Traveling with cats need not be viewed as a nightmare experience, if you do your homework first, have a well-organized plan, and practice with your cat when possible. Take tiny steps, first by getting your cat accustomed to his carrier. Later, a giant leap, such as a trip across the country in a car, or a plane trip with your cat, will go much easier for both of you.
This primer on travel for cats should set the pace for future travel with your cat being something to look forward to, rather than an experience to fear.
Just as you would never dream of traveling without luggage, you should never leave home with your cat without a cat carrier, with the cat secured safely inside.
Cat carriers come in two basic forms: solid plastic and wire carriers, and flexible soft-sided carriers. Some of each variety have convenient opening both at the front and on top, for easier ingress and egress with resistant cats. However, if properly trained to a carrier, many cats will enter one readily.
Travel with cats does not have to be a disaster. Cats travel by car well if conditioned to it well in advance of long trips. This primer will make travel easier on you and your cat, and will guarantee future invitations for you and your cat to visit again, whether it be across town or across the country. The first tip is "practice makes perfect."
Flying cats are relatively common nowadays. Lest your imagination be forming mental pictures of trapeze-flying circus cats, I'll hasten to add that I am referring to air travel by cats aboard commercial flights. Flying for cats (and dogs) has become much safer in recent years.
New laws are in place to protect cats from extreme temperatures in baggage compartments, and soft-sided carriers ease the way to carrying cats aboard aircraft in the passenger compartment. You may eventually even consider flying with your cat a preferable alternative to long-distance drives with a cat in a crowded vehicle.
Pet Airways found a need and filled it. This innovative airline service for pets only accommodates dogs and cats in the main cabin of the aircraft, rather than in the extreme heat, cold, and crowded conditions of the cargo area.
Although Pet Airways presently flies from only smaller airports in five major cities, it is hoped that with success, its service area will widen to other major airline hubs.
I can see definite possibilities for shipping my own cats on Pet Airways, should a future distant move necessitate it. It will be interesting to follow this innovative method of air transportation for cats.
An international move with cats may seem daunting at the least. However, it is definitely doable if you learn all the laws governing the import of pets to your target country. The U.K. may have one of the most complex set of rules, as Marion Boddy-Evans, About.com Guide to Painting learned before her move from So. Africa to Scotland.Marion quickly discovered there are a lot of rules, regulations, and paperwork involved. It is an understandable policy, considering that presently rabies doesn't occur in the UK, and the aim is to keep this terrible disease (and others) out. If your cats don't qualify for the Pet Travel Scheme (PETS) then they will have to go through quarantine.
Marion shared some of her experiences here for my readers.