It looks like I'll be moving back to Portland, Oregon, in coming months. I have a problem: my cat. I don't want to spend 5 or 6 days driving across the country with my kitty in a cat carrier, subjecting her to a succession of 4 or 5 strange hotel rooms along the way. 

Airlines will get me where I'm going in 6 and a half to 8 hours, but she'll have to spend all that time plus transit time to and from airports stuffed in a small cat carrier. (Before you ask, it's not really advisable to transport pets in the plane's cargo hold for a variety of reasons.)

There are professional pet transport companies who claim to take good care of the animals while they are transported by highway, but that sounds like a better idea for transporting dogs than cats. 

My idea, which may be impractical for reasons you are about to tell me, is to fly across country by private plane, sharing expenses with the pilot. A pilot who, presumably, has his/her own reasons for flying to the West Coast. The pilot doesn't have to be a local pilot. It could be a New York pilot who's willing to stopover in Cleveland long enough to take on a passenger, a small amount of luggage and cat supplies, and a cat.

Is this a bad idea? Why? 

If it's a good idea, how will I find the pilot?

Tags: airplane, pet, pilot, transport

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What is a cat like in a strange hotel room? Scared and hiding under the bed or wanting to explore everything? Can they go 8 or 10 hours on the road in a carrier without a feeding, watering, or litter box stop? If not, how did you handle that issue?

Leash? I don't think so. Haven't found one she can't get off pretty quickly, and that includes the halter type. Ditto for collars. And the "safety" kind? They only last a few seconds.

It's starting to look like she'll be riding at my feet in a Southwest jet, probably well tranquilized.

I own a Green Cheeked conure. I see cats as vicious evil predators so, of course, I would suggest FedEx. Just kidding, UPS is cheaper. :) I may be the last person you would go to for advice on cats but can YOU go 8 or 10 hours on the road without a feeding, watering, or a litter box stop? Take frequent breaks. If the pet is with it's favorite human I think it can handle strange situations.

You're obviously not a cat owner.

P.S. — Squeaky would see your conure as lunch. 

The car is easy. I don't have one. (Yes, I can drive, but I don't need the expense of a car.)

Maybe we can toss back a beer at one of Portland's many brewpubs.

"4 or 5 strange hotel rooms along the way."

I wouldn't want to do Cleveland-Portland with one stop, but two should be plenty - especially if you pick up a hitchhiker with a drivers license.

No hitchhikers unless they are 18 year old female Swedish exchange students looking for a ride and a place to crash for the night.

The answer is obvious---Craigslist.   Just Kidding.

Actually, I looked into whether they have any private pilot groups but didn't find any. I would have posted there had there been any.

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