Understanding United Airlines Pet Policy for Cats

Adaeze Nwakaeze Adaeze Nwakaeze · Updated February 23, 2024

Ensure Your Furry Friend's Comfort!

  • Fast and easy
  • Only pay when you book
Understanding pet policy for cats on United Airlines.

Traveling with a cat can be a fun and exciting experience, but it’s important to understand the airline’s policies and restrictions to ensure a safe and hassle-free journey. If you’re flying with your cat on United Airlines, there are some important things you need to know, as the airline has specific pet policies that passengers must follow when flying with a cat. In this guide, we’ll cover all the important details regarding United Airlines’ pet policy for cats, including eligibility requirements, fees and other restrictions.

What’s United Airlines’ Pet Policy for Cats?

United Airlines allows cats to travel as carry-on, checked and in-cabin pets. As a pet-friendly airline, they accommodate different cat breeds except for Persians, Himalayans and other snub-nosed breeds due to the risks associated with their breathing. 

Concerning age restrictions, United Airlines only allows cats that are at least two months old on domestic flights and cats of four months old to travel on international flights. And cats must be in good health and have all their required vaccinations before they can fly on the plane.

United Airlines’ In-Cabin Pet Policy for Cats

In-cabin pets are cats that travel with the passenger in an airline pet carrier under the seat. Though cats are allowed to fly in-cabin, their carrier must be able to fit under the seat. Like most other airlines, United Airlines allows a maximum of two pets to travel in premium cabins and up to four pets in economy cabins.

In that regard, be sure to confirm the availability of in-cabin pet space when making your flight reservation, as pets will be accepted in the cabin on a first-come, first-served basis. Also, note that United only accepts pets in the cabin. But currently, the airline does not allow cats and other pets to travel in the cargo hold. 

If you don’t plan on traveling with your pet on the flight, hire an air nanny. This pet professional accompanies your pet on the plane and provide care and supervision for your beloved kitty.

Fees Associated with Flying a Cat on United Airlines

United Airlines charges a fee for passengers who want to travel with a cat. The fee is a flat rate of $125 each way for cats traveling as a carry-on, checked, or in-cabin pet. You most pay the fee at the time of booking.

Restrictions When flying with a cat on United Airlines

United Airlines has specific restrictions for traveling with a cat. For example, your cat must be flown in a pet crate which must not exceed the maximum size the airline allows. Maximum dimensions for hard-sided carriers are 12″ high, 17.5″ long and 7.5″ wide. For soft-sided carriers, the maximum dimensions are 11″ high, 18″ long and 11″ wide.

So, endeavor to get the right-sized airline pet carrier for your cat before boarding. Additionally, cats must stay in their crates for the duration of the flight. Sadly, they cannot sit on your lap.

What Documents Must Be Provided?

When flying with a cat on United Airlines, passengers must provide a valid health certificate from a veterinarian. The health certificate — Certificate of veterinary Inspection — must be issued within 28 days of the flight date and must include proof of the required vaccinations such as rabies and distemper. Since the airline complies with CDC’s pet travel regulations, they may demand additional documents depending on the cat’s origin and destination.

Preparing Your Cat

To have a stress-free travel experience with your cat, you’ll need to take some precautionary measures. Acclimate your cat to the pet crate before your flight date. Start by placing the cat carrier in a safe and comfortable environment in your home and allow your cat to explore it. You could also place familiar items like blankets, toys and treats inside the crate so your cat feels comfortable and relaxed.

Additionally, feed your kitty three to four hours before the flight. A full stomach can make them more anxious during the journey. Finally, ensure that your cat is wearing a collar with their ID tags for easy identification. Microchip your cat before traveling. Remember that the goal is to make your cat feel relaxed and comfortable throughout the flight.


United Airlines’ pet policy for cats is comprehensive. It covers all the important details that passengers need to know when traveling with a cat. It is pertinent to familiarize yourself with the United Airlines pet travel policy and make sure all the requirements are met before booking a flight. With some preparation, flying with your cat can be an enjoyable and hassle-free experience.