Can I bring cat food on a plane? Flying with a cat can be so confusing, especially, with all the TSA rules. Are pet owners allowed to bring cat litter, medicine, food, and etc? Today, we’re answering the question about Fluffy’s food.
According to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) website, you are allowed to bring both wet and dry or solid food on board. (we’ll talk more about this later) If you’re traveling with your cat in the cabin, you should never feed your cat during the flight.
Can I Bring Cat Food On A Plane?
Your cat is your baby and they have their favorite food that doesn’t upset their stomach. When you fly the friendly skies, it’s always nice to know what you can and can’t take. The last thing you want to do is get caught up during the pre-check and make your cat miserable.
Here’s the rule according to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA):
Solid Pet Food: This is classified as dry or “moist” pet food. Passengers are allowed to carry their cat’s or dog’s food in either their carry-on bag or checked bags.
You may be asked to remove the food from your carry on bag before it goes through the x-ray machine.
Pet Wet Food: You must follow the 3-1-1 rule for liquids allowed on carry-on bags. Passengers are allowed to carry less than 3.4oz (100 milliliters). There are no medical exemptions for service animals or prescription pet food.
How Many 3.4oz Containers Can You Bring On A Plane?
This is the next question that most people have, especially, when they see that cat food is allowed on planes. Passengers are asked to follow the 3-1-1 rule.
What Is The TSA 3-1-1 Rule?
Basically, it means that one 3.4oz bottle or less than 1 quart-sized, a clear zip-lock bag per passenger.
For instance, if you’re flying from the US to Canada with your cat, you’re allowed to bring up to 20kg of pet food as long as it meets the following criteria:
- The product must have been purchased in the United States and must be original package.
- Pet food must be in your possession at the time of entry from the U.S.
- Your cat or dog that will consume the food must accompany you when you enter Canada.
- You are not allowed to feed any other cat or animal the food that you brought into Canada.
If you’re traveling from the United States to Mexico, you’ll only be allowed to bring your cat if they have the proper documentation and required vaccinations. SENASICA only allows the importation of dry pet food that contains no beef products.
More information about which items you can bring into Mexico can be found on the SENASICA website at www.gob.mx/senasica.
Should You Bring Cat Food On A Plane?
With so many guidelines and rules about flying, you might be tempted NOT to bring any cat food in your carry-on bag. Why not just put it all in the check-in bag and not worry about all the headaches?
Well, here are some of the reasons that I think you need to carry some of Fluffy’s food onboard.
- What if you run into an unexpected delay for several hours and a 6-hour flight now turned into a 10-hour flight. If you have some cat food on hand, you can feed Fluffy in the 4-hour delay and then take them to the animal relief center before boarding again.
- If your cat is on a special diet, it can be a challenge to find that specific brand food in the city you’re visiting. You’ll have to ask the store to place a special order and that can take up a few business days.
- What if all your cat’s food is in the checked bag and it gets lost or stolen? At least you’ll have some food on hand that you can feed kitty until your checked bag gets delivered to your hotel.
- Most cats can go without food for about 3 days, but if your cat is like mine, then you know they love to eat. If you’ve been on a long flight and they are crying because they’re hungry. You can feed them as soon as you get off the plane and get to your hotel or destination.
Is It Easier to Carry Wet or Dry Food?
Personally, I think it’s much easier to carry dry or solid food. You don’t have to worry about the 3-1-1 rule. Plus, you won’t have to worry about having the liquid spill inside of your carry-on bag.
Basically, it all comes down to what your cat prefers to eat. Always travel with their favorite food or get them used to eat a different brand before your trip.
If you do change their diet, make sure that you give them enough time to transition to the new food. It can take up to 10 days or longer or sometimes longer depending on whether your cat is a finicky eater.
How Much Food Should I Bring?
This answer will vary from person to person. The short answer is it depends on how long you are planning to stay, the type of travel, what type of food you feed your cat, and how much they eat.
When in doubt, always take more food than you’ll need. (It’s better to be safe than sorry) You never know if your cat’s favorite brand and flavor of food will be available at your destination, especially, if you’re traveling abroad.
You never want to change up Fluffy’s food while you’re on vacation. Cats can have allergic reactions or other unexpected reactions when their food is changed out. They’ll already be stressed out from traveling and being in a totally different environment.
That’s why we always say to pack more food than you think you’ll need when traveling. Carry some in your checked baggage and as much as you can in your checked bag.
Most airlines allow your checked bag to weight up to 50 lbs, so it shouldn’t be an issue packing your four-legged friend’s food.
Research Pet Stores
Plan in advance whether or not your cat’s food is available, where you will be visiting. You’ll already be doing a bunch of research online planning and preparing your trip.
Don’t forget to look at the local pet stores in the area. Find out in advance if they have your cat’s brand cat food.
If so, you can order some online and pick it up when you arrive. You’ll still want to pack some in your carry-on and checked bag. But you won’t have to pack as much.
Should I Ship Food to My Destination?
If you can’t find their brand of food in the local pet stores, your next question is should I ship their food to ahead of your arrival?
If you’re flying internationally, it may be to hard to ship your cat’s food. There are tons of rules in different countries and your cat’s food can be delayed by customs or may not be allowed to enter the country.
Shipping via Post Office, UPS, FedEx, and any other carrier service can add up quickly. For example, I got the estimated cost for shipping a 7-pound bag of Buffalo Blue bag of cat food with the dimensions of 12.5 x 9 x 6 in from Seattle to Florida.
Here are the costs of shipping a bag of food:
- Ground: $21.85
- 3 Day Select: $51.02
- 2nd Day Air AM: $77.89
- 2nd Day Air: $68.09
- Next Day Air Saver: $119.53
- Next Day Air: $134.43
As you can see, it is expensive to ship your cat’s food. Your cat’s food doesn’t even cost this much, why would you want to pay those high prices?
If you can’t find a store that sells your food where you’ll be staying. I’d recommend using an online service like Chewy.com, NaturesPetCuisine.com or any other cat & dog food delivery service.
Most of them offer free delivery and may be willing to deliver your food to you while you’re traveling with your cat. (as long as you have a valid delivery address, not a PO Box)
If you’re staying at a hotel with your cat, be sure to contact them and let them know that you’re having cat food delivered. Most of them won’t have a problem with it, but you need to let them know in advance.
You’ll need to contact those services to see if they deliver to International addresses.
Never Feed A Cat On A Plane
It’s so easy to want to feed your cat on the plane, especially, if they are being loud. It’s okay to give them a kibble as a way to calm them down, but don’t feed them too much.
Otherwise, they can get sick or have an accident in their crate. Flying in a high altitude can be terrifying for your cat. Feeding them will only make their stomach upset and then you’ll have to clean up the carrier.
If this is your first time flying with your cat, be sure to check out my article traveling with a cat on a plane, to get tips for making your cat’s experience better.
Flying with a cat can be challenging, if possible, I recommend traveling by vehicle. There are no limits to what you can pack in your vehicle.
However, I realize that sometimes it’s not possible to drive to your destination. Hopefully, these tips answered your questions about taking your cat’s food with you.
The most important thing to remember is to always take more than enough with you. The worst thing you can do is not take enough food and Fluffy ends up starving because you didn’t prepare for flying with your cat.
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