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Plane Rides

C

Coolcat

Guest
#1
How many of you have taken a plane to pick up your new SV? Just curious about some of your travel experiences.
 

Patti

Admin
Staff member
#2
I have flown many times with kittens. Savannahs are not the easiest to travel with... some don't like being contained in a small carrier for a prolonged period of time and try to 'dig' their way out, some voice their opinions very loudly. I have had kittens pee and poop in their carriers, some try to escape while going through security, etc., etc.

You need to make sure you have a carrier that will fit under the seat in front of you. Make sure you bring plenty of paper towels, plastic bag, deodorizer/cleaner in a 3oz bottle, feminine wipes (just learned from a vet via a friend that these work much better than baby or cat wipes), toys, dry food, water and a way to dispense it.

Depending upon the airline you may need a health certificate issued within 10 days, meaning a vet visit. You will need to pay for the kitten's passage - anywhere from $75 - $150 again depending on the airline. You will need to take the kitten out of the carrier and carry it through the security check point, while dealing with the rest of your carry-ons, boarding pass, etc. I always have a walking jacket on the kitten and a leash available so that I have better control while out of the carrier. Once you are in the terminal you can consider taking him out of the carrier until you board, but you are not supposed to, and I have gotten in trouble for doing so in the past, so I no longer chance it.

To be honest, when adding up all the stress the kitten goes through as carry on - being handled by a stranger (you), having to be carried through security, packed into a small carrier, shoved under a seat, I honestly wonder if cats aren't more comfortable in a larger crate that can have food and water dishes, a nice comfy blanket that has their family's' scent on it to sleep on, even a small litter box for those crates that are big enough, and shipped via cargo.
 
C

Coolcat

Guest
#3
I have flown many times with kittens. Savannahs are not the easiest to travel with... some don't like being contained in a small carrier for a prolonged period of time and try to 'dig' their way out, some voice their opinions very loudly. I have had kittens pee and poop in their carriers, some try to escape while going through security, etc., etc.

You need to make sure you have a carrier that will fit under the seat in front of you. Make sure you bring plenty of paper towels, plastic bag, deodorizer/cleaner in a 3oz bottle, feminine wipes (just learned from a vet via a friend that these work much better than baby or cat wipes), toys, dry food, water and a way to dispense it.

Depending upon the airline you may need a health certificate issued within 10 days, meaning a vet visit. You will need to pay for the kitten's passage - anywhere from $75 - $150 again depending on the airline. You will need to take the kitten out of the carrier and carry it through the security check point, while dealing with the rest of your carry-ons, boarding pass, etc. I always have a walking jacket on the kitten and a leash available so that I have better control while out of the carrier. Once you are in the terminal you can consider taking him out of the carrier until you board, but you are not supposed to, and I have gotten in trouble for doing so in the past, so I no longer chance it.

To be honest, when adding up all the stress the kitten goes through as carry on - being handled by a stranger (you), having to be carried through security, packed into a small carrier, shoved under a seat, I honestly wonder if cats aren't more comfortable in a larger crate that can have food and water dishes, a nice comfy blanket that has their family's' scent on it to sleep on, even a small litter box for those crates that are big enough, and shipped via cargo.
This is the Mrs. again...thank you so much for your sound advise. My husband thought it would be less stressful for Triton if he brought him home; instead of the poor guy being introduced to even more strangers. The breeder is so very kind. Our SV will have the opportunity to get to know my husband for a couple of days before making the trip back east. I'll be sure to pass along all the info; especially the one about the family's scent. By the time we are able to pick him up, Triton will be 4 1/2 months old. I'm hoping this will make traveling a little easier on him, as opposed to a smaller kitten.
 

Brigitte Cowell

Moderator
Staff member
#4
I don't agree with Patti on the idea that it is less traumatic to be put in a larger roomier crate when it is put out on the tarmac and shuttled about before reaching the destination. I don't find that kittens are that concerned with the space difference between a carrier and crate..their objection is being confined in any way.

