Today’s guest post comes from Mike James:
Mister Puddycat goes to America
If you’re moving from the UK to the USA and you want to take your cat, no problem. The United States are happy for owners to bring pets into the country as long as they fulfil certain conditions.
Unsurprisingly, there’s quite a lot involved in getting your fluffy four legged friend from here to the other side of the pond, and it makes a lot of sense to let a professional logistics company to handle all the arrangements for you.
But just so you know exactly what’s in store for Peter Purrfect’s transatlantic adventure, here are the 8 steps you need to follow, as advised by parcel and precious cargo broker Rand Logistics:
- Select your airline
Unlike booking a flight for yourself or fellow human, animal transportation is nowhere near as straightforward. Once you’ve identified which airlines flies to your desired US destination, make time to study each company’s guidelines thoroughly. Every airline has different requirements when it comes to the shipping of animals, so check to see what their conditions of travel are.
For example, did you know that American Airlines will not ship snub-nosed cat breeds such as Persian, Burmese or Exotic Shorthairs? This is because snub-nose cats are known to suffer from oxygen deprivation and heat stroke. No wonder Mr Tiddles flying at 30,000 feet above ground is a risk they’re not willing to take!
- Choose flight dates and book
Once you’ve selected the best airline for your cat’s needs, don’t think you can just book a seat online. With something as sensitive as transporting a live animal, it’s always a good idea to speak to one of the airline representatives direct so that you can get as much advice and information as possible, and they can help you with all the details and requirements.
Little tip: Try to get Fluffy to fly during the week. With more airline employees working at this time, you’ll get much better service than you would on a weekend.
- The right type of animal carrier
Airlines require that the cat box, or cage in which your pet is travelling is rigid, escape-proof and has adequate ventilation. Kennel requirements differ depending on the airline company so make sure your airline can accommodate TomTom’s kennel type.
For instance, American Airlines, do not allow animal crates that are larger than 36 inches long, 26 inches wide, and 28 inches high. However, the carrier must be big enough to allow puss enough room to stand upright, turn around, and lay down comfortably. This means the carrier or crate may need to be around 6 inches longer and 6 inches taller than the Fuzzmeister himself.
In addition, the carrier will have to provide a water and food bowl that’s firmly attached to the inside but can still be reached from the outside.
- Obtain necessary health certification
One of the most important aspects related to the travel of an animal is the right documentation. All airlines insist that you produce a health certificate certified by a vet within 10 days of travel to make sure the animal is fit and healthy to fly.
From a veterinary perspective, it is actually quite simple to import a cat from the UK to the USA. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention don’t stipulate a general health certificate for cats for entry into the US, though some states may have their own regulations, so do please check beforehand.
Rabies vaccination is advisable at least 30 days before your cat travels. Strictly speaking, the UK is on the list of rabies-free countries, so the jab is not an import requirement, however different states have different rules. Florida, for example, insists that imported cats do have a valid rabies vaccination.
- Make sure your cat has its own ID
Prior to travelling, it is highly recommended that Chairman Meow is microchipped with a 15 digit ISO 11784 compliant microchip and your contact details registered for ID purposes.
This is not a requirement as such – a collar with your name and contact number will do – but why take the chance of losing your purry pal when you’ve gone to such lengths to take him with you in the first place?
- Should you give sedation?
Obviously, you know your pet best. Is Edward Scissor Paws a good traveller or does he get upset easily? You may well be tempted to sedate him for the long journey.
However, most airlines discourage sedation as the medication can sometimes be affected by high altitudes, with unpleasant results. If you’re worried about how your cat may react to the upheaval of being transported long distances and are considering sedation, make sure you consult both the airline in question and your vet.
- Labelling the crate
All animal kennels have to be labelled. On the topside of the animal carrier and on at least one of the sides there must be a label that reads LIVE ANIMAL’ and another that reads THIS SIDE UP.
One of the labels should also include information about when Sir Purralot was last fed, when he should be fed again, if he has been sedated, the generic name of the sedation medication, how much was administered and the cat’s weight.
- Drop-off and pick-up
Ask the airline to supply a list of drop-off locations and times for pets, as these can often be different from where passengers check in. You might also like to ask about any extras the airline may offer. For instance, at an additional cost, Delta Airlines will offer GPS tracking so you know exactly where Dr Claw is at any point during the journey.
Finally, make sure you know when and where to pick your favourite fluffball up on the other side. Rather than where passengers disembark, your cat’s arrival lounge may well be in the cargo area.
Article provided by Mike James, a tech-obsessed, cat-loving content writer