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Cathay Pacific Pet Policy

Published on: April 15, 2022  |  Author: Starwood Pet Travel

cathay pacific plane

Here’s what you need to know about pet travel on Cathay Pacific. You can find additional details on the airline’s website, or by contacting our pet travel experts here at Starwood.

Breed restrictions

Cathay Pacific does not allow the breeds below to travel for safety and health reasons. If your pet is listed below, you will have to choose a different airline for their travels.

Brachycephalic dogs

  • Affenpinscher
  • Boston Terrier
  • Boxer
  • Brussels Griffon
  • Bulldog
  • Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
  • Chow Chow
  • Dogue de Bordeaux
  • English Toy Spaniel
  • Japanese Chin (Japanese Spaniel)
  • Lhasa Apso
  • Mastiff (all breeds)
  • Pekingese
  • Pug (all breeds)
  • Shar Pei
  • Shih Tzu
  • Staffordshire Bull Terrier
  • Tibetan Spaniel

Fighting breeds of dog

  • American Pit Bull
  • American Staffordshire Terrier
  • Dogo Argentina
  • Fila Brasiliera
  • Japanese Tosa

Brachycephalic Cats

  • British shorthair
  • Burmese
  • Exotic shorthair
  • Himalayan cat
  • Persian cat
  • Scottish Fold
  • Sphynx cat


No in-cabin travel allowed

The only animals Cathay Pacific allows in the passenger cabin are service dogs. The airline defines a guide/assistance dog as one “that has been trained to help people with physical disabilities to gain more personal independence. These include guide, hearing, and service dogs, and they are permitted to fly with their owner in the aircraft cabin.”

Guide/assistance dogs must be accredited by the Assistance Dogs International, Assistance Dogs Europe, or the International Guide Dog Federation. If any leg of your flight will be more than 8 hours, the airline requires you to notify their reservations office at least 48 hours in advance. Eight hours is a long time for an animal (humans, too!). Sometimes long flights are unavoidable, but here at Starwood we always work to identify the most pet-friendly itinerary, even if that means your dog or cat will travel separately from you.

Pets flying as checked baggage

If you are flying out of Hong Kong, your pet may be able to accompany you as checked or accompanied baggage. However you will need to check with your destination, because every country has different requirements for importing pets. If you are flying into or transiting in Hong Kong, your pet must arrive as manifest cargo. 

Do note that if you are using multiple carriers for your trip, then your pet will NOT be able to travel as checked baggage or cargo. 

To confirm your pet can join you as checked baggage, you need to make reservations at least 48 hours in advance. We strongly recommend that you do this as soon as you know your pet will be flying, for two reasons. Gathering all the paperwork you’ll need to transport your pet can take weeks or even months. You’ll also need to get an IATA-approved travel crate and give your dog or cat time to get used to it.

When you contact Cathay Pacific, they will want to know:

  • The total weight of your pet and their travel kennel
  • Dimensions, material and make of the kennel
  • A copy of their health and vaccination certificates, import permits and other documents required by the country of entry or transit

You will need to check in for your flight 3 hours ahead of time and present your pet's original travel documents.

Pets flying as cargo

The same rules about advance reservations apply to pets traveling in cargo. The cargo or checked baggage area of the plane is temperature-controlled and pressurized like the passenger cabin. Cathay Pacific suggests you tell the plane’s captain that your pet is on board, so they can be sure to monitor the environment. The airline treats pets traveling in cargo as “special baggage” to expedite your reunion upon arrival.

Airline-approved travel crate

Any animal riding as baggage or cargo must travel in a crate that meets international airline standards. (The Cathay Pacific website has more details about this.) Cathay Pacific will not accept wooden travel kennels for dogs, but they may allow them for cats. The most important thing you can do to ensure your pet’s comfort in transit is to give them plenty of time to familiarize themselves with the carrier.  Do note that Cathay will not accept a pet and their carrier if the combined weight is over 32 kg (70 lbs) or 203 cm (80 in) in total dimension without prior approval.

Paperwork you will need

The final paperwork required will depend on your origin and destination. Any pet traveling will require a health certificate signed by a vet within 10 days of departure. If flying internationally, the international health certificate can only be completed by a USDA or government approved veterinarian and the documents must also be endorsed by the USDA or official government vet. If you are headed to Hong Kong, you can consult the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department or our Starwood website to learn what vaccinations, and other documents your pet will need.

Weather restrictions

If the temperature on the runway is higher than 84o F (29o C), or colder than 45o F (7o C), Cathay Pacific will not allow pets to fly. However, if your dog or cat is used to cold weather, you may submit an Acclimation Certificate signed by your vet.

Cathay Pacific promises to treat your pet as if it were their own when it comes to comfort and safety. That should be a comfort for you as well.

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