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Journal of feline medicine and surgery
Volume 25 | Issue 1 (January 2023)

Feline Stress Management During air Travel: A Multimodal Approach.

J Feline Med Surg. January 2023;25(1):1098612X221145521.
Katrin Jahn1, Theresa Deporter2
1 DrMedVet, CertVA, MANZCVS (Veterinary Behaviour), MRCVS* German Veterinary Clinic, Villa 112, 39th Street, Khalifa City A, Abu Dhabi, UAE.; 2 BSc, DVM, MRCVS, DECAWBM, DACVB, MRCVS Oakland Veterinary Referral Services, 1400 S Telegraph Road, Bloomfield Hills, MI 48302, USA.


PRACTICAL RELEVANCE:More cats are travelling by air every year; however, air travel involves several common causes of stress for cats, such as environmental changes and a lack of control and predictability. The use of a multimodal stress management protocol for all stages of the relocation process, including appropriate and effective anxiolytic medication where necessary, is therefore important in order to safeguard the cat's welfare while travelling.
CLINICAL CHALLENGES:Cats may be presented to veterinarians for the purpose of preparing them and/or their documentation for air travel. Maintaining and protecting a cat's physical, mental and emotional health in a stressful environment, while subjected to likely unfamiliar sights, noises, smells and the movement of the aircraft, and additionally dealing with international legislation, regulations and documents, can pose a complex challenge to veterinarians.
AIMS:This review describes the importance of stress management during air travel for cats, aims to raise awareness about the often poorly understood challenges involved, and outlines effective and airline-compliant stress management modalities. While the discussion is focused on air travel specifically, the stress management methods described can be applied to all types of longer distance travel, such as a long road trip or a ferry crossing, as well as a stay in a holiday home.
EVIDENCE BASE:There are currently no studies specifically on air travel in cats and, similarly, there are also limited data on air travel in other species. Many of the recommendations made in this review are therefore based on the authors' extensive experience of preparing pets for travel, supported by published data when available.

Air travel; management; stress; travel;

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