In a few weeks, I will be flying my kitty cross-country to our new West Coast home, and I'm already nail-bitingly nervous about it. Any advice from Team Cat members for transporting this adorable munchkin?
Thankfully, I have a friend who made the same move last year, and based on her input, here's my plan:
Kitty and I will be flying JetBlue. She is riding in the cabin in a carrier, because I've heard too many terrifying stories re: pets in the baggage hold to let anyone remove my baby from my sight. Against my better judgment, I had to pick an evening flight (non-stop though) - a time of max activity for Kitty, but I plan on playing with her excessively before we hit the airport to tire the poor dear out.
We don't think our vet will consent to dosing her up with sleepy/anti-anxiety stuff (appt. soon for updated vaccines and this request), so I've ordered a pheromone collar to try and keep her calm. I'll have KatesyDude (the current pet custodian) get her used to it in advance.
I'm looking at soft carriers right now, but the airline's size requirement doesn't seem to match up with a lot of commercial carriers (max is 17" L x 12.5" W x 8.5" H). I can find ones that meet the length requirement, no problem, but the width and height requirements are tougher - either the height or widtch matches but not both.
JetBlue sells a compliant carrier, but it's an inch shorter and 2.5 inches less wide than the requirement. There's a reason we nicknamed our cat "Tubbins," and I don't want to cheat her out of precious wiggling room. Unfortunately, I'm not with Kitty right now to measure her and really figure it out (and KatesyDude is taking his time getting around to this to-do item, due to his own pre-move agenda, which is pretty valid). She's only 13 pounds, but still...
If anyone knows of a carrier that meets the standard, send it my way! I will reward you with eternal friendship and internet love.
Also, my friend found that restricting her cat's food/water intake for a few hours before the flight helped curb any bathroom issues, but nonetheless, placed a puppy pee-pee pad under the towel in her cat carrier. I will be doing the same. I will also bring water and some treats and offer her a little about halfway through the trip.
Oh, and finally, I'm aware that I'll have to take her out of her carrier to go through security, and will have her collared (obvs) and her leash ready to go.
And yes, her microchip data will be updated to reflect our new contact info in case (heaven forbid) anything awful should happen, like she gets out somewhere and gets lost.
Any other things I'm forgetting? Anything in the plan I should change? Dear god, someone tell me they approve of this plan and that I'm being a good CatMom. I'm so anxious that she'll be extra freaked out because I haven't seen her in months and she won't trust me anymore, yet I'll be kidnapping her (it wasn't possible for KatesyDude to make the trip instead/with us. The towel we'll use will at least smell like him, at least).
GAHHHH - I'm a wreck. Somebody hold me.