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As some of you may or may not know, I am a huge cat lover. Our little princess, Sasha, just turned 1 year old in May and has already flown across the country twice. We live far away from family and friends so bringing her along was easiest for us. We always take her carryon as putting pets under the plane can be very dangerous. On our first trip, I was very nervous and unsure what I needed to bring on our journey to make it go smoothly. Flying with your pet doesn’t have to be hard or stressful! Here are the necessities to make your trip with your furry friend go smoothly.
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- The first thing you need is a comfortable place for your pet to hang out during your flight. I recommend the Sherpa Original Deluxe Pet Carrier. They come in various sizes to fit your pet’s needs. Our cat is a Siberian, meaning she will be around 20-25 lbs when full grown. We went with the large sized carrier and it fits her well. She’s currently around 12 lbs and can curl up in a ball in it, as well as lay sprawled out. Make sure that it says airline approved. The medium and small sizes are definitely fine, and we haven’t gotten questioned about our large one yet. The fact that it’s collapsible makes it easy to fit under the seats, but if you go with another company be cautious if it doesn’t say airline approved.
- The Sentry Calming Collar for cats was honestly a life saver for us. Sasha’s breed is very active and we saw almost an immediate difference in her activity level when we put this on her. It releases pheromones that encourage the cat to relax. They also have Sentry Calming Collar for dogs but we haven’t used them yet.
- While it’s unusual for most cats to be used to this, we trained Sasha on a harness before our first trip. We made sure it was loose enough that she could comfortably lie down but tight enough that she couldn’t get out of it. Going through security you will have to take your pet out to carry them through security it will be much easier to catch them with a harness and a leash dragging behind them if they somehow do manage to escape. It’s also useful to take your pet out in one of the family bathrooms or in the actual bathroom if he/she has to go potty, get a drink, or just needs to move around. We originally started training her on this set PetSafe Kitty Harness and Bungee Leash but she was a little escape artist with this particular harness so we got a more secure one. I can not say enough good things about the bungee leash in this set though. It’s great because it slowly puts more resistance on her when she tries to go the wrong direction rather than her just hitting the end of her leash and being yanked backwards. I’ve had trouble finding the leash itself anywhere else.
- Get your pet a proper name tag to go on their collar or harness while traveling. I personally adore Tags For Hope. They are adorable tags that look like mini driver’s licenses for your pet including their picture, your address, a contact phone number to find you, and you can put their specific needs on the back so someone can properly care for them if taken. The best part about this foundation, is that all proceeds go to help animals in a shelter AND if your pet is lost, you can make a free Lost Pet flyer to go on their page and website until your pet is found. We were more than happy with our tag and it doesn’t make that annoying clinking noise that most tags do.
- Another great thing to bring along is a semi heavy small blanket. I picked up an infant/toddler blanket at TJ Maxx for $10 that was that faux fleece material. I slept with it for a week before our trip to make sure it smelled like me. Then once we left our truck and headed into the airport, I kept it draped over her carrier so she couldn’t see all the commotion. As soon as I would take it off, even a little bit she would start howling. She mostly slept because it was dark and the blanket kept some of the sound out.
- On the plane and in the airport, it’s important to make sure that your pet remains calm and doesn’t get anxious. We used GNC Pets Calming Treats for cats to keep Sasha relaxed. Make sure you try these at home paired with the collar before you try them on the plane.
- You’ll want to bring some litter in a little sandwich baggie just in case your pet has to go to the bathroom partway through your trip. We just used an empty breadstick box from Pizza hut and flattened it out to fit in her bag. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can teach your cat to use the toilet to go potty with CitiKitty Cat Toilet Training Kit. She did awesome with it for a few weeks but we accidentally switched to one of the phases too quickly and Sasha lost interest in it. I think the main problem was that Sasha wasn’t a fan of the texture of the biodegradable litter so make sure your cat doesn’t mind it before starting.
- Bring a collapsible bowl to give your pet a little drink to keep them hydrated. Buy a cold bottle of water to help your pet stay hydrated. We used one we had at home but we’re going to get this collapsible water bowl for our next trip. It has some really good reviews and it even has a little carabiner for you to clip it onto the side of your backpack or your pet’s carrier. Make sure that you bring a little baggie of food in case you have a layover. Giving your pet a few pieces of food is fine, just don’t give them a bunch of food or they might throw up or poop in the carrier.
- You’ll also want to bring a t-shirt or something that you wear a few times without washing it before your trip. Put that in the carrier with your pet so that they can snuggle up with it to feel comforted. I left my shirt in her carrier and she still curls up and sleeps with my shirt every single day to take naps.
- The last thing you’ll want to bring is some of your pets favorite toys! Here are some of Sasha’s favorite toys that she collects and puts in her carrier when we start packing our suitcases because she knows she’s going somewhere. Have I mentioned she’s entirely too smart? Anyway here are Sasha’s favorite picks: Sponge Balls(She only plays with the pink ones), Cat Dancer Wire Toy (her absolute favorite toy), Feather wobbling toy, then pretty much anything that has feathers and rattles or makes noise! I would be careful bringing any toys that tweet or make loud noises when moved in the carrier though. We pack her noisy ones into our checked luggage for the journey.
Those are our top 10 things to buy before going on your first trip with your pet. Also be sure to have documents from your vet that your pet is up to date on their shots and healthy enough to travel. Each airline is different with what is required, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. Keep an eye out for how a post on how to prepare the days leading up to flying with your pet. Make sure you’re following us on Pinterest for more great travel tips!