As the wife has started working in Oregon, we planned to relocate our two cats, Tina and Tommy, to the her place on this Thanksgiving day.
Well, you have to admit travel with cats is dreadful to both us and the cat. We flew with cat once before from MDW to EWR, and therefore we do not consider ourselves novice traveler travelling with cats. The preparation before the departure date is nothing but the serenity, as the cats do not need to take any actions. We called the customer service before booking the tickets to confirm the availability of pet space in that particular flight, and called them back again with a confirmation in hand to reserve the pet space. One pet space costs another $100 additional to your fare if you use Alaska Airlines, which is cleared at the airline kiosk upon check-in. You may see “PETC” coined in your electronic ticket from the Alaska Airlines app. Alaska Airlines do not require to show health certificate at the kiosk if the pet travels with you in the cabin.
Besides, it is not hard to pack. As we had a long flight, i.e., > 5 hours, we prepared a sealed bowl of dry food, a bag of their favorite treats, a disposable syringe to feed water, several wipes for possible “unwanted” stuffs, paper towels, a couple of toys with catnip and a bottle of Feliway spray. It turned out our cats were too afraid to have any of the treats, water, and desire to indulge with the catnip toys, and I am also not so sure of the effectiveness of the Feliway spray, which may only work as a placebo. One of our cats ate some of the dry food at her normal dinner time during the flight, which did not put our effort in vain.
On the departure day, here came the dreadful part. Tina must have the worst nightmare with the carrier, luring her into the carrier proves impossible, and therefore, reluctant actions had to be taken in order to catch up with the schedule, which also made her extremely stressed in this process. But anyway, with two cats securely in the carriers, we took a Lyft to the EWR.
At the airport, first check in at the Alaska Airlines kiosk with the pets and obtain the boarding pass before heading to the long-queue. At the security check, we requested the private screening room, as we do not want to chase after them in the whole airport if they get loose. After all these complex steps, 2 hours had already passed, but the real flight still had one hour and a half to come.
In the flight, cat filled carriers are stored underneath the seat and at the same time, you lose the carry-on privilege, still need to pay the $100 pet fee, but your pet will not enjoy any in-flight service. Most likely only a good deal for the airlines…
We arrived at PDX around 7:20 pm, and at home after another 30 min’s Lyft trip, so there were almost 9 dreadful hours both to us and our cats, and mentally and physically.
However, what’s most important is we, the human and the cats, made it. They are still getting used to the new home, so far seemingly loving it.