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Moving to a different country with your cat? Here’s what you should know

Moving countries with your pet cat is simpler than you think. There are misconceptions that cats don’t travel well in airlines, but cats make excellent travellers, and it is quite easy to take your kitty along when you relocate with the help of a skilled pet relocation company.

Every country has different rules and regulations for pet import. Generally, these rules differ depending on the country you are travelling from. Some countries have complicated rules that span numerous steps. It is best to start planning your pet relocation well in advance to be able to do it smoothly. If you have to move to a different country, and you want to bring your cat with you, read on to understand what the process entails.

Microchip and vaccinations

Most countries require an ISO-compliant microchip for pet import. Microchips are small, non-toxic chips that bear information about your pet’s ownership. It is important for cats to be microchipped because with a microchip it is easy to trace a lost pet. Though it is still not mandatory in most countries to microchip a pet cat, however, most countries mandate a microchip during international travel.

When you relocate your cat from one country to another, one of the most important steps is to ensure that all her vaccinations are in order. It is mandatory in most countries for your cat to be vaccinated with rabies and the FVRCP vaccines. The FVRCP vaccine is a combination vaccine that protects your cat against three diseases: feline viral rhinotracheitis, calicivirus, and panleukopenia. In addition, some countries might need your cat to be vaccinated against diseases like feline leukaemia, feline infectious peritonitis, feline immunodeficiency virus, etc. It is recommended to seek advice from an experienced pet relocation company for information and guidance on mandatory vaccinations.

Health certificates and checks

Before you begin your relocation process, it is advisable to visit your vet for a complete health check. Check with the vet if your cat is healthy enough to travel, especially if you are planning to move with an older cat. You will need a copy of a record of vaccinations and a health certificate in the prescribed format. Different countries have different regulations; it is crucial that you get the documentation absolutely right, or your cat will be refused entry into the country.

Get the right crate

Your cat will need an IATA-approved crate for her international flight. The general rule is that the cat must be able to turn around and stretch comfortably inside the crate. Measuring your cat and getting the right-sized crate is crucial because some airlines will not accept the pet if the crate looks too small.

Get the crate well in advance and begin crate training your cat, so she’s acclimatised to the crate and is comfortable inside for extended periods of time. Feed her treats inside and train continuously for a week or more until she is comfortable and relaxed in the crate and associates the crate with happy and positive experiences. On the day of the flight, line the crate with an absorbent bed and fix an airline suitable bowl and water bottle on the door.

Documentation and identification tags

Relocating a cat from one country to another involves extensive documentation, including a veterinary certificate, vaccination records, and other country-specific documents. Every document is vital; double check that you have everything in place before you set off as incorrect or missing documentation will cause your cat to be refused entry into their destination country.

The crate must display live animal stickers in the correct colours and format prominently. Your contact details, relevant permits and certificated must be enclosed for the officials to inspect.

Book a pet-friendly airline

Not all airlines are pet-friendly; many of them have a no-pet policy, and they will not fly your pet. While booking your ticket, make sure the airline is pet-friendly and has experience in flying pets across the world. An experienced airline will know to treat your cat with care and ensure your cat will be travelling in the temperature controlled and pressurised cargo hold of the aircraft.

Book your flight at a non-busy time of the day and try to book a non-stop flight, if possible. Avoid scheduling a mid-afternoon flight in the summer when temperatures are extreme. Similarly, in winter avoid early morning and late night flights when it is bound to be very cold.

Do not sedate your cat

It is not advisable to use tranquilisers to calm your cat during the flight. Tranquilisers can have serious consequences because they are known to affect the ability of the cat to control body temperatures at high altitudes. A suitable alternative is to spray the crate with calming essential oils to relax your cat.

Check quarantine regulations

Many countries have complex quarantine regulations that could have your cat spend between one week and six months in a quarantine centre. Every country has different rules, and the rules change depending on the country your cat is flying from. In such cases, you will need to book space for your cat in an approved quarantine centre much before your cat enters the country. Check the country’s quarantine regulations before planning your travel so you can apportion time accordingly.

Take expert help

Relocating a cat from one country to another need not be a stressful process; take the advice of a pet relocation company who has experience in relocating cats world-wide. The company will help you with the entire process, starting with the microchipping, getting the right documentation, the crate, and finally the flight. If you are planning to move to a new country with your cat, contact us for a comprehensive travel plan.