Mar 1, 2005, 12:44 PM
Post #9 of 13
I bred and showed pedigree cats for almost 17 years. Needless to say, I shipped and flew all over with my cats, including DF. Here are some suggestions and comments based on the replies you've gotten so far.
1) Samsonite makes a great softsided pet carrier. It's got mesh sides with flaps that fold up and down and lots of zippers and zippered compartments. Because they are soft-sided the cats can freely turn around, plus you can get them crammed under the seat in front of you easier. They resemble a duffle style carry on. They come in multiple sizes, I recommend the medium or large size and they should be under $100.00
2) If your pet's vaccines (FVRCP + rabies) are not currently up-to-date, so that now. They will need current inoculations in order to travel, and it's better to get them ahead of time so that if there are any reactions you can deal with it with yoru regular vet and not in a foreign country.
3) You will need an International Health Certificate as you will be required to go through the agriculture inspection once you land in Mexico - or at least we had to when we landed in DF. Most vets in the U.S., especially those in states where people travel frequently to Mexico, usually have these on hand. Hang on to this as you will need it to get back out of the country.
4) Unless your cats are extremely timid, they do not need to be tranquilized. Cats are pretty sturdy and hearty and more likely to retain their wits about them when they are lucid. They may meow and let you know they hate being cooped up, but they do not need to be tranquilized. Cats don't live in the same dimension as we do, they can handle a lot of stuff we can't.
5) Rescue Remedy contains valerian root. Have you every tasted valerian root?? It is as bitter a vetch as you can find and grossly unappetizing. Rescue Remedy isn't much better. I was never able to get valerain root down any of my cats, the same for Rescue Remedy. I, OTOH, found a few drops of RR diluted in some room temperature water did WONDERS for me ;-)
6) Alaska Airlines had the best service and pet handling of any of the airlines I used over the years. I know they fly into many Mexican cities. If possible, I'd fly them because they don't get horribly uptight about animals on board. Continental isn't too bad either. Stay away from United, USAir, TWA, AmericaWest. An aquaintance of mine is a furloughed pilot for AeroMex, they will not take animals on board and are pretty strict about this.
7) Line the bottom of whatever carrier you use with disposable diapers or bed/chair pads. Cats have tremendous bladder control on flights and will do everything possible not to soil their environment. But, if you gotta go, you gotta go. The disposable pads can be pulled out and trashed thus allowing your pet to have a fresh space.
8) Ziplock baggies are a cat breeders best friend. You can bring a damp wash cloth just in case you need to clean anyone up. Fill 2 quart ziplocks, or 1 gallon ziplock with some of your cats favorite dry food. Pack this in your own hand luggage. A cats digestive system does tend to be a little sensitive, by bringing along enough food you can help them settle in more quickly and prevent loose stools and upchucking. It's also advisable to pack some water from home in an empty 20 oz soda bottle or other container you can tightly seal. Your cats system will have to adjust to the new bugs just like yours will, if you can transition them from home to Mexico by bringing a little bit of home with you, you'll have happier cats and less chance of intestinal distress in your animals.
Cats fly better than you think. Like many humans and most babies, they have some mild discomfort with their ears going up and coming down, but by and large, once they're safely stowed under the seat, they'll sleep through the whole thing. It's the human escorts that seem to have more issues with feline transport than not.
Good luck, enjoy yourself, your cats will tolerate the flight.