I've had breakouts, so think about safety pins securing the two zipper ends for example. I've had kittens that screamed to get out from beginning to end. But in general, most complain a bit and then when they work out that they aren't getting out anytime soon, they curl up and sleep.

I have flown to pick kittens up and I have had kittens shipped to me. I will ALWAYS choose to pick my kitten up. I've not had a kitten traumatized by having to go on a plane where they always know the human is there and they are safe, while I have received kittens that obviously had an unfortunate trip and are terrified. I prefer to have control over what their experience is, and feel that me being there during the journey can make sure bad things don't happen.

It IS more expensive to fly to pick up a kitten when you count the cost of your airfare, the pet fare and the health certificate. But the kitten needs the health certificate to be shipped cargo in any case. And yes, you need to carry a cleanup kit, just like if you were traveling with a baby. It's best if the breeder already has the kitten used to wearing a walking jacket, as going through security is easier if you have that to hang onto instead of just the wriggly kitten body. And if you hit a delay in a connecting flight then you have the option of finding the pet relief area and at least kitten can come out and stretch their legs for a bit.

Having done it both ways, my end conclusion is different...that for a well-socialized kitten that is inclined to put their trust in humans...it is less stressful and better for that kitten to fly in cabin with their new owner than be shipped in cargo.
 
C

Coolcat

Guest
#5
I don't agree with Patti on the idea that it is less traumatic to be put in a larger roomier crate when it is put out on the tarmac and shuttled about before reaching the destination. I don't find that kittens are that concerned with the space difference between a carrier and crate..their objection is being confined in any way.

I've had breakouts, so think about safety pins securing the two zipper ends for example. I've had kittens that screamed to get out from beginning to end. But in general, most complain a bit and then when they work out that they aren't getting out anytime soon, they curl up and sleep.

I have flown to pick kittens up and I have had kittens shipped to me. I will ALWAYS choose to pick my kitten up. I've not had a kitten traumatized by having to go on a plane where they always know the human is there and they are safe, while I have received kittens that obviously had an unfortunate trip and are terrified. I prefer to have control over what their experience is, and feel that me being there during the journey can make sure bad things don't happen.

It IS more expensive to fly to pick up a kitten when you count the cost of your airfare, the pet fare and the health certificate. But the kitten needs the health certificate to be shipped cargo in any case. And yes, you need to carry a cleanup kit, just like if you were traveling with a baby. It's best if the breeder already has the kitten used to wearing a walking jacket, as going through security is easier if you have that to hang onto instead of just the wriggly kitten body. And if you hit a delay in a connecting flight then you have the option of finding the pet relief area and at least kitten can come out and stretch their legs for a bit.

Having done it both ways, my end conclusion is different...that for a well-socialized kitten that is inclined to put their trust in humans...it is less stressful and better for that kitten to fly in cabin with their new owner than be shipped in cargo.
Thank you, Brigitte! From what I understand, Triton's mother had more kittens than nipples, so he was hand-fed as a baby, and is extremely well socialized.
 

Patti

Admin
Staff member
#6
I don't disagree with you Brigitte although I've never had a kitten traumatized by cargo, and I never promoted cargo over carry on, only said that I sometimes wonder if it is less stressful, primarily because I have had a few judges tell me that they will ship their kittens in cargo if they are flying to a show. If I am flying I will always carry on unless the cat is simply too large to fit under the seat, but I do think there are pros and cons to both options.
 

John Popp

Site Supporter
#7
Hmmmm, that has me thinking it might be a good idea to ship in a pad to the breeder before we pick up our next kitten. Deals with the family scent and will provide an extra level of security for the kitten.

Also, on one my recent vet visits, I discovered that Chongo did a lot better in the carrier when he buried himself under the pad. Kind of defeated the purpose of what the pad is in there for, so I purchased a second one. The last trip to the vet, with two pads making a Chongo sandwich, he was much quieter, more relaxed and comfortable. He would certainly squeeze himself on top or under both, but no question he did a lot better with whatever security he believed they provided.
 

