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The Secret to Flying with Cats

Posted June 04, 2014 in A Pet's Life

Cat in a cat carrier in the airport

...is just having cats! People will treat you kindly because cats are great.

In my near-decade of cat ownership, I've moved around a lot. I like to joke that my cats have lived in more states than most of my friends, and it's the kind of joke that's funny mostly because it's true. Together, we've traveled in moving vans, in cars and on planes, and each time was its own hectic and (eventually) funny adventure. But none were as instructive about the nature of humanity -- and about our shared love of pets -- as the time I flew direct from Boston to Las Vegas with my wife and our two cats, Turkey Pan and Etta.

My wife was offered an amazing job opportunity. The catch was that we'd need to immediately pick up our lives and move to Las Vegas, Nevada. We've always liked adventures and we figured the chance to move to Las Vegas for free was probably a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. In no time we were making plans to resettle two thousand miles away. Because the company was paying for the move, a lot of the logistics were fairly simple.

The only trick was getting our two cats out there.

Almost ten years old, Turkey Pan and Etta are about as similar as Abbot and Costello. (And they like each other a lot less.) Turkey Pan, a massive orange and white tabby, is at times adorably friendly, but he's also extremely finicky and can turn aggressive without a moment's notice. Etta is a small calico who loves nothing as much as sitting on people's laps or sleeping on their chests. She's almost too timid and sweet. (She also loves to sit on my laptop's keyboard when I'm trying to write an article on deadline.)

How to get them there?
Getting both cats across the country, then, was a challenge not unlike the old puzzle about the fox, the hen and the bag of beans. We decided that my wife would deal exclusively with Etta, the small one, while I would deal with Turkey Pan, my crazy best friend.

If our only priority were simplicity and relaxation, we could have put the cats in the pressurized cargo section of the plane, but my wife had done research and read horror stories about the dangers of that option. [Editor’s note: It’s always best to avoid shipping pets via cargo

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Tim is a freelance blogger of IDEXX’s Pet Health Network team.

Opinions expressed are those of the writer:

The opinions and views expressed in this post are those of the author's and do not necessarily represent the beliefs, policies or positions of all veterinarians, Pet Health Network, IDEXX Laboratories, Inc. or its affiliates and partner companies.