.

This time around, we have decided to bring ear plugs for our fellow passengers and apologize in advance.

Good luck, your kitty will be fine.
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Old 31.01.2013, 11:00
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Re: Cat on 8hr flight?

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Instead of removing her from the carrier and walking
her through security, I insisted that they take me to a private room. There I
could take her out of the carrier and not worry about her freaking out.
They scanned the carrier, wiped down my hands all in the room, then I put
her back in the carrier.
I wish I had done this-I got clawed trying to hold my cat during the security check (enough to bleed). Great advice!
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Old 31.01.2013, 13:13
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Re: Cat on 8hr flight?

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Has anyone taken their cat on a transatlantic flight?
We are planning to bring our cat when we move to Switzerland. Know about the microchip/vaccination requirements and will take care of that.
Thinking of taking her in the cabin as she is pretty small. I do worry about her "being a nuisance to other passengers" with meowing the whole flight.
So, if you have done it how did it go? Did you give her any calming medication?
Did your cat pee or poop (eek!) during the trip?
Flew both of mine from China to Germany in the hold, no hassle. Lined their carriers with absorbent bedpads (try finding cat carrier liners in Shanghai ), put on drip water bottles (hamster style) and outside accessible food bowls as well as taping small bag of dry food to the top. This was a requirement, along with 'LIVE ANIMAL' markings and airholes on all sides.

Only long term effect was that Mao Ze Cat howled himself so hoarse that he actually became permanently husky- I assume it's the same effect as lounge singers after a career of cigarettes, whisky and torch songs

Both peed in their carriers, but the pads worked beautifully.

Good luck with the move!
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Old 31.01.2013, 15:15
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Re: Cat on 8hr flight?

Do you all think that 10 years old is too old for feline travel?

My guy hates cars, and carriers even more.

I'm absolutely torn. I can't imagine leaving him behind, but it would be even worse if something happened to him.
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Old 31.01.2013, 15:20
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Re: Cat on 8hr flight?

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Do you all think that 10 years old is too old for feline travel?

My guy hates cars, and carriers even more.

I'm absolutely torn. I can't imagine leaving him behind, but it would be even worse if something happened to him.
He'll live. He may hate it, but he'll live- just clip his nails before flying and be prepared to have him hate you for a day or two when he arrives
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Old 31.01.2013, 15:24
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Re: Cat on 8hr flight?

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He'll live. He may hate it, but he'll live- just clip his nails before flying and be prepared to have him hate you for a day or two when he arrives
He tends to pee in my shoes/purse when he's really mad at me. It's been a while since that has happened though. Last time was a few years ago when a return flight was delay. He ended up being alone for 4 days. There was water and food, but no one to check in on him.

Nothing like a urin filled purse!
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Old 31.01.2013, 15:29
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Re: Cat on 8hr flight?

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He tends to pee in my shoes/purse when he's really mad at me. It's been a while since that has happened though. Last time was a few years ago when a return flight was delay. He ended up being alone for 4 days. There was water and food, but no one to check in on him.

Nothing like a urin filled purse!
One of mine pees in (only my) bags if left open. He once nailed my camera bag, thankfully missing the body and lenses but frying all my memory cards.

They have an eloquent way of protesting, don't they?
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Old 31.01.2013, 15:29
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Re: Cat on 8hr flight?

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Do you all think that 10 years old is too old for feline travel?

My guy hates cars, and carriers even more.

I'm absolutely torn. I can't imagine leaving him behind, but it would be even worse if something happened to him.
I had this same problem, but my guy was 15 when we moved He also hated cars and his carrier, so it wasn't like he was going to enjoy a freakin' plane!

I had no other real options, so we brought him on the 7 hour flight (10 hours in total in travel time). Fortunately, he's reached "old man" stage and generally doesn't give a care about anything any more. He was very calm at the TSA (there wasn't a line at all to wait in, thank goodness) and they specifically called over someone who "loves cats" to walk me through.

He was also very quiet on the flight over. I had him on the table next to me for the entire flight (except takoff/landing, when they moved him to a space in front of the bulkhead). I also made a thin cover for the kennel so that he wasn't bombarded with strange sights. I think that he appreciated that most of all.

Each cat is different, but 10 years old sounds like a spring chicken to me
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Old 31.01.2013, 15:38
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Re: Cat on 8hr flight?

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They have an eloquent way of protesting, don't they?
Oh - absolutely!

I think I can do this with him. I'll double check with the vet (I'll have to do everything, as my little guy hasn't seen a vet since he was 1.5 years old).
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Old 31.01.2013, 21:46
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Re: Cat on 8hr flight?

Just to chime in, we moved two cats (one spry one...and one old fat one) and they did just fine. They only had to endure 12 hours of crate time. It took one of them just a few hours to be normal...and the old one...not so much. He took a month or so to be normal.

I cant stress this enough: DO YOU PAPER WORK BY THE BOOK!!! This will ensure that you have zero surprises.
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Old 31.01.2013, 22:14
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Re: Cat on 8hr flight?

I brought my cat, who was 9 years old at the time, over here on a 8.5 hour flight from Detroit. I kept her in a soft-case carrier (pre-approved by the airline) under the seat in front of me the entire flight. She never made a sound. I'd just reach in and pet her every now and then. I did have a puppy-training pad in there, under her, but I don't think she ever did a thing on it. And I kept two tiny bowls -- one for food and one for water -- in her carrier with her during the flight.

The only slight problem I encountered when boarding the plane was that a woman one or two rows behind me noticed the cat and then tried to pitch a complaint, saying that she's allergic. So she asked for her seat to be moved. This woman was really bitchy, and I sensed that she was complaining just to have something to complain about.

So I suggest that, if possible, try to keep it low-key when you bring your cat on-board, so no one tries to complain.
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Old 03.02.2013, 13:45
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Re: Cat on 8hr flight?

I took my cat to Texas and then back to Switzerland. As I didn't want her to be a nuisance but mainly as I wanted to reduce stress for her to a minimum, she travelled in the cargo area and not in the passenger cabin. She had a giant rodent water bottle and no food during the flight. (The water bottle was required by Lufthansa). I put newspaper and a thick towel in her crate and I think she peed, but I am not sure.
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