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Thanksgiving travel fun? Take the dog ... or cat or bird

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The majority of four-legged carry-on passengers are dogs, but some airlines allow rabbits, birds, and other small animals. Experts say before including a pet in travel plans, consider whether it would enjoy the experience.

"Some dogs don't like to travel, some love it," said Kelly E. Carter, the pet travel expert for AOL's Paw Nation and a Chihuahua owner. "You have to know your pet."

Caroline Golon's two Persian cats "are not big fans of car travel" – the only way they can travel since their breed is banned by many airlines — so they don't go on trips. Ms. Golon said when they travel, the family stops at pet-friendly hotels rather than drive nonstop.

"Stopping overnight gives them a chance to use the litter box at their leisure and eat and drink comfortably," said Golon, the founder of High Paw Media.

Gwen Cooper, the author of "Homer's Odyssey: A Fearless Feline Tale, or How I Learned About Love and Life with a Blind Wonder Cat," said animals pick up on their owners' moods, "which means if you're nervous, your cat or dog is going to be nervous too. The best way to avoid being nervous is to prepare you and your pet ahead of time and think through as many contingencies as possible."

For eligible cats, as well as dogs, airlines have size requirements for pets in the cabin, so a small pet must fit in a carrier that can be stowed under a seat and larger ones must be checked in. Ms. Long's dog weighs 30 pounds, (13 1/2 kilograms) so 9-year-old Chula has to fly in cargo.

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