Feline Airplane Travel - Part 2
These unique ideas on how to keep your cat safe while flying are published in the book, 277 Secrets Your Cat Wants You to Know by Paulette Cooper and Paul Noble. They are recommendations from Bud Brownhill of Anaheim, California, the chairman of DO-IT, a pet travel advisory organization.
- Talk to a supervisor when you get to the airport and tell him you have an extremely valuable pet in terms of dollars--even if it's a mixed breed. Otherwise, some baggage handlers couldn't care if you were carrying a rock.
- Personalize your cat to the handlers. Put signs on the crate saying, "Hi! I am a Persian kitten. This is my first trip. Please handle my crate carefully."
- When you board a plane, tell the pilot that you have a cat in the hold worth a lot of money--even if it isn't. Also, tell them to make sure to turn on the heat and pressurization in the cargo compartment. This is done from the cockpit and someone may have forgotten to give the pilot that information. Cargo compartments can get as hot as 140 degrees, and intense cold can be just as damaging to your cat.
- Put large strips of red or orange fluorescent material all over the crate "so you can spot it halfway across the airport and your cat won't get mixed up with anything else." Put arrows or the words "Top" and "Live Animal" on top of the crate so your cat doesn't fly upside down.
- Put your home addresses and phone numbers, plus those of where you're going, inside and outside the crate, because many people won't reach into a kennel for fear of being scratched or bitten.
- Watch the ticket clerk attach the destination tags at the airport. Make sure it says 'Detroit' if you're going there.
- Make certain your pet is loaded last, especially during extreme weather conditions. This may also ensure that he is taken off the plane first.
- Make sure the airline is not carrying dry ice, which can be deadly if your cat is crated near it.
- Avoid flying at the busiest times, so your cat can get more personal attention.
- Ask the airline if you can watch your cat being loaded and unloaded at the cargo hold.
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