How To Fly For The First Time With Your Cat

In the first section of this article, you will find how we came about to fly for the first time with my cat Cezar. And I will take you through step by step how we did it. The second section will be about our adventure in Greece. We will then finish up with a few lines of a summary of our experience.

Now it was time to fly for the first time with my cat Cezar. And like most people I thought this was going to be hard. With no prior knowledge on how to fly with a cat, I did what most people would do, turning to google search engine. I wasn’t really that impressed by the results I got from google and I couldn’t find anyone who actually wrote about how to fly with a cat. 

Since I already knew our destination, the first step I took was to find out if I needed more documents for Cezar, flying from Sweden to Greece. 

Greece is still within the European Union so I already had the primary documents needed such as:

  • ISO-microchip
  • Pet passport
  • And a valid rabies vaccination.

Then googled which airline accepted pets and found out that some airlines actually do accept pets in the cabin. The next step was just to search for the airline’s name and pet policy. For example; ‘SAS pet policy’, and read the specifics on their website – The dimension of the carrier, the total weight, the additional cost for the pet service and how to actually book the service.

Thereafter, I researched for an airline approved pet carrier which corresponds to the overall requirements. In our case, the maximum dimensions are 40 x 25 x 23 (cm) with a total weight of 8 kg including the carrier. After reading some reviews, we settled on the Petsfit Expandable Softshell

HOW TO BOOK YOUR TICKETS WITH THE PET SERVICE

When booking my tickets, I narrowed down the search from the list of airlines who accepted pets in the cabin and picked the cheapest one.

Booked the ticket online and once I got the reservation/booking number I called the customer service to add the pet in-cabin service. Usually, on the airline’s website, they state that the reservation has to be done 24h prior to departure. However, I did the contrary for reasons that, would the airline not grant me my pet in-cabin service request; I’d still be able to cancel my ticket and get a refund within 24h after booking.

I always ask the customer service if they can send me the confirmation on my email so it’s included on my reservation. This usually takes a few hours to get.  And if you don’t get it, I recommend you contact the customer service again and insist.

As all the reservations were made and confirmation was settled, we still have to wait for the new carrier to be delivered for Cezar to get used to before our journey. Getting used to being in a pet carrier during the flight is vital and of great importance to the well-being and comfort of our furry friends. 

THE AIRLINE APPROVED PET CARRIER

My first impression of the pet carrier was above my expectations. The expandable feature would make the trip so much more comfortable for Cezar and I really liked the overall quality of it. 

(I will eventually write a review on it since this carrier has been with us for 3 years across 22 countries.)

It was used extensively for Cezar to get used to and he was ‘riding’ in it like a king!

SO THE TIME HAD COME FOR US TO FLY

When we arrived at the airport, I went straight to the check-in counter. I honestly really don’t remember if we had already paid for the pet service or if we did it at the airport. At that time the price was €40.

All they did at the counter was look through the pet passport and just looked at the bag and weighed it. And of course some admiring chit chat about my cat Cezar. 

Going through security was the funniest part. Obviously, I had to take Cezar out of the bag, while the bag went through the scanner. And him being a quite large cat and me being short, he looks even bigger. All the security guards were so amazed by the cat (and so was the rest of the people in the queue).

While we waited I tried to film a little bit for documentation. 

Going from an EU member state to another EU member state I didn’t have to show my passport nor Cezar’s pet passport. So we went just straight out of the airport. Right outside the airport, I tried to find a spot where Cezar could do his bathroom business and let him stretch his legs for a while.

WHAT WAS THE TRAVELING CAT DOING IN GREECE?

This is the second part of the article where we share our adventures in Greece.

After we came back from our bike-tour [link till bike-tour när den är färdig] I saw new opportunities and possibilities to travel with our furry friends, in my case a cat and it could be done in a very budget-friendly way. During our bike-tour, I was recommended to try out workaway.org. Workaway is a community where you can find a host who needs help and you would then work for 3-5h a day 5 days a week (rule of thumb they are all different) for food and accommodation. Basically a work exchange ‘deal’.

I found this Norwegian host ‘Jon’, who had done workaway himself for 3 years until he settled on Crete, Greece and started to host other workaways.

He had a piece of land on a slope with a few hundred olive trees. Two yurts and one caravan. When we first came, me and Cezar were the first arrivals, and two days later we were joined by an El Salvadorian girl Laura. Three of us had such a lovely time and to be honest, there wasn’t really that much working, only a lot of laughter.

And afterwards we were joined by an American and a Canadian couple.

Cezar got his first ‘needy’ girlfriend, Tsitsa. She was so keen on Cezar that he had to hide from her. There were also two dogs, Atjhoo and Rosa and a few chickens.

Being in the countryside, not too close to the main road, Cezar was a free-roaming cat.

We ate great home-cooked food and even got invited to restaurant food by the host Jon.

Hitchhiked to the beach and went on mini hikes. One time we even got lost and couldn’t find our way back until it was dark (this was all of us workaways, including the host).

The place was meager, the toilet was just a hole in the ground but the scenery over the valley was astonishingly beautiful. We had to take a shower outside, which was no more than a hose with a plastic bottle on with a lot of holes in it. Really minimalistic. But then again the breathtaking view of the valley.

We wouldn’t recommend this to ‘comfort’ tourists, and this is more for people who just want to live simply and enjoy the company of people from all around the world while not being afraid to get their hands dirty once in a while when helping around on the ‘farm’.

For me and my cat Cezar this was one of the greatest experiences we ever had and as the new friendships began so as our endearing life adventure

SUMMARY ON HOW TO FLY WITH YOUR CAT

It wasn’t as hard as expected to fly with a cat and all it requires is a little bit more planning.

  1. Find a destination (with a lot of nature around)
  2. Research the requirements on ‘importing a cat’ in that specific country
  3. Make sure your cat’s vaccinations are up to date
  4. Make sure your carrier is within the airline’s requirements
  5. Find cheap tickets and add the pet service by phone right after you get your booking number
    1. Ask for a confirmation/approval by email of the added pet service
  6. See to it that your cat has done his/her bathroom business before departure (and right after arrival)
  7. And off you go with your cat to have the adventures of your life.

Make sure that your cat’s well being is a priority and keep him/her as safe and happy as possible.