Cats traveling by car or by plane need to be kept in an approved carrier. (Animals other than guide dogs are generally prohibited from traveling on buses and trains.)
Carriers are available in hard-sided, plastic models as well as soft, fabric bags. Either can work well, as long as it's sturdily constructed and meets the guidelines described below.
Label your pet's carrier with your name, address, and telephone number. Make sure your cat is wearing a collar with an ID tag.
Here are the characteristics to look for in a pet carrier, whether you'll use it for a long trip or just for getting to and from the vet's office:
- Big enough: The carrier should be roomy enough that your pet can stand, turn around, and lie down. It shouldn't be so oversized that she lurches around inside it, however. (See below for specific dimensions required for carriers used for air travel.)
- Breathable: It should be ventilated on at least two sides, with rims or knobs around the ventilated panels to prevent them from becoming blocked.
- Durable and portable: The carrier should be strong, well-constructed, and have securely attached handles or grips to allow you to carry it.
- Leakproof: The carrier's bottom should be made of waterproof, leakproof material in case your pet has an accident inside or if the carrier gets wet or soiled from the outside.
Check with your airline for its regulations on pet carriers to be used in the passenger cabin. The usual maximum dimensions are approximately the following:
Length: 21 inches
Width: 13 to 16 inches
Height: 8 to 9 inches
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