Travels with Kitty: Little Cat Sat Beside Me in the Airplane

Have Cat, Will Travel.

Top of suitcase -- Emerald's new favorite place to sleep.
Top of suitcase -- Emerald's new favorite place to sleep.
This is Emerald before she became a traveler.
This is Emerald before she became a traveler.

Pets are for Keeps

I am here to tell the tale of my Emerald Kitty Kitty’s airplane cabin trip to the mainland of the United States and onward to Canada. Luckily for me, she had a two month layover before the second leg of the trip so she could get her sassy nature in fine shape again.

In my hub, Kitty Leaving on a Jet Plane I opined, whined, and worried over how I would get E.K. Kitty through the security process at the Maui airport en route to Arizona. Turned out, I hadn't worried enough. It was worse than I feared.

The veterinarian on Maui gave me a sedative to administer to Kitty an hour before we were to leave for the airport. The pill was cut in half so it wouldn’t render Kitty immobile, but would calm her substantially. I was very nervous all morning about being able to get the pill into Kitty’s mouth. It was important not to scare Kitty or get her anxious because the sedative would not work then. It would have the opposite effect since its ingredient worked on the hormones that cause the animal to want to sprint to safety.

Somethin's Up. What's Going On?

Kitty becoming a little suspicious about my motives the night before the trip.
Kitty becoming a little suspicious about my motives the night before the trip.

How Not to Take a Cat On Board the Airplane

When the moment arrived to give Kitty her half-portion sedative I practiced slow, deep breathing before approaching her. But she was already wise to the fact her whole world was turning upside down. She hadn’t been allowed out of the house all morning.

I couldn’t ask my husband for help as he would have obliterated all hope of success with his anxiety, so I had to make do with only two hands. I scruffed Kitty, held her chin, quickly and gently opened her mouth, pushed the pill in and blew at her face. She swallowed it! What a relief. Then I tried to get her into the soft-sided cat carrier. She backed out, scared. I used my most reassuring voice to stop her from getting her hormones flying wildly. I could not imagine going on this trip with Kitty if she wasn’t partially sedated. Determined, I stuffed her in the bag, grabbed my purse and walked out to the car. Within seconds of placing Kitty in the vehicle and closing the door, Kitty had pushed her head through the bottom opening of the zipper. I had supposed the zipper would stay closed. There are zippers on both ends of the cat carrier and one on the left side, so she had three zippers to escape through if I didn’t come up with a quick solution. My husband wouldn’t stop the car as he is one of these people who like to get to an airport hours and hours before a flight. Due to this habit of his, I knew it would be 12 hours before we arrived in Arizona and drove to the residence where I could safely let Kitty out of the carrying bag and introduce her to a new cat litter box. She was going to need to hold fluids and solids within her body for 12 hours. She had dutifully used her catbox before we departed.

Kitty getting used to her soft-sided cat carrier before departing.  She thought it might be her new bed for the bedroom.
Kitty getting used to her soft-sided cat carrier before departing. She thought it might be her new bed for the bedroom.

Getting a Cat Through Security at the Airport

I held tightly onto the bag as Kitty threw her weight into the bag at every angle. I dug into my purse. I came up with six coated elastics which I frantically tied, double-knotted, onto each adjoining zipper so there was no way Kitty could break out. She was meowing loudly, telling me I had betrayed her beyond belief.

It took a half hour to get to the airport and get the luggage checked in. I carried my 10 pound cat, one-pound cat carrier and eight pound purse as far as I could. I was sweating.

Dear Husband doesn’t like any added attention so he went ahead of me in the security line. When I placed my purse onto the tray, took off my shoes and looked toward the Security Agent, I supposed the agent would be helpful – and perhaps even not make me take my precious cat out of her safe environment. Yes, I’m a dreamer. Sometimes it pays off. But no, the agent hurried over and said, “What have you got here?”

“A cat -- and she’s very frightened.”

“Take her out of the bag so I can check the bag, “ he commanded.

That’s when things got bad. I had supposed if worse came to worst, I would un-tie the elastics and pick up my Kitty. I had placed a collar on her before we left so I’d have something to grab if she tried to escape from my arms. But the elastics would not un-tie. I had double-knotted them and they were secure. Kitty was not as frantic as she would have been if she had not been sedated, but still she was scared and meowing softly for help. Meanwhile, about fifty people had gotten into line and were waiting for me to get this ordeal over with. The security agent said he would get some scissors. He disappeared. Moments went by. Minutes went by. Kitty was trying every move she knew to escape from the cloth bag. The line behind me was growing longer. Frustrated people were trying to look polite.

