This Tiktok Video on How to Fly With a Cat Has Gone Viral - Watch It Now

Meet Mando, the 13-month-old cat taking over the internet with his travel-savvy meow.

Travel with cat named Mando and his owner, Steven
Photo: Shauna Geyer Photos

When Steven Squire booked a flight from Salt Lake City to San Diego, he couldn't imagine leaving his cat, Mando, behind. After all, the 13-month-old American Shorthair has been his constant companion for the last 10 months during the pandemic. So, he took Mando along for the ride, sharing his tips for feline travel on TikTok. To his (and Mando's) surprise, the video quickly racked up 11 million views since it was posted on June 6.

"I wanted to experience new places and push what is possible when traveling with a cat, but I also couldn't imagine leaving Mando home alone for a week stuck inside," Squire told Travel + Leisure. "I leash-walk him two to three times a day, and it would be tough to break up his routine. And more importantly, I would miss him."

So, Squire did his homework, first looking into the policies of various airlines and eventually choosing Delta for the two-hour flight. "They only asked for my cat's weight - no medical or shot records were needed," he explained. "I still kept Mando's records printed out and on hand just in case." After booking the flight, he also called the airline to set everything up.

Next, it was essential to find a comfy home for Mando in the form of a carry-on that could be stored under the seat during the flight. Squire had already taken Mando on hikes and daily errands in the Travel Cat backpack, which has a soft shell and three sides of ventilation, making it ideal for a flight. "This is a good way to prepare for the flight," Squire said, adding that Mando also sleeps in the bag at home.

He noted that the pet does have to come out of the bag during the security check, so it was a good opportunity to give Mando some time to stretch and relax in a quiet corner of the terminal before the flight. Squire also made sure he had easy access to all the essentials by storing food and water (which he filled up on after security) in stackable containers from Whiskware.

Of course, there were some meows when Mando first boarded the plane, but Squire ensured both the cat and the surrounding passengers were comfortable. "I made sure to ask if anyone in the row was allergic first," he told T+L. "No one was and they were very happy to meet Mando. If anyone had been allergic, I would have asked the flight attendant to move us to a new seat."

In fact, the attendant did later ask if the passengers would like their own row, but since they had bonded with their new seatmates, they stayed. Mando also quickly felt at ease. "Once he was placed under the seat, he calmed down and fell asleep," Squire said.

Squire started the TikTok account cat.mando after a neighbor filmed him and Mando on a walk, which racked up seven million views. But the reaction to this particular video has been stunning. He has especially loved turning the comments section into a Q&A for tips on traveling with a cat on a plane. "I'm glad I could reduce the anxiety of other cat owners who are planning on traveling soon," he said.

As for Mando's own reaction to his newfound fame? "He's started perching himself on the highest piece of furniture in the room, which I've been told is a cat's way of saying they're the alpha of the house," Squire told T+L. "So, the fame might be getting to Mando just a little bit!"

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