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General Travel Advice

Couch Cat Under Blanket

Travelling by Air: 

Please check with the airline well in advance to find out how your cat may travel. The airline can direct you regarding specific guidelines for pet carrier dimensions and size. They will also provide instructions for required health records including vaccinations, health certificates, and more. Make your flight reservations for you and your pet as early as possible since airlines may restrict the number of pets allowed to fly. If possible, book non-stop flights with as few transfers and shorter layovers as possible to minimise the stress for you and your cat.

How do I prepare the pet carrier?

  • Consider the interior of your pet carrier so that it will be comfortable for your cat

  • Place the pet carrier in your living space as far in advance as possible of your travel date so that your cat becomes familiar with it

  • Entice your cat to sleep or feel safe in the carrier by placing treats, food and a familiar bed or blanket in to the carrier

  • Consider using Feliway pheromone wipes and spray in the pet carrier. This has been demonstrated to help decrease anxiety in cats.

On the day of travel include some clothing or bedding you’ve been wearing in the carrier while your cat gets acclimated. Line the carrier with disposable “Inco pads” or old towels that can be thrown away. The padding should be sufficient to provide a comfortable space for the journey. If appropriate, use Feliway before placing your cat inside. Place your cat in their carrier and cover with a blanket or towel. Affix a label directly to the carrier – tags can be torn off. The label should have your name, destination address and contact phone for both the new destination and for the original place of departure.

Will my cat need medications for anxiety and nausea? 

Discuss with our vets if anti-anxiety and/or nausea medication is needed for your cat. You may want to give a dose prescribed by your vet ahead of your trip as a “trial dose” to make sure the medication has the desired effect. All pets react differently, and some may be more sedated, or some may become excited. It helps to determine the reaction before the day of travel to minimise stress on your cat and you. 

Talk to your vet about any unexpected reactions before changing the dose as directed on the prescription label. If prescribed, give your cat their initial nausea and anxiety medication at least 1 hour before you leave your home. Our pets often know when we’re leaving, especially when we get our suitcases out, so chances are, your cat already knows something is happening on the day of travel.

Top Trip Tips: 

  • Reconfirm travel arrangements the day before you leave to minimise the chance of unexpected changes.

  • Bring printed copies of important paperwork with you as phones and electronic devices may run out of battery. Your cat's medical records and a recent colour photo of your cat may also be helpful. Tape a copy to the side of the carrier and carry a set with you.

  • Affix “Live Animal” stickers to the outside of the carrier if your airline does not provide them at the airport.

  • For journeys of less than 12 hours feed your cat lightly about 2 hours prior to travel but don’t put food or water in the carrier (which is likely to spill). For longer journeys source bowls that can be fixed to the carrier for stability. If flying these may have to be airline approved.

  • Attach a letter of instruction regarding feeding and watering your cat if your cat is travelling in the cargo area. Also attach a small bag of food. If there is a layover and the flight is delayed, or if you should be separated from your cat, the airline personnel will know how to care for your cat.

  • Allow enough time; arrive at the departure points early so you are not rushed. 

  • Preorder familiar food and litter to have arrived at your destination before you arrive if possible, that way your cat has some familiar food and litter in their new environment.

Download a PDF copy of this information here

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