What Is the Best Way to Transport a Cat?

Cagri Sarigoz Cagri Sarigoz · Updated September 27, 2023


Are you having difficulties transporting your cat across the US?

Application for pet adoptions started to increase during the early stages of the pandemic. This went on to continue during the many lockdowns all over the country. In reality, the demand for cats is so high that most animal shelters like MEOW declared that they’re out of cats.

Due to social distancing, bringing in more cats is proving to be more difficult. This problem is also true for pet owners looking to transport their cats.

Are you one of the many cat owners looking for the best way to transport your pet? If so, this article is for you! Keep reading to find out the best cat transport service for your pet.

Transporting Your Cat By Ferry

Cat transport by sea is possible, but only a few ferries allow pet travel. Those that allow pets onboard have guidelines on the age, size, and the number of cats allowed.

For one, the only time that owners can walk their cats is when the vessel is in port. Often, ferries don’t allow cats in passenger cabins or above the car deck. So for those traveling on a ferry without a car, it’s required that you keep your cat in a carrier on the car deck all the time.

Meanwhile, cat owners that bring their car have the privilege to visit their cat on the car deck. Pursers will open the car deck for 15 minutes and announce it on board. This allows cat owners to attend to their pets as needed throughout the sail.

Please do note that motion sickness is common for ferry travel, especially for young ones. If you know that your cat hasn’t outgrown motion sickness, it’s best to opt for another transportation service.

Flying Your Cat

There is no one best cat transport service, but pet air travel today has come a long way. Airlines are now more open to boarding more animals and even have a designated pet space. In addition, almost every airline allows most dogs and cats to travel by air with the exemption of “snub-nosed” dogs and cats.

You have three options to choose from when it comes to commercial air flights. You can either transport your cat as a cargo, carry-on or checked luggage. We’ll explain this further below:


If you opt for cargo, be aware that you have a limited choice for airlines as only a few allow crated cargo. Delta, United, and Southwest have put a hold on accepting crated animal cargos. Thus, American Airlines is your best option for cargo, but not without its limitations.

For one, your cat should at least be 8 weeks old and is less than 100 pounds. Pet travel is not allowed when the temperature on both the origin and destination exceed 85℉. Thus, if you’re traveling to warm destinations like Las Vegas, opt for ground transportation instead.

Cats transported by air in cargo are a pricey arrangement. This is why we only recommend this option when you are shipping your cat without anyone accompanying it.


Meanwhile, you can always choose to keep your cat close to you by transporting them as a carry-on. But, only if your cat meets the recommended size limit. If you’re flying under American, Delta, United, and Southwest Airlines, you can only bring 1 kennel.

The kennel will replace your carry-on bag. This means that you’re no longer allowed to bring an extra carry-on besides your cat carrier. You’ll also have to pay a carry-on pet fee.

Checked Luggage

To differentiate carry-on and checked luggage, the latter occurs when your cat flies with you but stays in the cargo hold. Your cat will remain inside its approved carrier throughout the flight. This is a less expensive option compared to cargo and carry-on.

However, you’ll need to undergo extra processes such as arriving and checking in early at the airport. In most cases, you’ll have to be at least four to three hours early to run through a smooth process.

Friendly Reminders When Transporting Cat By Air

Contact your airlines and have them discuss their pet travel policy with you. This will help you discern which air flight option is available for you. Also, don’t forget to ask them for their guidelines, as some may require you to provide a health certificate.

When flying your cat, it’s best to book your cat’s flight as early as possible to make room for adjustments. With the changing air flight protocols, cancellation and postponement are likely in order.

For a safe flight, get your cat a sturdy pet carrier. Make sure to get a secured mechanism for the door latch to prevent them from escaping. It should also be large enough for your cat to stand, stretch, turn around, and lay down.

Adequate ventilation is also required. Remember to mark your carrier with “LIVE ANIMAL” along with your cat’s information.

State which side should be up by placing arrows. It’s also advisable to arrange a pick-up service for your cat to prevent it from staying in the cargo area for too long.

Before your air flight, warm up your cat by walking it. While this may not prevent motion sickness, it can relax your cat, reducing the chances that it’ll get sick. Also, avoid feeding your cat too much food before the flight.

Ground Cat Transportation

Another option is via trains but under certain weight circumstances. Amtrack’s rail, for instance, only allows cats weighing up to 20 pounds.

The weight of the cat carrier is also included in that 20-pound limit. Moreover, each train follows a limit of five pets, so you have to make a reservation.

It’s also important to understand that such pets are allowed only in Coach class. In here, your cats aren’t allowed to move around and must always be inside their carrier and under your seat.

The downside is that pets aren’t allowed if you’re traveling on a train for more than seven hours. In such events, using automobiles is your best option.

Private Automobile

The trouble with using public transportation is that there’s a high risk for infections.

Only 10% of dogs and cats in animal shelters tested positive for Covid-19 antibodies. Meanwhile, almost 70% of pet cats and 40% of pet dogs have tested positive.

New research found cats are more susceptible to contracting the virus than canines. Symptoms of dogs include sluggishness and loss of appetite. Cats have it bad as they experience have a runny nose and difficulty breathing.

As such, opting for private automobile transportation is less risky for your cat. If you don’t own a car, you can always call help from your friends and relatives.

Don’t want to cause inconvenience? Perhaps no one is available? Either way, it’s more efficient to call for licensed pet transporters.

Hesitating about using pet transporters? Read on to find out what you should look for in a cat transporter.

Why Hire Pet Transporters?

Whichever method you choose, transporting cats requires special attention that you may not be able to supplement. There is various paperwork required for pet transportation that may eat up your time.

If you opt for pet transporters, they’ll take care of everything, including the legal work. This relieves you of the stress that comes with preparing for cat transportation.

There are also certain protocols for pet transportation that you may not know. In worst-case scenarios, doing it yourself may endanger your cat.

Fortunately, there are pet transport service providers that you can rely on. These providers have enough experience in the market, which means that they’re an expert in transporting your cat quickly without risking its safety.

The greatest benefit that you can reap is their expertise in managing anxious cats. As you know, traveling is stress and anxiety-inducing experience for pets. This is especially true if you’re transporting your cats by car.

You’ll likely have to deal with your cat’s esophageal, digestive, and other symptoms of motion sickness. It’s also possible that your cat will display aggressiveness, as they’ll be on edge throughout the trip.

Managing these problems can be difficult, especially for first-time cat owners. Besides knowing how to transport a cat properly, transporters have enough knowledge on how to deal with motion sickness and aggression. You can rest assured that they’ll ensure a comfortable and relaxed trip for your cat.

CitizenShipper: The Best Cat Transport Service

If you are looking for the best cat transport service, check out a shipping marketplace. These platforms connect you with the best cat transport service providers.

The transporters at CitizenShipper provide a safe, comfortable, and timely shipping service. When you post a job on our platform, our trustworthy network will get the notification and send their bid. You have all the freedom to choose a suitable courier according to your needs.

What’s even greater about CitizenShipper is that the drivers on the platform are mostly independent. This means that you get a break from pricey courier services that big brands charge. As you receive various quotes, you’ll get to choose how much money you spend on transporting your cat.

What are you waiting for? Talk to us today and get access to these benefits and more!

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