What You Need to Know About American Airlines’ Cat Policy

Adaeze Nwakaeze Adaeze Nwakaeze · Updated January 16, 2024

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American Airlines' cat policy.

Traveling with your pet can be a stressful experience, and it doesn’t get any easier when you’re flying with your whiskered palTo make sure your next journey goes as smoothly as possible, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the specific policies Airlines has in place for cats. Whether you’re a seasoned pet parent or this is your first time traveling with your fur baby, here’s what you need to know about American Airlines’ cat policy.

Understanding American Airlines’ Pet Policy for Cats

American Airlines is a pet-friendly airline that allows cats to travel in the cabin and cargo hold. However, you must follow certain guidelines and regulations when bringing your cat along for the journey. For instance, before cats can fly on the airline, they must be more than eight weeks old, and if the cats are older than two months, they must be vaccinated for rabies.

American Airlines’ In-Cabin Pet Policy for Cats

For those who can’t bear to be apart from their kitty, American Airlines’ in-cabin pet policy for cats allows for small cats to fly with you in the cabin as a carry-on pet. According to the airline’s website, the cat carrier must fit under the seat in front of you, and the combined weight of the carrier and cat cannot exceed 20 pounds. But note that your cat must remain in their carrier at all times. That means no peeking out to take in the sights or chatting with the passenger next to you.

American Airlines Cargo Hold Pet Policy for Cats

If you’ve got a larger cat, or if your combined pet and kennel weight exceeds the 20-pound limit for the in-cabin option, American Airlines allows the cat to travel in the cargo hold. But don’t worry; your cat won’t be roughing it. American Airlines ensures that the cargo hold is temperature-controlled, safe, and comfortable for your furry friend.

Health and Documentation Requirements for Cats

Before you and your cat take to the skies, make sure your cat is healthy and up-to-date on their vaccinations. American Airlines requires that all cats have a health certificate issued by a licensed veterinarian within ten days of travel. The certificate must state that the animal is healthy and fit to fly and must also be accompanied by proof of the cat’s rabies vaccination and other vaccinations like feline distemper.

Requirements for Kennels

The first requirement for traveling with your cat on American Airlines is that your cat must be in a kennel. The kennel must be made of metal or hard plastic, with a secure door and enough room for your cat to stand up and turn around. It must also be clearly labeled with your name and address. The airline also requires that a food and water dish be securely attached to the inside of the kennel.

Pet Fees

American Airlines charges a fee for traveling with a pet, which ranges from $150 to $200, depending on the route. The fee covers both your pet and the kennel. Additionally, if you’re flying internationally, you’ll need to pay a fee of $125 for flights within the country and between the United States and Canada, Mexico and Central America.

Flight Restrictions for Pets

American Airlines only allows cats on flights that are 12 hours or less. Additionally, the airline does not allow pets on flights to Hawaii if your pet is on nonstop flights to Maui, the Big, Island of Hawaii or Kauai or if your pet is pregnant and past 45 days gestation. Additionally, American Airlines has a limited number of pets they allow in-cabin. Be sure to book your flight early if you’re bringing your cat along.

Other Guidelines for Traveling with Cats

American Airlines also has a few other guidelines for traveling with cats. Your cat must be at least eight weeks old and fully weaned. The airline also recommends bringing an extra kennel in case your first one does not meet their requirements. Additionally, you should check with the airline before your flight to ensure your cat is cleared for travel.


Flying with your cat doesn’t have to be a headache. If you abide by the airline’s guidelines, you can rest assured that your feline friend will be safe and comfortable on their journey. Just remember to follow the airline’s guidelines, prepare your cat, and gather all the necessary documentation for the flight ahead of time. Also, be sure to hire an air nanny if your cat needs extra support while on the flight. With a little planning and lots of love, your cat will be soaring through the clouds in no time!