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Proper size carrier for flying in the cabin ( with cat)?

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  • Proper size carrier for flying in the cabin ( with cat)?

    (sorry if this is long. I really want to get in all the details)

    This week I will be flying with my 6 yr old cat for the first time. I have never been so stressed. I am actually moving overseas ( Canada to Europe) so flying was the only option ( other than giving my cat away, which was really, really not an option). I have gone through getting her micro chipped, vaccinated & getting her a health certificate. I am lucky that she doesn't have to endure a quarantine.

    My concern is the flight and her carrier. I will be flying Air Canada and she will be flying in the cabin with me. Air Canada is not nearly as strict as other airlines when it comes to pet travel. Cat and carrier together can't exceed 22lbs, needs to be soft-sided and the dimensions ( which are bigger than most airlines) are: Height: 27 cm (10.5 in), Width: 40 cm (15.5 in), Length: 55 cm (21.5 in). The carrier can't be too small for the pet, with room to turn around in it.

    I bought the Sherpa Original Deluxe Carrier in medium. It is airline approved, good quality, holds up to 16lbs and meets the size requirements. My cat is a long haired, medium size cat ( probably more on the small side of medium). She is 9.6 lbs but looks bigger because she is long haired. I actually measured her fur and its just over 3 inches long. She fits the carrier really well. She can stand up and turn around and has plenty of room to lay down fully in it. Because of her long hair, she might look big in it but she really isn't ( this makes me nervous). When I called Air Canada to register her on the flight and give the carrier dimensions, the agent mentioned that the carrier will squish down to 9 inches when placed under the seat. He informed me that for take off and landing, she needs to be under the seat but once the seat belt sign goes off, as long as she stays in the carrier at ALL TIMES, I can take her out from the seat and even put her on my lap. He informed me that she needs to be able to fully sit up at 9 inches.

    At the time of the call, I wasn't too concerned because, like I said, she isn't a big cat and the carrier was a good size for her. Later on I realized he had said sit up and not stand up. I checked online at Air Canada and they do state that the pet must be able to stand up and sit down fully while under the seat. She can stand up plenty and turn around, but she can't sit up in it fully. I got the highest carrier allowed by Air Canada ( 10.5 inches). I am staying at my parents right now and they have 4 cats - all ranging from small to medium. I put them all in the carrier and NONE of them can fully sit up. Yes, they can stand and move around but definitely not sit up fully. Now I am freaking out. I looked online and the average cat height seems to be around 10 inches and that's measured shoulder to ground. That is not even including the head. Can ANY cat fully sit up in a 9 inch space??? Has anyone traveled with a cat in the cabin before? Was your cat ( or dog) able to fully sit up in the carrier? Are airlines actually strict about this? I am stressed because I can't fly her cargo due to cold temperatures and this is my only option.

  • #2
    Re: Proper size carrier for flying in the cabin ( with cat)?

    You should not be concerned. During takeoff and landing the cat will just lie down in the carrier. Then when you are in flight pull the carrier out between your feet. The airline will not give you a difficult time over this I assure you.