Air Cargo Delivery and Pickup

Air Cargo Delivery and Pickup is Safe and Comfortable

You will be amazed at how well and safely your new bundle of fur will travel by air cargo delivery.  The cargo hold is pressurized just like the passenger cabin – if not, the shampoo, toothpaste, lotion and contact lens solution inside your luggage would explode.  The cargo hold is also temperature controlled just like the passenger cabin – if not, your luggage would be a solid frozen block given the -60 degree air outside the plane.

Kitty Comfort

Frankly, your new ragdoll has more personal space inside a cargo kennel than in the carry-on kennel you must put under the seat when you carry a pet in-cabin with you.  So relax!  Because your new kitten will also be comfortably relaxing during her trip to meet you!

Here are some important details for your attention as we work with you to coordinate air cargo delivery and pickup.

Air Cargo Kennel

Travel Kennel

The airlines require very specific travel kennel sizes and features.  We purchase a kennel and a pad for each kitten’s trip.  You can then use the kennel to transport your kitten for her veterinary appointments and elsewhere throughout her life.

Planning for Air Cargo Delivery and Pickup

We will work with you identify the nearest major airport to your home where we can arrange the travel to be completed within the day.  We try to keep the flight to a maximum of one layover wherever possible to reduce the overall travel time, the risk of delays and the risk of cancellations.  Direct flights are better of course!

Same-day Travel

Overnight flights are never scheduled because the costs dramatically increase to hire someone mid-voyage to retrieve the kitten from the airport, board her overnight, and then return her to the airport early the next morning.

Seasonal Weather

During the cold winter months and hot summer months, temperature becomes a factor.  The temperature must be above a minimum temperature and below a maximum temperature at the time of boarding and at the time of arrival at the destination.  These temperature parameters are set by each airport individually, but typically are around 45 degrees minimum and 84 degrees maximum.  However a veterinarian can make a statement of “temperature acclimation” on the health certificate indicating that the kitten is cleared to travel at a lower temperature (usually down to 32 degrees) if the vet feels that it is safe for each kitten.

Three Departure Airports for Air Cargo Delivery and Pickup

There are three airports we typically ship from depending on weather and number of flight segments:

  • Pasco WA (PSC) – this is our local small/mid size airport; we prefer to ship from here when we can.
  • Seattle Tacoma WA (SEA) – we will often send our kittens from the SeaTac airport when we are already planning on being in Seattle.
  • Portland OR (PDX) – shipping out of Portland almost always adds an additional fee; please visit this page for pricing on delivery to Portland or see below.

Travel Considerations

It keeps costs lower to ship either out of Pasco (because it is local to us), or out of Seattle (if we are already going to be there).  SeaTac and Portland airports are 3+ hours away.  However SEA and PDX both have more moderate temperatures and more flight options, especially direct flights or two-segment flights.

A lot of work and time goes into weighing the options, juggling the costs and uncertainties, and finding the optimal flight arrangements with the least stress for your new ragdoll.  We do our very best to find the sweetspot among these conditions to get your sweet little kitty into your arms while keeping your costs to a minimum.

Other Options

It is possible that at certain times of the year, air cargo delivery may simply have too many hurdles to overcome.  The next-best options are the following:

Click on the above links for information about these three options.

Many Arrival Airports that receive Air Cargo

Most major airports (and a few smaller airports) will have a cargo receiving area where you can go to pick up your new furbaby. The following is a list of airports we have sent kittens to in the past:

Airport CodeCityAir Cargo Pick-up Address
ATLAtlanta, GASwiss Port
3400 N Innerloop Rd.
Hapeville, GA 30354
BOSBoston, MASwiss Port
112 Harborside Dr. Bldg 63
Boston, MA 02128
DENDenver, COAir General
7654 Undergrove Circle
Denver, CO 80249
DFWDallas, TXAir General
2370 W. Airfield Rd. Ste 100
Grapevine, TX 75261
EWRNewark, NJAlliance Ground International
339 Brewster Rd. Unit 3
Newark, NJ 07114
IADDulles, VA23703-C Airfreight Lane
Bldg 6 door C
Dulles,VA 20166
INDIndianapolis, INAir General
7899 S. Service Rd. Ste. E
Indianapolis, IN 46241
MPLSMinneapolis, MNAir General
7550 23rd Ave. S.
Bloomington, MN 55450
ORDChicago, ILSwiss Port
618 South Access Rd.
Chicago, IL 60666
SEASeattle, WASeattle Cargo
2600 S. 165th St.
Seatac, WA 98158
SMFSacramento, CAGAT Cargo (in United cargo facility)
6701 Lindberg Dr.
Sacramento, CA 95387


Costs for Air Cargo Delivery

As you can see, a lot goes into preparing a kitten for air cargo delivery.  The costs for this are typically as follows:

Base cost

  • Air cargo flight – starts at $440 (this used to be less expensive but the airlines significantly increased this cost in 2022)
  • Travel kennel and pad – ranges between $75 and $110 (sometimes they are on sale)
  • Veterinary costs (well-check, vaccinations, etc.) – ranges between ($140 & $180)
  • Veterinary health certificate – $100

The low and high costs total between $725 and $830.  We typically quote you a flat rate of $750 for the base cost and we pay the difference if the actual costs are higher than that.

