Cat Tips

More tips on international cat travelling

If you have been reading my blog, you should know I have started a project called – The Travelling Cat. The aim of the project is to get as much information and as many cat travelling stories as possible all in one place for the ease of cat parents around the world.

I have travelled over 10,000km with my own cat, I know how confusing it is. Information often contradicts each other and a lot of airline staff, for example, don’t seem to be very informed on the protocol.

I have written a post before on some of my personal travelling tips, and today, I will refer you to another article from Europe Pet Net which will give you some more tips. I hope you find it helpful. You can read the full article by clicking to the link below.

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Planes, Trains, Automobiles…and more!

Your journey throughout Europe may involve one or many methods of transport. Take a moment to familiarize yourself with each unique travel situation and how it may affect your pet. Of course, before you set off, make sure that you have all legal documents in order and reference our Check List. Never hesitate to contact the transport company for specific pet policies.

Air Travel

With the emergence of many ‘budget airlines’ throughout Europe, more people are able to travel and sometimes with their pets. Pet travel policies vary widely between airlines, so be sure to check with the airline before you book a ticket. Cats and small dogs often can travel within the cabin under your seat while larger dogs must travel in the cargo hold. If you need to travel with your Service or Guide Dog, let the airline know at booking, as these animals are allowed to travel in the cabin.

During certain times of the year your pet may not be allowed to travel in the cargo hold. The cargo hold is temperature and pressure controlled while in flight, but it is not while the aircraft is on the ground. This may mean that your pet is exposed to extreme temperatures. Some airlines, such as United, have a special pet service which holds the animals in a climate-controlled vehicle by the aircraft and loads them right before the doors are closed. This type of service prevents exposure to extreme temperatures once your pet is checked in, helping to prevent travel-related illness. However, this service does not help when there are gate delays after landing. The most common health problems encountered while flying include hyperthermia, hypothermia and dehydration. With proper preparation, these complications are rare.

Some airlines prohibit transport of certain breeds for the sake of the animal’s health. Brachycephalic breeds (those with “smushed faces” or very short noses, such as Persian cats, Pugs and Boston Terriers) are more likely to suffer from travel complications due to their unique anatomy. These dogs are more likely to suffer from hyperthermia or airway compromise. They also cannot cool themselves adequately when exposed to high temperatures or even when they are very excited. It is best for these breeds to travel on the ground or in the aircraft cabin.

Certain breeds may be banned by airlines or must travel in a special, extra-secure type of metal crate. These include fighting breeds and bulldogs such as Pit Bulls, Mastiffs and Staffordshire Bull Terriers. This is not necessarily because the airline views these breeds as dangerous to people; it is because these dogs have especially strong jaws. There have been cases in the past where Pit Bull-type dogs have chewed their way through a plastic crate and damaged the interior of the aircraft cargo hold while in flight!

To minimize stress while flying:

Pick a direct flight to your destination. Lay-overs increase the amount of time your pet is stressed and can contribute to dehydration.
Travel during the coolest time of the day if possible.
Get your pet used to the travel crate in advance. Most crate-trained dogs are very bonded with their ‘den’ and this may make travel less stressful for them.
If your dog is prone to chewing on fabric, don’t place a blanket in the crate. While soft padding may seem comfortable, some dogs decide to ingest it when they are bored – potentially leading to an intestinal obstruction.
The day before travel, freeze water in a container for your pet. Before setting off for the airport, attach this container to the interior of the crate or the door. The ice will slowly melt and help prevent spillage. Many dogs enjoy licking ice!
For other information, please see our Quick Travel Tips pages for Dogs and Cats.

Travel by Train

Train travel can still be stressful for your pet. The new sights, sounds and even the movement of the train itself can be unnerving. If it is possible, take your pet on a few short train trips before the big day. This can help him or her get used to the process.

Most trains throughout Europe are “pet friendly” but contact the rail company for pet policy details before booking.

While travelling by train, remember:

Keep your pet secure. Cats and small dogs should travel within a carrier at all times. Larger dogs should be kept on a short leash and on a secure collar or harness.
A water source should be accessible to your pet at all times. Carry a water bottle with you, as some trains may not offer opportunities to purchase water while aboard or the water in the bathrooms is non-potable.
Travel during the coolest part of the day. In some countries, trains are not climate controlled. If there is a delay, the cabins can become quite hot – exposing your pet to additional stress.
The movement of the train can sometimes cause motion sickness. For helpful tips about prevention of motion sickness in pets, click here.
For more tips on what you should take with you on the train, see our Quick Travel Tips pages for Dogs and Cats and Check List.

continues on Europetnet – Planes, Trains, Automobiles…and more!

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