If you are like many people you probably have several questions about the shipping process, just like we did when we first looked into offering shipping for our kittens. Where would the kittens be on the plane? Will they be in an air-controlled area? How would they handle the trip? These are just a few of the questions that we had. After shipping many kittens all over the country, we have learned a lot about shipping and we hope to answer most of your questions here as we go through our shipping process.
How do we schedule a flight?
This is one of the first questions that people ask. This is a fairly simple process. After we have settled on a time frame to ship the kitten, we will contact the airlines to see what the shipping options are as far as times and price. After deciding what the best option is, we will let you know. The final shipping schedule is not made until 2 to 3 days before the flight and weather can make it necessary to have a flexible schedule as far as day is concerned.
What does the shipping fee cover? Why is the price more than the flight I just found on a particular airline?
Our shipping fee covers the flight, insurance on your kitten, the carrier, the certified health certificate, and part of our gas for the 4 hour round-trip to the airport. So our shipping fee covers a lot more than just the flight. The airline prices only include the price of the flight.
How do I pay for the shipping?
Since the shipping fee covers multiple things including the flight, we have you pay us for the shipping. We then take care of paying for the flight, carriers, insurance, and everything else.
When will I get my flight information?
Most airlines do not allow us to make a shipping reservation until 2 or 3 days before the flight, but we also have to wait for an official weather report so it might be as little as 24 hours before the flight that we will be allowed to make the reservation. When I get the final reservation, I send an email out with all the flight information. This email will contain the airline, time of arrival, and pick-up location. We ask that people call the airport after receiving this information to find out how to get to the pick-up location. The most common pick up locations are the baggage area of the airline, the cargo office, or the pps office. These are in different areas in each airport and it is helpful for you to know where to go before you leave home. You might also ask when you should be there to pick up your kitten, since unloading times can vary with each airport and airline. We also ask that you check the flight number online (or by phone) before you leave to pick up your kitten. This is to make sure that your kitten's flight is still on schedule.
Where will the kitten be on the plane?
This is a common concern and one we had at first. The kittens are in the cargo area of the plane, but not with the baggage. They are in a pressurized and air-controlled area, similar to the cabin. The only time your kitten is not in an air-controlled area is during loading. For this reason, special regulations are put on what temperature kittens can be shipped. In the summer the temperature cannot be above 85 degrees at any point on their trip, so that the kitten will not get too hot during loading or un-loading. This usually means early morning or late evening shipping times. In the winter, the temperatures are also regulated. Our vet signs an acclimation statement for the kitten saying how long the kitten can be out in the cold weather. We usually say no lower than 32 degrees for 30 minutes. The airlines will make sure that the kitten is not out any longer than that in the cold while loading and that the temperature is no lower than 32 degrees. In the winter, we usually ship later in the day, so it's warmer. We also put a lot of shredded paper and a fleece blanket in the carrier to keep them warm during their loading time.
Is there any concern about the kitten getting out of the cage during their trip?
We always put two zip ties through the door of the kitten's carrier, so that it cannot open unless someone cuts the ties.
Is there any concern someone will take them out of their cage?
As part of the shipping fee we have also put insurance on your kitten, so that the airline is responsible for the kitten getting to you. This gives extra security to us, that your kitten will make it to you safely.
How will my kitten handle the trip?
This was the question that concerned us the most. The kittens start their trip with a 2 hour drive to the airport. This part of the trip is one that I observe personally and they really do well. Most of the time the kittens are curled up on my lap (or shoulder), purring away. A lot of times they fall asleep. This time is really relaxed for them and they will often eat or use the litter box. When we drop them off at the airport they seem very calm and interested in all the new sights and sounds (i.e. dogs barking). They don't look distressed or upset. And that is the end of my personal observation. I always try to talk to people after the kittens arrive at their new home. So far everyone has been very happy with how the kittens handled the trip. They are usually very happy to be out of the cage and on their new owner's laps, which makes sense because they are used to running around our house and interacting with us. We have shipped kittens all over the country, from coast to coast, and all of them have done very well.
Have I answered all your questions about shipping? If not, contact us. I would be happy to answer any other questions you might have.