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What to expect from a flown-in cat?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
Ginger is flying in to Colorado from Ohio on Thursday. You can probably tell from all of the threads I've started about her that I'm very excited, but also a bit nervous.

Poor girl has to be at the airport in Cincinatti 2 hours before her flight takes off, then on the plane for about 3 hours, then another 1/2 hour - 40 minutes before they said we can pick her up, and then another 1/2 hour - 40 minute drive home. So, basically from 11:30 MST to 3:00 at airports and on a plane, and then almost to 4:00 before she gets home and out of the carrier.

So, a couple questions:

1. Should we have a disposable litterbox in the car that we can let her out to use before we start on the way home? Or will she be way too freaked out to think about that?

2. What should I expect from a normally very outgoing and social kitty after a whole day of trauma like flying? Should I treat her like a feral and just leave her alone to decompress with lights low and classical music playing, or should I spend time with her in "her" room to let her know that she's OK?

I realize that every cat will react differently, but if anyone can share their experiences with cats and flights to a new home, I would really appreciate it.


A Nervous New Meowmy
post #2 of 8
She will probably be too nervous/wound up/anxious to use a litter box, but it would be a good precaution to bring one along in case she is in urgent need of going.

Most well adjusted kittens/cats do fine with the whole traumatic ordeal of flying. The nice thing for you (in her eyes), is that you will be her savior. The one who rescues her from the noise and craziness of the airport. She will be forever grateful for that.

Once you have her in hand, let her set the pace. If she seems ready to exit the crate and get to know you right off, then go for it. If she is shy and spooked, go with your feral decompression routine.

Hope it all works out smoothly and seamlessly!
post #3 of 8
I'd treat her like any new cat I bring in - whether picked up locally or flown in:

1. Let her stay in the carrier till you get home.

2. Put her in a small quiet bedroom or bathroom (preferably) with a litter pan, food and water bowls.

3. Let her stay there overnite.

She will probably hide or stay in the carrier most of the time that nite, but may come out to explore and use the pan. Almost first thing they do is want to use the pan.

Will the previous owner send some of the food she's been eating or do you know what kind the cat is currently eating? Also it might be a good idea to get some bottled water for her to drink till she's use to your water.

Expect a little loose stools with the change over from water and food.
post #4 of 8
My four cats flew from the UK to USA (Manchester to Atlanta, Atlanta to Sarasota), a trip of about 14 hours overall about 3 years ago. Travelled from the airport to our house (about 25 mins) in the back of a U-Haul truck!

They were very vocal on arrival, spent a few hours checking their new house out, all used the litter boxes pretty much straight away and ate food that evening. No-one showed any ill-effects from the journey, no-one had been sedated and they all seemed happy to see me! I would fly them again without any reservation.
post #5 of 8
I wouldn't confine the cat to one room. What I did when bringing my new cat home for the first time worked well. Put the carrier down in a quiet protected corner and open the door. Let the cat come out at her own pace... she'll probably explore every inch of your place, for several hours. During that time you can pet her a bit if she likes that, and show her where food, water and the litter are. That's all you really need to do.
post #6 of 8
Most cats prefer a little exploring at a time. Its a lot safer to confine to one room when first bringing them home. All you need is to turn the cat loose completely and someone open a door and the cat dashes out and you never see him/her again!
post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 
I have to confine her because I need to keep her separate from my two resident cats for slow, controlled introductions. She'll be in our home office, because there is zero ventilation in the bathroom, so she will have quite a bit of space to be in if she chooses.

Thank you for the reassurances. Nial, I hope you're right that since she's so well socialized (she was a stray that was rescued, but is VERY outgoing and social), she will adapt well. Goldenkitty, I do know what she's been eating and have bought the food so that's ready for her when she arrives, and Eileen and I both use the same litter so that will also be familiar to Ginger. Great idea about the water, though. I hadn't thought of that!
post #8 of 8
Only reason I mentioned the water is that in showing cats and going from state/state, I've had some that got diarraha with the local water; so I started taking a few extra bottles from home when we went to the show.

Even in the same city it can be different - like country vs city water.
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