My Kitty was Not Calm Like This in the Security Line at the Airport

This photo was taken before the trip when she had no idea what this brown bag was for.
This photo was taken before the trip when she had no idea what this brown bag was for.

The security agent finally returned with scissors and ripped through one of the elastics. I grabbed Kitty just as she tried to squeeze through and jump for freedom. I held onto her and bore my eyeballs into the agent’s eyes as he did not seem in any hurry to do whatever he thought was so important to do with regard to the empty soft-sided cat carrier. Finally he walked back to the cat carrier, glanced into it and then he threw it lightly to me. Well, Mister, I’m trying to hold onto my cat. And where was my husband? Hello? For better, for worse, where are you? Sweat was pouring off me by this time. And I’d become so hungry from the stress that I could hardly think straight. I got myself and Kitty to the end of the security area and tried to call over the din of noise as my husband gingerly ascended the escalator. I yelled loud and repeatedly until everyone in the area could hear – except apparently – him. Someone nudged him on the escalator and he regained consciousness, ran down the moving stairs and came to my side. (This is the way I remember it. He does not.) It took the skill of both of us to open the raggedy bag and place terrified little Kitty into it. People were everywhere. It was mayhem.


We boarded the plane hours later. Kitty was nicely sedated by then. I had placed a towel over the mesh of the cat carrier so she could not see out of her enclosure. She slept from Maui to Honolulu. We had a two-hour layover in Honolulu. Kitty slept while we ate in a restaurant. She meowed once in a while, but went back to sleep.

The vet had told me the sedative would only work for about six hours. There was no way I was going to open the cat carrier and try to give her another half of sedative once we were on the plane to Phoenix, Arizona. I could lose her on the plane. The sedative did begin to wear off an hour into the flight to Phoenix, but I had her positioned under the seat ahead, a towel over her carrier, and my left foot under the towel so she could see it was me there with her. She meowed softly a few times. My husband mentioned several times he would not sit with me if Kitty defecates. Kitty has very good manners, I am happy to report.

So we made it to the Phoenix airport by midnight and enjoyed a family reunion at the airport. By the time we gathered our luggage and drove all the way to the nether-reaches of Metro Phoenix, Kitty was in great discomfort, but she made it all the way. At her new abode, she caught sight of the new cat box before I got the zippers of her carrier unzipped. She jumped out of her warm enclosure and purringly jumped into the catbox.

What an ordeal. I rested for two months.

Kitty played hide and seek the first week in her new digs. Mostly she hid. Soon she prowled around the house at night. Before long she was hanging out with the resident dogs, Tika, Hansen and Zsa Zsa. She was showing her dominance to the two cats while practicing her stalking of the two birds. Kela Bird taught her Birds Rule.

More friends for Kitty.
More friends for Kitty.

Flying with Kitty from the U.S. to Canada


When the date arrived for our departure from Arizona to Canada, I felt the familiar butterflies in my stomach. An hour before we were to leave for the airport, I attempted to give a half of the appropriate sedative to Kitty. She knew all morning what was up. She saw me packing suitcases until 3:00 a.m. and she was ready for me. She slithered out of my grasp and eluded all my attempts to catch her. I finally admitted defeat and called my (adult) daughter to come into the bedroom to help me. Dear Daughter is studying to be a vet. She is very animal-savvy. Still, she didn’t really want to ‘pill’ my cat because -- as she put it -- it had taken her almost five years to gain Emerald Kitty Kitty’s trust. Now she was going to blow it in five seconds. (E. K. Kitty is like a Burmese cat in that she is a one-person feline. It is rare for Emerald to trust another person.)

Time was running out. We had an hour’s drive to the airport ahead of us. My daughter got hold of Kitty, ‘pilled’ her and helped us out to the car.

This time everything went very well. I had the elastics, double-tied, on each zipper. I had Kitty’s Health Certificate for entrance into Canada. I felt empowered because I believed I could do this alone. No husband along this time and only a five hour trip ahead. That was fine and good until we had parked the car at the airport and started walking to the ticketing area. I started to worry. Panic is more the word. My daughter would not be allowed into the Security area. I pictured losing my cat in this huge airport and nobody caring. What do you do after you lose your cat at the airport? Do you just go home and think, “Oh well.” Do you camp out and become a homeless person there until your cat shows up? I think probably the latter.


