In many ways, life since the pandemic is starting to look more and more like it once did. One aspect that may always look a bit different is travel. Especially traveling with cats or any pets.
For pet owners, traveling has always been a bit more complicated. For those who are thinking about traveling with cats during a pandemic? That brings on another level of planning.
Still, with the amount of time we’ve spent at home these past few years, it makes sense that travel is picking up. And as cats are a part of our family, why shouldn’t they travel with us, too?
From increases in rentals at pet rental vacation homes to pet-friendly hotel booking options, pet owners will certainly have their choice of where to stay. It’s the traveling part that remains tricky.
So whether you’re looking to drive, book a train, or fly with your cat, we have some tips on the easiest way forward – for both you and your pet.
6 Tips For Traveling With Cats During A Pandemic
Flying with cats is more challenging now
There used to be an understanding between airlines and letting those with emotional support animals have their companion fly free. That is looking less likely now, thanks in part to new federal rules.
For travelers who want to fly with their cats, that can mean a pet fee and a carrier that can fit under the seat. Depending on the airline, you could be looking at $95 to $125 one way.
International travel is another story. From needing to comply with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to country-specific rules, it’s important to do your homework. Most important? Confirming your cats will be allowed back into the country.
How hotels define pet-friendly can change
As pet owners, we already know that not every hotel or Airbnb is going to accept our animal. There’s another challenge, though, in finding out just how these properties define pet-friendly.
Some hotels go the side of pet pampering, even offering gourmet pet food room service. Others just use pet-friendly to denote that pets are accepted – and that you’ll be charged for it.
It’s also worth noting that a hotel brand and its individual property owners may differ. In the same way prices vary, pet-friendliness can either be accepted or not. Be sure to inquire first.
Taking your cat on the road
Going on the road can be one of the safer ways to travel for health-conscious individuals. This also means the flexibility of staying at some pretty interesting Airbnbs or rentals while you travel.
It’s especially important with host-driven platforms to confirm the rules before you stay, as there may not be a universal policy. Accommodations can put restrictions on weight limits, a max number of animals, whether the animal can be left unattended, and even restrictions on breeds.
Cat owners are often subject to a specific list, too, so it’s helpful to know in advance what the expectations are.
Avoid cleaning charges in rental cars from traveling with cats
While rental car companies mostly allow pets, they may still have some fine-print worth reading. Does the cat need to be kept in a carrier? Does the car need to be returned lint and odor-free?
Knowing their expectations ahead of time will allow you to avoid any surprise fees. One surefire good idea? Bring an extra lint roller!
Train travel with your cat
Good news for those looking to see the country from a train car: Amtrak allows dogs and cats that weigh up to 20 pounds. As a note, this weight does include their carriers and applies on routes up to seven hours.
Cats are limited to coach and Acela business class, with a limit of one per customer. There is another limit of total animals per train, so be sure to make your reservation in advance (it costs $26).
Make a medical checklist for your cat
If a cat is flying, you should know if the airline needs a health certificate – and how far in advance that certificate can be issued.
In many cases, a pre-travel checkup can be advisable, especially for older animals. Discuss the type of travel with your vet to see if medications for nausea and anxiety are necessary.
This medical checklist will include medications and prescriptions. It’s also worth bringing a medical folder with the following info:
- Vaccination records
- Rabies certificate
- Records of any health issues
- A health certificate
- Cat’s microchip number
- Veterinarian’s contact information
Plus, if you’ll be staying in the same place for an extended period of time, consider having the contact information for emergency vet facilities.
While traveling is coming back to normal, traveling with a cat takes a bit more planning.