Choosing the Best Cat Kennel for Air Travel

A cat kennel is a necessity if you plan to travel anywhere with your cat. If you're traveling by car, you have a lot of leeway when choosing a cat kennel. If you're traveling with your cat by air, you need to choose a kennel suited to air travel. Learn more about choosing the best cat kennel for air travel.

Kennels for Carry-On Pet Travel

Some airlines will let you bring your cat into the cabin as carry-on luggage, depending upon the size of your cat and whether you are traveling internationally or domestically. Check with your airline first to find out what their regulations are about bringing a cat into the cabin as carry-on luggage.

If you plan to bring your cat onto the plane as carry-on luggage, choose a carrier that can fit beneath the airline seat. The airline can give you exact measurements. The carrier can be hard or soft-sided, but remember that your cat must remain inside the carrier at all times during the journey. A carrier with opaque walls will make your cat feel more secure.

Kennels for Cargo Pet Travel

In most cases, your cat will have to travel as cargo on the airplane. This means you won't be able to take your cat into the cabin as carry-on luggage. You will give him to the check-in attendant, and he will be stowed in a pressurized live cargo cabin throughout the flight.

Your airline can give you specific directions for choosing a cargo pet kennel. Most airlines have stringent guidelines regarding the size and design of a cargo pet carrier. Be sure to find out what they are and follow them.

Choose a kennel that is big enough for your cat to turn up and stand around in (most airlines require a minimum kennel size that is ample for most cats). Make sure the kennel's bolts and door are firmly attached and sturdy. The kennel should be escape-proof. No part of your cat's body should be able to protrude from the kennel; the kennel should be hard-sided but well-ventilated, and non-collapsible. 

Preparing Your Cat for Air Travel

It's a good idea to allow your cat plenty of time inside the kennel before traveling, so he gets used to it. Leave the kennel open and allow him to enter and exit it at will during a period of several days.

Make sure to label your cat's air travel kennel with a LIVE ANIMALS sticker one inch or more in height. THIS END UP stickers are also a good idea. 

Your cat should have bedding, food and water throughout the journey. Attach an extra packet of food to the outside of the kennel, for the benefit of airline staff. Food and water dishes should be attached to the inside of the kennel, but accessible from the outside so airline staff can feed and water your cat.

Label the kennel with your address, as well as home and cellular phone numbers. Attach feeding instructions and any other documents, including animal passports, to the outside of the kennel before traveling.