Hyperventilating, Kitty and Me

My daughter told me she wouldn’t leave the airport until she could see I was safely through Security with Kitty in hand. I started to hyperventilate a little after Priscilla left. A very nice young Security person named Janine helped me through Security. She was very concerned about our not losing the cat. She was efficient and helpful. She helped me put Kitty back into the cat carrier after she verified the emptiness of it. I shall forever like the name Janine.

Dear daughter phoned me as I left the security area. She had been watching through a window and knew all was well.

The flight to Saskatchewan had an hour’s layover in Denver. The airport was very cold. There are 93 gates for United Airlines at the Denver airport. I carried my Emerald Kitty Kitty a long ways and then I limped onto the moving walkway. Kitty was still sedated, so I stopped for a hearty sandwich and just made it in time to the gate for final boarding.

On board the flight to Denver, it was noisy and cold.

I asked the plane's steward if I may put my cat on the seat beside me after take-off. The drafts at my feet were so cold. Kitty had to be freezing. He said yes. It's standard procedure for items to be allowed on the seat after take off, once the seat belt light is turned off, he said.

Emerald Kitty Kitty and I flew, sitting pretty, into Canadian airspace as the clock turned midnight.


All's Well.

Source
Source
Emerald Kitty Kitty and Potcha in Arizona
Emerald Kitty Kitty and Potcha in Arizona
Emerald Kitty Kitty and her new Saskatchewan  friend, Cassidy.
Emerald Kitty Kitty and her new Saskatchewan friend, Cassidy.

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Comments 28 comments

Pamela Kinnaird W profile image

Pamela Kinnaird W 2 years ago from Maui and Arizona Author

FlourishAnyway, driving definitely is a much calmer way to go. Last year while in Canada we went visiting more relatives which involved a six-hour road trip with Kitty. It was so easy. Big dog crate with room enough for Kitty and her water and her catbox. She slept all the way (without sedation.)

Thanks for visiting.


FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

Bless your heart and Emerald Kitty's too. I have traveled on a plane once with a cat and it was enough to convince me to drive, no matter the distance -- although certainly you could not have from Hawaii. My cat's third eyelids came down and he looked terrible.


Pamela Kinnaird W profile image

Pamela Kinnaird W 4 years ago from Maui and Arizona Author

Escobana, I'm glad you enjoyed the hub. I mentioned my daughter in the reply to you on Kitty, Leaving On a Jet Plane and just wanna say: she has introduced a lot of dogs to her cats because she is always rescuing dogs. But she doesn't introduce them formally. She lets the cats come around when they are ready. The dogs, meanwhile, get the picture -- that the cats and the birds in that household Rule. Thanks for reading, voting and for the Share.


Escobana profile image

Escobana 4 years ago from Valencia

Glad to see you made it all the way and the pictures are lovely! Your Kitty looks almost exactly like my Loes.

Fun fact: My cats will need to get used to our Brazilian dog when he comes living with us next year. I'm hoping for a very peaceful introduction:) For now I enjoyed your Hub a lot!

Up, Useful, Awesome and Shared!


Pamela Kinnaird W profile image

Pamela Kinnaird W 4 years ago from Maui and Arizona Author

I'm so glad you dropped by to read up on Kitty. Thank you, Maralexa.


Maralexa profile image

Maralexa 4 years ago from Vancouver, Canada and San Jose del Cabo, Mexico

Pamela Kinnaird W. What a beautiful hub! Both your hubs on Emerald Kitty Kitty. Having loved my beautiful KC so much I can only imagine how difficult it was for you to take EK Kitty on board a plane. I am so thankful that your beautiful EKK is happy in his retirement.

Voted up, awesome and beautiful (both hubs).


Pamela Kinnaird W profile image

Pamela Kinnaird W 4 years ago from Maui and Arizona Author

carol7777, that's nice that you have a way to travel in your vehicle with your two cats when necessary. I've never had a cat that likes that.


carol7777 profile image

carol7777 4 years ago from Arizona

Enjoyed reading this...We have two cats and traveling in the car is enough of a challenge.. However when you have to...Thanks for sharing all the photos and thoughts.


Pamela Kinnaird W profile image

Pamela Kinnaird W 4 years ago from Maui and Arizona Author

Aviannovice, hopefully Emerald Kitty Kitty's traveling days are over. Thanks for stopping by to read.


aviannovice profile image

aviannovice 4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

This was very funny at times, but I don't mean to laugh at poor Kitty's experience. If I were in her fur, I wouldn't have liked it.


