Have you considered taking a train trip somewhere but can’t stand the thought of leaving your beloved cat at home alone? If so, you’re in luck because Amtrak actually allows pets on most of their routes. However, there are some restrictions travelers should know before booking their reservations. Keep reading to learn all you need to know about traveling with your cat on Amtrak.
Cat Travel Restrictions on Amtrak
While Amtrak does allow cats on most of their routes, there are some restrictions pet owners should be aware of.
Age & Weight Restrictions
Amtrak allows cats (and dogs) up to 20 pounds on most routes. The 20-pound limit applies to the combined weight of the pet and its carrier.
All pets traveling on Amtrak must be at least eight weeks old, well-behaved, and up to date on their vaccinations. Amtrak will not accept liability for the health of your pets.
Unfortunately, you cannot take pets on trips over seven hours.
Travel with cats in Canada is not available on the Adirondack, Maple Leaf, and Amtrak Cascades trains.
Cats are also not allowed to travel on select other routes, including the Keystone Service (between NYC and Harrisburg via Philadelphia) and San Joaquin’s routes (between Sacramento, San Francisco, and Bakersville).
You cannot take your pet on the Auto Train, which transports you and your vehicle from Washington, DC, to Florida.
Cats are also not allowed on Amtrak’s Thruway Connecting Services, which connects communities without Amtrak services with guaranteed connections to their trains.
Amtrak allows pets in Coach and Acela Business Classes. However, they are prohibited in Acela First Class, First Class private rooms, or non-Acela business class.
Your cat is not permitted in the food service cars or other accommodations.
Onboard & Station Guidelines
The check-in process for traveling with your pet on the train is quite easy. Arrive at the station 30 minutes prior to departure, though if you’re checking luggage, they recommend arriving 45 minutes early.
During the check-in process, you’ll need to read and sign the Amtrak Pet Release and Indemnification Agreement which basically releases Amtrak and its employees from any claims1, damages, and losses regarding your pet.
Cats must be kept inside their carrier and with you at all times on the train and in the station.
The carrier must be under your seat on most routes. The exception is on Amtrak Cascades trains, where the carrier can go in front of the seat beside you.
Making a Reservation for You and Your Cat
Amtrak allows a maximum of five pets per train, so the sooner you can make your reservation, the better.
What Pet Carrier Is Recommended?
Though the company doesn’t explicitly recommend one particular carrier, they do have some guidelines you must follow.
Please note that your cat’s carrier counts as a piece of carry-on baggage. Each passenger can bring two personal items (up to 25 pounds) and two carry-on bags (up to 50 pounds). If you need to bring additional carry-on baggage, a $20 excess baggage fee will apply.
What Does It Cost to Take a Cat on an Amtrak Train?
Pet fees vary by destination, though most routes charge $39. There are a few routes where the fee is just $29. If traveling in multiple segments, you must pay the pet fee for each.
The higher fee applies if you’re traveling across segments with different price ranges.
Can I Ship My Cat on an Amtrak Train?
Pets are shipped all the time as cargo on planes and transported via door-to-door ground transport services. But can you send your cat on a train alone to be picked up at its destination? Unfortunately, no. Amtrak does not ship pets or allow them to travel as checked baggage. Therefore, a pet must always be with a human to travel on Amtrak.
Amtrak allows cats (and dogs) up to 20 pounds (including the weight of the carrier) on most trains and routes. But, of course, there are certain restrictions travelers must adhere to. So, if you’re traveling via train in the near future, ensure you read Amtrak’s guidelines thoroughly to avoid disappointment on departure day.
Featured Image Credit: Jumpstory