How to travel internationally with a cat?

Chima Nnaemeka 26 August 2021 118 views 5 min. read

Leaving your country or state to travel to another is not only a big decision but one that involves prior adequate planning. When you want to air travel with a cat, it requires more preparation and planning. It is easier to move around with your cat domestically than to do so on an international level. How to travel long distance with a cat is not something you just wake up and do. You must take it seriously to avoid stress and even parting with your beloved cat at the airport.

So, different countries have different visa rules. Some countries allow you to stay for certain periods without a visa, but many countries have specific visa requirements. If you want to get more information, check the visa policies of countries.

In this article, you will learn how to travel with a cat on a plane and how to travel with a cat across the country. Before we get started, decide the actual date you want to travel so that you will start months ahead to prepare.

Steps on how to travel internationally with a cat

First and foremost, you need to know that traveling with a cat to some countries is easier than other world countries. So, the preparation should not be the same. This is so as some countries are free from rabies while others are not free but controlling the spread. As a result of this, your cat might be forced to undergo quarantine for some number of days. With this knowledge, let's get started.

Start early to prepare

cat sitting in suitcase

As early as 9 months before departure, check the travel destination country to know the requirements for traveling with a cat. You can also find out the cat's immigration requirements from the embassy of the country. For ease, consult to help you out immediately while you focus on other important issues. This website is designed as a resource guide for both pet owners and veterinarians to get information on immigrating with pets. You can also check out the AVMA website page for information regarding pet immigration requirements.

Book an appointment with a veterinarian for international travel consultation

booking meeting appointment

This is the second step to take on how to travel long distance with a cat. Firstly, make sure the regular vet doctors around you are accredited. The best veterinarian to consult should be accredited and certified for an international travel consultation. Getting the attention of a vet doctor may not be easy. So, start on time to book an appointment, at least six months before your traveling date. This will give the veterinarian time to review your destination country's requirements and provide you with the current and accurate cat information or policy. Some of the things a vet will consider during the consultation include vaccination, microchip, rabies titer (blood test), health certificates, anti-parasitic treatment like intestinal parasites, ticks, and fleas. Vaccination is very important for the health of your cat, and most countries will want to know the vaccine they received before they were allowed into the country. Microchip implant on cats and other pets to help you find where they are, especially when they are lost in the airport or the destination country.

Since these tests and activities might take time, start early to book an appointment. This will make you not miss your flight and not leave your car behind. Also, you will need to provide at the airport when the time is due the proper signature and vaccination.

Contact the airline

portrait of happy young woman

Not every airline allows people to bring their cats on board. To avoid late frustration, contact the airlines in your country to know those that support you to air travel with a cat. It is safer to bring in your cat to stay with you in the cabin than to be in the cargo, which can always be delayed. If care is not taken, it can be forgotten. Through prior contact, you will know the airlines that allow cats into the cabin and those that don't allow it. One of the things you should know about how to travel with a cat is temperature. Not every temperature is conducive for you to travel with your cat. It is better to travel with your cat during the spring and fall season when there is less drastic temperature. Choose an overnight flight when the months are warmer. In colder months, travel and arrive in the daytime. If there is anything you should do, book only a non-stop or direct flight. This will reduce stress on you and your cat. Consider air travel with a cat during working days instead of weekends if you want to reach a vet before you depart or arrive in the destination country.

Check pet travel requirements of your airline

flight search

Just as there are different airlines, there are also different requirements of traveling with a cat. Before booking your traveling flight, visit the airline website to check the cat immigration requirements. This might include the shape, breed, and size of the cat and cat carriers that they allow into their airplane. You will also know how the care for cats etc. If you didn't see this on their website, you can visit the airport to check for yourself and also ask direct questions. When you know the kind of carrier accepted, buy such for your cat and help your cat get used and comfortable with it at home before you travel. Large carrier is advisable to enable the cat to move around, stand up and sit down when on board.

Get your cat used to the carrier

cat in airline airline cargo pet carrier

As earlier stated in the last step, buy the carrier type that your airline accepts before you travel for your cat. While at home, help your cat get used to it. Praise your cat when it enters the carrier. To help your cat to get used to the carrier, leave the carrier outside the house. Put your cat’s favorite blanket or towel inside. The blanket or towel to be used should be familiar or of the same type that would be used when on board. Attach a label to the carrier. Don’t use tags as they can tear off easily. On the label, have your name on it, the contact address of your home and the new destination country, and your phone number.

Separate travel

happy smiling woman

There is a possibility you were in haste, and you travel without your cat with the hope that you will return early only to find out you are not coming back anytime soon. You now want your cat to join you or want someone else to bring it for you. In a case like this, review the documents such as the certificate exam and make sure the person that will travel with your cat has the information. The minimum requirement is phone number, local destination address, and contact email.

The journey

cat on vacation

After spending months preparing for this trip with your cat and the day has arrived for departure, consider the following things:

• Have all your flight arrangements reconfirmed again a day before you travel. This will prevent unexpected changes.

• Get all relevant paperwork, such as the medical records of your cat. Also, get a current color photo of your cat. Keep it with you in case your cat gets missing at the airport. Let this photo be on a white background to bring out the appearance of your cat more. While you hold the pictures, tap one to the cat carrier's side.

• Get puppy pads and an old towel that you can throw away. Pad the carrier well enough to provide a good space for movement for your cat.

• If the airport did not provide a “live animal” sticker, get some and have them affixed to the outside of the cat carrier.

• If your cat will be in the cargo area and not with you in the cabin, attach an instruction letter on how to feed and give your cat water. There is a tendency the flight can be delayed, or you will be separated from your cat, so attach a small food bag. This will give the airline personnel a guide on how to look after your cat. Also, inform the flight attendant that your cat is at the cargo if your cat will be staying there.

• To avoid being rushed, arrive early at the airport. Relax and wait for your time to enter the airplane.


cat in suitcase

How to travel internationally with a cat takes a lot of planning and preparation. However, when there is prior planning, the journey can be easy and smooth. This article would have answered your questions, such as how to travel with a cat and how to travel with a cat on a plane by now. If you miss any step, go back and read again. Enjoy your trip and teach others how to travel with a cat across the country. Safe journey!

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