We needed to take our cat, Sher Khan with us to another city. Sher Khan is terrified of new faces. When we have visitors he runs and hides in wardrobes or under blankets. Most relatives and friends have seen him only in photographs.
How does one travel with such a cat?
My husband had once flown with another cat (named Kitten) who had been mildly sedated. Kitten had struggled to get out of the basket throughout the two hour flight. It’s possible that sedation caused discomfort. It had taken her a quite a while to settle in our new home.
Sending Sher Khan with cargo might traumatise him. One vet suggested sedation – which had seemed fine – he would sleep in one city and wake up in another.
Our other vet was totally opposed to sedation. He said animals, specially cats under sedation were at risk of hypothermia and death. He picked Sher Khan by the scruff of his neck and gently pushed him into the cat-basket. He covered the basket with a towel, darkened the room and gave the cat some of his favourite food for reassurance. He suggested we put a familiar sheet or toy and add clothes that have our smell to the basket.
The unbelievable lack of scratching and meowing in the darkened cat-basket was impressive. We decided to take this vet’s advice.
Spice Jet allows pets only as cargo and here they insisted the pet be sedated and left with them at their warehouse (or some place like that) two hours before the flight. Kingfisher does not allow pets at all – not in cargo, not in cabin. Air India and Jet Airways allow small pets to travel in the cabin. [Pets such as dogs, cats, household birds can be carried as accompanied registered baggage, other animals must be booked as freight. Some more information here]. We chose Air India because we have travelled with pets with them before, and found them wonderfully helpful.
Turned out it was a great choice. The final decision about carrying animals on board rests with the Pilot. In case of any problems, our vet had suggested we quote past examples when we/others have travelled with pets. We did that when they said the cat- basket seemed too big.
We were given the last row with the seat between Tejaswee and me free to place the basket. I had layered the basket with the sweat shirt I had worn all day. The basket was then covered with a dark sheet. Sher Khan sat and even slept peacefully 😆 I put my fingers in through the grill, and talked to him. He was fine. He had familiar and reassuring smells and voices around him. And the darkness to reassure that nobody could see him. Sher Khan the Ostrich 🙂
Thanks to the guidance of a good vet Sher Khan is now happily exploring his new territories 🙂 (with Gabbar Singh the Lab keeping his distance)
Some badly taken pictures of an ordinary evening in Nov 2007…
Off to Pune for ‘Lavasa Women’s Drive’.
Wordless Wednesday!? Why do we love them?
Same old story and misunderstood cats.
In Mumbai it seems life is easier…
What do Mynas have in common with Moral Police 😉
Cats & Mynahs. In my Home.
Some days you do nothing…