Add-on Options

You may wish to add two options:

  • ID Microchipping – $50
  • Airline Pet Travel Insurance – $50

Flights departing from SEA or PDX

We work hard to book a flight from the local Pasco (PSC) airport, and we often succeed, especially during mild temperature seasons.  However, if the weather season is extreme or if there are not suitable flight arrangements (same day arrival), we have no choice but to ship out of Seattle or Portland, which are a 3+ hour drive.

  • We quote $390 to drive to SEA or PDX, which covers travel, food and lodging.
  • In rare situations, we may be able to discount that cost to $150 if we happen to be traveling to Portland or Seattle for other reasons and are able to take advantage of that trip to save you money.

Pay the Balance Due

Before we can book the flight or make a vet appointment for a health certificate of travel, we require that the balance be paid in full.  Please see this page for further discussion of this topic.

Important Communication

We will work with you to find a workable flight for your schedule, our schedule and your new kitty’s schedule. 🙂  We will then be able to give you the final cost (kitten cost plus travel costs minus deposit).  It is important to have timely communications with you and prompt payment so that we can book the flight while they have cargo animal space available for the flights we discuss with you.  Please check your email frequently and answer your phone – we will be talking with you to explore options and emailing you the decision details in writing.

Booking the Flight and Scheduling the Veterinarian

When your payment is confirmed, we will immediately book the flight and get full confirmation of the travel.

We also schedule an appointment with the veterinarian to get a Veterinary Health Certificate dated within 10 days of the flight.  It is desirable to schedule this appointment to be close to the travel date just in case flights are cancelled or we are forced to push back a day or two for more temperate weather.  As you can certainly appreciate, both flight cancellations, FAA computer failure, and weather are outside of anyone’s control, so we just have to roll with it when circumstances change.

Veterinary Health Certificate

The airlines require a Veterinary Health Certificate where a veterinarian performs a well-check and provides a certificate stating that the kitten is healthy to travel within the next 10 days.  The certificate also states the minimum or maximum temperature acclimation that the veterinarian feels the kitten can tolerate without harm.


The airlines require a rabies vaccination for kittens traveling as cargo that are 16 weeks old or older.  Our veterinarian normally recommends that the rabies vaccine be delayed until 6 months of age.  As a result, we are focused on scheduling cargo travel before 16 weeks of age so that you can get the rabies vaccine for your kitten when it the optimal age for the kitten (as opposed to compliance with airline requirements).  Interestingly, the rabies vaccine is not ususally required for hand-carried kittens in cabin.

Some destinations have unique health, vaccination and/or quarantine requirements.  Deliveries to Canada and Hawaii are among those with addinal requirements.  The veterinary visit will help address those topics also.

Travel Day!


We take your kitten to the airport 3 hours before departure (an airline requirement).  This usually means a 4am check-in for flights that will arrive at the destination in the same day without risk of flight delay complications.  When we ship out of SEA or PDX we travel the day before and spend the night in a pet-friendly hotel to be sure that we don’t miss the departure flight.

At the Airport

At the airport, the check-in attendants are always curious to see the beautiful ragdoll kitten coming your way, and they often go get their co-workers to come see these amazingly soft furballs.  They are jealous of you!

The paperwork is all verified and a bag of cat food is secured to the exterior of the kennel just in case of unforseen circumstances.

We also tape a plastic bag to the inside floor of the kennel underneath the pad.  Inside the bag we put a folder with your paperwork (including the vaccination record) and a small gift for you and your new kitten! 🙂

Selfie Time!

Finally, we take a selfie with your sweet little kitty at the check-in counter as we say our good-byes and wish him well on his trip.  We will send you the photo and confirm that he is on his way!


Both you and we should watch the flight status information for each leg of the journey to make sure that the trip is progressing as scheduled.

Air Cargo Delivery and Pickup 30-60 minutes after flight arrival

Important: Plan your Arrival at the Airport Cargo Office – arrival time plus 30/60 minutes

Cargo shipments are almost never retrieved at the main terminal of the airport.  You will need to go to the cargo office at the airport to pick up your new kitty.  We will give you the address of that building at the time the flight is booked.  It will take between 30 minutes and an hour for your kitten to  be carried from the airplane over to the cargo office.  Please make sure that your arrival time and pickup expectations can accommodate a time that is an hour after the flight arrives.

Bring a Towel to the Airport

Kittens usually arrive clean, just like they departed.  But occasionally they might not be able to “hold it” and they sometimes pee in the corner of their kennel during long travel.  If so, they will try to sit elsewhere in their kennel to avoid the spot.  But they sometimes need a touch up on arrival.  If you bring a towel with you to the airport you can make your drive home a little more pleasant.

If necessary, you can give your kitty a bath.  Check out this page with recommendations for shampoo, brushes, combs and other helpful items.

At Home

Your kitten will not have eaten during the trip or had a drink.  You can imagine the mess this would make, both inside and outside the kennel with the travel and handling motion.  Please have water and food ready, but don’t be surprised if he doesn’t eat or drink much at first.  There is so much new to experience in an unfamiliar setting and your kitty will need to settle in a little bit before she becomes confident in her new space.  Please see this page for more information about helping your new ragdoll kitten get settled at home.

At Home

Your kitten will not have eaten during the trip or had a drink.  You can imagine the mess this would make, both inside and outside the kennel with the travel and handling motion.  Please have water and food ready, but don’t be surprised if he doesn’t eat or drink much at first.  There is so much new to experience in an unfamiliar setting and your kitty will need to settle in a little bit before she becomes confident in her new space.  Please see this page for more information about helping your new ragdoll kitten get settled at home.

Riverside Rags purebred ragdoll kittens for sale

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