Traveling has never really been stressful for me. We traveled A LOT growing up, and my dad was always so unbelievably excited that I think I can’t imagine traveling any other way other than being very excited all the time. Especially when it comes to flying. My favorite!
Moving Jax (the cat) has been a process. Drew and I were both concerned about how he would do in the car, with the UHaul for over 12 hours and therefore, we felt it would be better if I flew with the cat. In theory, flying with a cat seems ridiculous. He’s a cat. But in the end, I had a great experience. If you are going to travel with a small pet in the future, I hope my experience will benefit you!
First of all, every airline has a different fee amount and individual regulations for traveling with pets. Some allow you to hold your animal on your lap, while others only offer pet travel below deck. I flew Allegiant Air which may have the best pet travel policy. It is a $100 pet fee as long as the pet fits under the seat. You are not allowed to bring the pet out of the carrier during flight. And that’s it. No pet health certificates or any other additional paperwork as long as you are flying within the contiguous 48 states. That’s it. $100.
Before the trip, we took Jax to the vet to get their opinion on the best way to travel with him. They gave us little kitty-calming pills and advised us to give Jax half-a-pill to help him relax. I am anti-unnecessary medication for animals, so, I am not a huge fan of this. But I also didn’t want Jax to have a heart-attack if it could be prevented. The pills didn’t seem to affect Jax’s mood much other than making him less vocal. The vet also gave us calming wipes that we wiped his carrier down with. Apparently, the smell is supposed to relax him similar to how people feel with lavender or eucalyptus scents. They also recommended giving him a T-shirt that smelled like us that he could hide under, since cats feel safer in smaller spaces.
When we got to the airport, late, everyone from the desk attendants to the TSA agents were incredibly kind. (Yes, you got that right, the TSA people were NICE). You cannot send your pet through the Xray machine (which seems obvious, but I guess not look here) You must remain with your pet at all times, meaning, you have to hold your pet through the metal detectors.
Jax was scared into submission; So he was an angel. Everyone from the TSA people to the folks in line around me commented on what a beautiful cat he was. Once I got to my seat on the plane, the surrounding passengers were very sweet, even giving me chocolate! Ha! I must have looked slightly panicked. The only time Jax really freaked was during take-off. He began panting! Poor guy. I opened the carrier and tried to console him with affection. After that, he seemed OK for the rest of the flight.
My sister picked us up from the airport and once we were in the car Jax climbed out of his carrier and onto my lap. I think it was traumatic for him, to be honest. But the whole experience was not nearly as bad as I thought it would be.
End Note: Check with your vet before flying, even if they don’t recommend pills, they will probably give you good tips for travel. Also, look over the restrictions and regulations for your airline’s animal travel. Some require much more paperwork that your vet may have to help you complete.