Cat Transport Cost Calculator | Find Affordable Rates for Cat Shipping Services

Patrick MacFarland Patrick MacFarland · Updated July 1, 2024

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Two orange and white kittens inside a metal cage, looking out between the bars. A small black plastic container is placed at the front of the cage.

Are you planning to relocate with your feline friend? Do you feel overwhelmed by the complexities and uncertainties of cat transportation costs? That’s understandable because most people don’t have experience transporting their pets. The #1 thing you should know is that you’re not alone and there are many resources to help you.

The first step is understanding the factors that influence cat transport expenses. It’s an important first step that allows you to ensure you budget everything and make adjustments as you go along. This will get you to save money and be stress-free.

Cat Transportation Cost Factors to Consider

Various factors affect the cost of cat transportation. Let’s take a look at each of them below.


When it comes to pet transportation, distance is the factor that plays the most important role. Usually, a short journey will be less expensive and a long journey more expensive, since companies charge per mile. Pay attention to the per-mile rate when looking at pet shipping companies — some offer a lower per-mile rate for long-distance trips. Most people expect to pay about $0.50 to $1.60 per mile.

Pet Size and Breed

There are usually restrictions when it comes to pet size. Pet shipping companies may not accept certain breeds or cats over a certain size. Size can affect cost — larger cats may cost more to transport because they take up so much space.

Additionally, transporting your pet by itself (aka a “solo” transport) is more expensive than with other animals. When transporters can fit two or three pets in a single trip, they pass the savings along to the shipper.

Health Documentation

Before pet travel can begin, go to a USDA-registered veterinarian and get a health certificate — officially known as a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection (CVI). You’ll also need to ensure all your pet’s immunizations are up-to-date. The health certificate costs vary, but usually they run at around a $100-$300 fee. You should check to see what health documentation is required at your destination, as well.


Safety is important in all journeys — whether it’s by air or ground. To ensure your pet’s safety during the trek, you should buy a durable crate. Crates for small cats can range from $50-$100, but larger crates can cost up upwards of $200. Some pet transportation companies provide their own carrier for your kitty, but may charge more for this convenience.

Special Handling Requirements

Special handling requirements, such as medical conditions, temperament issues or specific care instructions, can add to the cost of dog transport. Some cats may require additional supervision, medication administration or specialized equipment to ensure their safety and well-being during the journey.

Insurance Fees

Opting for insurance coverage for your pet during transport is advisable to mitigate any unforeseen risks or incidents, albeit at an additional cost. It is important to note that 99.9% of journeys happen with no incident, but it’s best to be safe than sorry. Investing in some type of insurance coverage is smart.

One benefit of CitizenShipper is that it comes with a complementary Pet Protection Policy. That means that in the unlikely circumstance your pet has an emergency, you’re covered. You can also opt for even more protection for a small fee.

A woman shipping a grey and white cat by air.

Ways to Save Money on Cat Relocation

There is always a light at the end of the tunnel. That’s right! There are ways to save money on cat relocation. Quit spending hours and hours searching on Google for pet shipping companies that will sneak in hidden fees or cost you an arm and a leg.

Always start with researching companies that are USDA-approved and have good reviews on social media apps or other sites. That way you won’t get surprised with paying too much. There is also another alternative. A two-way marketplace like CitizenShipper can be the option you’ve been looking for. It’s the safest and more affordable way to transport a pet. Transporters on CitizenShipper treat your cat as if it was their own. Drivers understand your cat means the world to you so they’ll treat them with proper care throughout the entire journey.

Extra Charges Related to Cat Ground Travel Arrangements

When calculating cat transport costs, it’s essential to consider any extra charges related to ground travel arrangements. These may include:

  • Tolls: Depending on the route taken, there may be toll roads or bridges that incur additional charges.
  • Accommodation: If the journey requires overnight stays, you may need to factor in the cost of accommodation for both you and your cat. The overall cost of a transporter’s fees could also include accommodation.
  • Special Handling: If your cat requires special handling or care during the journey, such as medication administration or dietary restrictions, there may be additional charges associated with these services.

Two cats are inside a pet carrier. One cat is near the front with its head visible, and the other cat is in the back, partially obscured.

Cat Air Transport vs. Ground Transport

One of the key considerations when calculating cat transport costs is whether to opt for air or ground transport. Here’s a comparison of the two options:

  • Cat Air Transport: Air transport is typically faster and more convenient for long-distance journeys, but it can also be more expensive. The cost of cat air transport varies depending on factors such as the airline, destination, size of the cat, and whether you are going to check your cat with their carrier.
  • Cat Ground Transport: Ground transport is often more affordable and suitable for shorter distances. It allows for more personalized care and attention for your cat during the journey. The cost of cat ground transport is influenced by factors such as distance, fuel prices, and additional services required.

Long story short, transporting your cat can be a complex process. With looking at all the factors that go in with cat transport, you can easily estimate the expenses involved and find affordable rates. When doing this, you can also ensure a smooth and stress-free journey for your cute kitty cat. Whether you’re moving across the country or sending your cat to a new home, finding the right transport option at the right price is essential for peace of mind.

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