Joan’s Journey: 2013 – Cat Carrier On-Board

Joan's Journey - Cat CarrierWelcome Joan’s Journeyers! My cousin Steve, an animal “whisperer” of sorts,  visited Baltimore recently, and we discussed my upcoming move to senior housing  in Southern CA.

I explained my diligent research with to locate appropriate senior housing. I described my copious efforts to sell my condo, and my attempts to downsize and move with as little stress as possible. Steve then surprised me with two questions:

  • How are you preparing Mia for travel?
  • Are you getting her ready for the trip across country to a new way of life?”

I looked at him and blinked. Prepare Mia, my precious, beautiful Russian Blue
6-year-old rescue cat? What was Steve talking about?

In summary, Steve, from Orange County, CA, works with, loves, and “whispers” to dogs, cats and horses. He offered these suggestions:

  1. Research “airline approved,” pet carriers that fit under the plane seat.
  2. Purchase the carrier now. Place it in a location where Mia becomes familiar with it.
  3. Place Mia in the carrier and take her on car rides with the carrier top and sides zipped shut.
  4. Buy a small litter box and put it on the car floor. Shut and lock the car doors. Safely let Mia out of the carrier to explore the car and find the litter box. This way, on long trips, Mia will be familiar with the car and trained for kitty pit stops and stretches.
  5. Schedule Mia’s yearly medical exams and vaccinations before moving. Discuss car and air travel wellness and safety with our vet.
  6. Mia has an implanted identity chip in case she is lost. An added safety feature is to teach her to wear a cat harness.

Joan's Journey - LuggageAs soon as I heard Steve’s suggestions, I knew I had to begin Mia’s move preparations. I’ll ask the vet to examine and approve the new pet carrier I bought online. The carrier marketing instructions says “airline approved” to fit under the plane seat. The carrier itself seems sturdy, yet lightweight and comfortable. The handles are placed to use with safety belts. A real plus are the wheels and strap that allow the carrier to be pulled like luggage, handheld or carried over one’s shoulder. There is a pocket for cat supplies. The carrier instructions remind the user to insert completed address labels on the carrier.

Hopefully, with advance preparation, Mia will be a confident, happy journeyer. If you have traveled with your pet, please share your experiences and comments below.  For specific details about Mia’s new carrier, please email:

As for a specific “move” date to senior housing — we must wait for a condo buyer or  mortgage company Deed in Lieu (DIL). Meanwhile journeyers, until the next post, enjoy every day of your journey.


Joan London is a freelance writer who specializes in senior and medical topics. London, who currently lives in Baltimore with her rescue cat Mia, plans to relocate to senior housing in Southern California in order to be closer to her children and grandchildren.

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