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Question DetailsAsked on 8/14/2013

What are the ways to move two cats across the country?

I need to move 2 cats from NY or CT area to Seattle area in September. Any resources or recommendations or services to avoid in terms of sending/traveling with them on a plane vs. driving them and so on?

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1 Answer


If you google Pet Air Travel you will find a lot of recommendations on animal and vet sites.

Your vet may have others, partticularly if your animal is old or has a chronic illness, and can also provide a sedativ e so the trip will be less stressful for your animal.

Pet Airlines (dedicated pet flights) used to provide dedicated pet flights around the US between major airports, but at last word was cutting flights, sometimes without warning. Also, their current schedule lists Denver, LA and Phoenix as the closest airports to Seattle, so that does not look viable for you.

PetAirCarrier ( and similar companies provide shipping for pets US and international, including all required documentation, pickup and delivery, temporary kenneling, etc using scheduled airlines or freight-only carrier, with the pet travelling in a carrier as live air freight cargo.

FedEx and UPS do NOT ship household animals, and you cannot take them on Amtrak or buslines.

Most airlines allow one cat (well behaved) up to 20 pounds including carrier in the cabin in a carry-on sized carrier per adult passenger, plus you can ship them in baggage when you travel (at extra charge). You will have to have separate carriers regardless of whether in the cabin or baggage, and it requires reservations, and the number of pets allowed on any one flight is limited.

Obviously, shipping them, especially if not with you in the cabin, is stressful, but from what I hear a lot less so for cats than for dogs, as long as some jerk airline employee does not put a cat in the dog area (usually are well separated in cargo), and as long as some idiot owner does not ship an animal in heat.

One major problem is most airlines will not accept animals when the temperature anywhere along the itinerary route is forecasted to be outside of the range of 45-85 F, which rules out travel in many parts of the country in winter and/or summer. Other airlines like Delta don't take animals as baggage (and sometimes not as cargo either) at all from May15 to Sept 15th, or similar dates.

Cross-country with you driving obviously costs more and takes a lot longer, and you have to worry about panic escapes and getting lost in some strange town, and about overheating in car or motel room. Also, many animals that do fine on an hour drive do not take well to many hours or days on end in a car, so you run the risk of running into problems after the trip is underway and you are already committed to it.

Read up on the airline rules, not only for your airline but for any connecting airline. There are a ton of them, not to mention fees from about $100 for cabin to up to $400 for baggage or cargo. Many airliens also require a recent fitness certificate from a vet, and some require all normal shots even though your pet may not have some (like kennel cough, for instance).

One other risk you run, and some people have run into, is having a flight diverted due to mechanical probloems or weather, and landing at an airport where the temperature is outside the shipping temperature range, or the flights from there to final destination are forecasted outside the allowable range, so the animal becomes stranded in that city and you have to arrange other transportation or go get the animal yourself.

Answered 6 years ago by LCD

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