Pamela Kinnaird W profile image

Pamela Kinnaird W 4 years ago from Maui and Arizona Author

thumbi7, I'm so glad you laughed. I don't know if I'm dull or what, but very few people get my humor. I appreciate you taking the time to come and read.


thumbi7 profile image

thumbi7 4 years ago from India

Very interesting story and I laughed a lot

But You managed the situation well.

Thanks for sharing


Pamela Kinnaird W profile image

Pamela Kinnaird W 4 years ago from Maui and Arizona Author

That must have been something traveling by car with two kitties. My dad did it a few years ago. He put two cat cages together, tied tightly together at the open doors so the cats could not get out, but one cage was for sleeping and eating -- the other cage held the litter box.

Thanks for commenting.


KathyH profile image

KathyH 4 years ago from Las Vegas, Nevada

Wow, congratulations on making it with your beautiful kitty! :) We moved from Wisconsin to Nevada, 38 hour trip by car, and brought two kitties with us, but I really DID toy with the idea of flying with TWO kitties, now after reading this, I am soooo glad we drove, even though it took longer than flying! ;) Thank you for sharing!


urmilashukla23 profile image

urmilashukla23 4 years ago from Rancho Cucamonga,CA, USA

What an interesting ordeal. You had managed the situation very well. Love your cat. So adorable! I have two black cats too.


Pamela Kinnaird W profile image

Pamela Kinnaird W 4 years ago from Maui and Arizona Author

Nell Rose, You and me both, yes. There's no way you can leave an airport without your kitty. He/she would feel so deserted and betrayed. Thanks, Nell Rose.


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 4 years ago from England

Hi, I am so glad you managed your journey okay with kitty, I learned so much from you story, I never even knew that you had to go through all that just to take a cat with you! lol! you are a calmer person than me! I would have panicked, lost the cat, and as you said, camped out front until I found it!


Suzie ONeill profile image

Suzie ONeill 4 years ago from Lost in La La Land

So glad that both you and your kitty survuved your trip. Travelling with cats is always a nightmare! Thanks for sharing your story!

BTW, I'm typing this with one hand because I have 2 new kittens sleeping on the edge of my lap. Trying to prevent them from sliding off with my other hand! LOL


Pamela Kinnaird W profile image

Pamela Kinnaird W 4 years ago from Maui and Arizona Author

Case1worker, thanks for stopping by.


CASE1WORKER profile image

CASE1WORKER 4 years ago from UNITED KINGDOM

I am so glad you made it. I can imagine your terror. I have enough of a problem taking my boys 3 miles down the road to the vet!!


Pamela Kinnaird W profile image

Pamela Kinnaird W 4 years ago from Maui and Arizona Author

Kris Heeter, thank you.


Kris Heeter profile image

Kris Heeter 4 years ago from Indiana

What a beautiful cat! Mine is dearly departed but I could not have imagined trying to travel by plane with her. This was a fun read!


Pamela Kinnaird W profile image

Pamela Kinnaird W 4 years ago from Maui and Arizona Author

Writer20, yes, thank goodness -- and I'm never flying with an animal again. Next time, we'll drive (now that we're on the mainland.)

Jandee, I'm glad I made you laugh. Thanks for your comment.


jandee profile image

jandee 4 years ago from Liverpool.U.K

Pamela that was hilarious !You made me laugh so much.Good writing,best from jandee


writer20 profile image

writer20 4 years ago from Southern Nevada

What an ordeal, thank goodness it came to an end.


Pamela Kinnaird W profile image

Pamela Kinnaird W 4 years ago from Maui and Arizona Author

Peggy W and Diogenes, thanks for taking the time to read this hub. Diogenes, yes dear husband has a few redeeming qualities. e.g. He does love birds. As for his stint in the airport, he was just being himself. He shies away from attention and he knew kitty and I were going to be in the center of it.


diogenes 4 years ago

A lovely story! I have traveled with a dog from Oz to Mexico and back to Spain, but he went with the cases and was very good. Cats are a whole other ball game. I hope your husband has a better side that the one that emerged in your story!

What cats don't like, they don't take lying down! I know have had quite a few of them and loved them all...Bob


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 4 years ago from Houston, Texas

What an ordeal! Glad to hear that you and Emerald Kitty Kitty survived and are happily settled into your new home. Up, funny and interesting votes!

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