Sunny

Loyal Servant
#8
I will report back my findings on a well socialized kitten and first time SV owner on Sat along with updated pictures. We fly on Fri and I will definitely get some clean-up things. I have a 3 hour flight, but when you are dealing with an unhappy kitten it will feel like 3x the duration, particularly from the neighbors in the seat next to you and in front/behind who might not understand. I felt hand carried was best and it is going to be up to my Isis to determine how much of a pain she wants to be, I have really no say being a handler. The safety pins for the zippers is a fine idea - I ended up picking up a 6ft lead that can link up to be a 3ft one so I can have extra security on the Puppia shoulder/neck padded harness. I use these with great results on my two full size boys and that should help in the case of an escape.

In my novice opinion, the more confident the cat, the more vocal they are going to be about their confinement. A more timid feline is going to provide a slightly or more easier time from what I've observed with only my two boys. The alpha who is very social, dominant, confident becomes a mewing unhappy wreck in the carrier and car, where as the quiet subservient and aloof Ra is less cuddly with me but doesn't vocalize one peep and just waits it out.

I'll tell you how it goes when I encounter Isis and see if I'm able to establish an **immediate rapport and how the relatively short flight goes. Immediate meaning the first hour before I need to start heading towards security for boarding an hour and change later.
 
C

Coolcat

Guest
#9
I will report back my findings on a well socialized kitten and first time SV owner on Sat along with updated pictures. We fly on Fri and I will definitely get some clean-up things. I have a 3 hour flight, but when you are dealing with an unhappy kitten it will feel like 3x the duration, particularly from the neighbors in the seat next to you and in front/behind who might not understand. I felt hand carried was best and it is going to be up to my Isis to determine how much of a pain she wants to be, I have really no say being a handler. The safety pins for the zippers is a fine idea - I ended up picking up a 6ft lead that can link up to be a 3ft one so I can have extra security on the Puppia shoulder/neck padded harness. I use these with great results on my two full size boys and that should help in the case of an escape.

In my novice opinion, the more confident the cat, the more vocal they are going to be about their confinement. A more timid feline is going to provide a slightly or more easier time from what I've observed with only my two boys. The alpha who is very social, dominant, confident becomes a mewing unhappy wreck in the carrier and car, where as the quiet subservient and aloof Ra is less cuddly with me but doesn't vocalize one peep and just waits it out.

I'll tell you how it goes when I encounter Isis and see if I'm able to establish an **immediate rapport and how the relatively short flight goes. Immediate meaning the first hour before I need to start heading towards security for boarding an hour and change later.
Lucky you im going to have a 6hr or so flight- flying AZ all the way to OH.Hopeing it wont be too bad,good luck on sat !
 

BlackLabelKim

Savannah Super Cat
#10
I have flown twice now to pick up F1s. I've learned the following with my limited experience:
-Soft Side SMALL carrier for under the seat in front
-Ask the breeder to put a small square of fleece(or other cloth) with the baby at home a week or so before you pick kitten up. You can then put the cloth in the carrier with the kitten and they at least get the smell of their original home.
-Make sure you have kitten's health certificate with you at check in. They may OR may not look at it.
-Ticket was inexpensive in the grand scheme of the cost of your kitten. $140 I think, maybe less.
-Don't feed the kitten the morning of your flight.
-At security you will need to remove the kitten from the carrier. Don't put them down...even for a second. Be prepared to be asked A LOT of questions by complete strangers.
-Your kitten will likely cycle through being calm and sleeping to crying and scratching the carrier to get out. This is normal!
-Once in the air I was able to put the carrier on my lap and slip my hand inside to pet/calm baby.
-Pack in your carry on: unscented baby wipes and plastic bag IN CASE of an accident (We never had one either time), a small baggie of dry kibble IN CASE you are stranded at an airport for longer than anticipated.

That's all I can think of! Picking up your kitten in person is a MUST IMO!