So the cat made it over but not without some drama that perhaps you can avoid!
To start, I highly recommend getting a larger crate, think ours was 32 inches/large size (our cat is 16lbs) so they can spread out and so you have room to put a bed and some puppy pee pads.
That said, my plan for comfort was ruined somewhat by the TSA. When we checked in the cat, he was pretty OK but two things happened to ensure he arrived in Switzerland covered in pee and poop: 1. The flight was delayed three hours so we had to feed him extra food, and 2. the TSA agent had to inspect the inside of his cage.
On the latter, we did not know this. After checking him in, I had to go over with a Swiss air agent to TSA oversized baggage. They told me to take out the cat, which in a busy airport the cat was NOT happy about (recommend a leash/harness just in case you cat is fidgety like mine). I did so, but the agent then proceeded to take his time checking the OUTSIDE of the cage. The cat started to claw me and try to get away (he is big) so I asked if I could put him inside until necessary to take him out. I put him back, then the agent proceeded to check the UNDERSIDE of the cage. Once again, the cat got anxious, so I put him back in. By the time the agent was ready to check the INSIDE and I REALLY needed to get him out the cat was so freaked out he would have bitten me if I grabbed him. And this is a VERY FRIENDLY cat. So we had to wait a while, the cat would not calm down, the agent was useless, and so I asked him exactly what he needed to do inside the cage. He told me he had to check under the cat and the bedding. So I asked him if I could remove the bedding but not the cat and he said OK. I was so angry, he could have told me that in the first place or done the interior check first. My cat was practically hyperventilating at this point (LAX is so busy and loud) and I had to say goodbye to him in that condition
So be prepared to take your cat out of the cage and do it only when they are ready to check the inside of the kennel, or ask if you can simply remove the bedding and have the cat stand up so that they can check underneath. In the end, I could not rearrange his pee pad and bedding in the way necessary (he was still swatting at me) and so I think this is part of the reason he arrived covered in his pee and soggy poop
Also if you tape any food to his cage (I did just in case of delay or problems as he has diabetic food), they will cut open the plastic bag and scan the food and don't expect them to offer tape to fix the bag. And it is recommended that you put a zip tie on the kennel door to avoid opening by accident in transport. Don't put this on until after the TSA check. We put it on before at the advice of the Swiss air agent, only to have to cut if off with a key by TSA. Luckily the agent happened to have an extra zip tie to put on after.
I did freeze his water in the bowl that came with the kennel, had it in a bag of ice on way to airport. Think that was a good idea.
The second problem we encountered was that even thought I researched out the wazoo what paperwork I needed and had the EU certificate and USDA form, the Swiss customs insisted he needed a pet passport (my husband said a blue or red paper) from the Swiss govt. I had contacted the Swiss border veterinarian and gone on the Swiss border vet website/read the requirements and nowhere did I see this requirement nor did they tell me I needed it. Yet the customs agents insisted. After 45 minutes at the border with my cat wreaking of piss and poop, howling nonstop they gave up and let him through. My husband had to stop at a rest stop, buy kitty litter (they sell it at rest stops apparently) and clean him up in the bathroom on the drive to Geneva.
So there you go, I thought we were well prepared and that I had done my homework, but nevertheless! But he is doing well now
Pack some food in your suitcase too, then you don't have to worry for a few days.
I wish you the best in your move. It's a bit daunting but we are 36 hours into it and surviving