Newsday Tuesday – Cats Can Still Fly—for Now

You’ve probably heard the news. At least on some major airlines, you cannot fly with the following service animals: peacock, chicken, gopher, hedgehog, gecko, rat, camel, hippo, or squirrel. But you may get away with bringing on board a cat, dog, or miniature horse. You might need more than a vest purchased at WalMart showing the animal’s service status, however.

It’s a bit frightening, isn’t it? I mean there are people who take their cats and dogs with them for a variety of reasons—they’re relocating, they’ve sold the pet and are delivering it to its new home, they’re participating in a show or demonstration or book signing, taking the animal to a veterinary specialist or for special training. But a few (as always seems to happen) have ruined it for the majority by pushing the envelope and trying to fly with their iguana, goat, cockatoo, or crocodile. Next, I’m sure, they’ll eventually crack down on approved animals on flights because of another passengers’ allergies, ailurophobia, or equinophobia for example. It’s an unstable world out there!

I’ve know people who fly with their cats—some use their cats in programs they present. One breeds cats and she flies with kittens being delivered to a new owner. I know one woman who takes her cat on vacations.

Rags, the cat in my Klepto Cat Mysteries flies on occasion. Yeah, if I were a flight attendant, I might ban him from the plane. He can find mischief wherever he goes.

Keep in mind that different airlines have different regulations involving pet travel. If you plan to fly with your pet or your service animal, be sure to check with that airlines’ rules. I notice that Delta has now banned all pit bull-type dogs from flying in the cabin. United allows service and therapy animals as long as they come with appropriate documentation. As with many other airlines, the animal must weigh under 65 pounds and be over four months old. It appears that Hawaiian Airlines, Alaska Airlines, JetBlue and several others still allow therapy animals under certain regulations. But if people still try to fly with their out of control noisy parrot, full-grown skunk or badger, fifty-pound tortoise, and pony in the cabin, the rules will soon change again.

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