How to Travel Internationally with Your Cat
Many people fear they cannot travel with a cat, or even trickier, travel abroad with one.
But we’re here to tell you that it’s possible - we’re proof!
Our Yoda is living his 9 lives to the max as he travels with us everywhere we go. So far, he has lived in Nepal, France, the United States, the Netherlands, Belgium, and now Mexico.
If you, too, wish to travel internationally with your cat, then we’re here for you. As you’ll see, it’s a lot easier than you might think!
1st Steps - Getting Organized
First things first - when you want to travel abroad with a cat, you’ll need to get organized.
The first time we traveled internationally with Yoda we had to start from scratch. I had no idea what documents I needed or even which resources to reference.
Before anything else, I always start searching for flights. Choosing among the best airlines for flying with a cat can be a little overwhelming. After all, there’s so many to choose from!
Take it from me - choose a flight that fits your personal itinerary best.
Then, verify the airline for its pet policy. In most cases, it works out. If not, go to your next best option. Just remember, the shorter and faster the flight for you, the better for your cat.
Logistics - International Cat Travel
Choosing a country where Yoda can easily immigrate to is a huge part of how we travel internationally with a cat.
The thing is, each country can have different immigration pet policies. Some are easier than others.
When we travel with our cat, we base at least 90% of our decision on whether or not it will be a safe and easy move for Yoda.
For example, Paul and I really wanted to move to Australia and New Zealand about a year ago. But, upon doing our research, we discovered that these two countries require quarantine time for pets immigrating into the country.
Beyond that - the rest is rather simple. In sum, you’ll need the below for traveling with your cat abroad:
Airline-approved pet carrier complete with required tags, stickers, pee mat, water bowl, and reinforcements
Vet-approved health certificate signed by an official, along with copies and proof of rabies and other up-to-date vaccinations, or anything else the destination country may require
Your pet’s booked reservation, payment of the airline fee(s), and the original + copies of the above documents for the airline
Try to Avoid Countries with Quarantine Time
The word “quarantine” is a definite no-brainer for us, personally. At least for now, we are not willing to put Yoda in quarantine for any amount of time just so we can move to that country.
Therefore, we look for countries that do not require a quarantine process, which greatly narrows down our selection.
Now, you personally may have to immigrate to a country where quarantine measures are in place (career, education, etc.). In this case, you can still move internationally with your cat, but there will be extra steps and challenges you might face.
Equip Yourself with Research
Whether you decide to move or travel to a country that requires quarantine time or not, the absolute best thing you can do to prepare yourself for international travel with a cat is RESEARCH. And lots of it.
The more you know about your destination country, its pet immigration policies, and so on, the better.
Being more aware and knowing the ins-and-outs of your chosen airline, country, and so on, the less chance you will have of arriving and finding yourself in a, “I completely had no idea” situation. Let’s avoid those, please!
Preparing Your Cat for International Travel
Remember not to get carried away with only the logistics of your next trip! Your cat is also in need of some preparation before the big day.
If your cat can already explore comfortably in a harness and leash, then luckily you’re already one step ahead of the game.
Most cats who can explore outdoors with their humans take flying in planes much easier than cats who don’t like to explore.
Well before your flight, make sure to carrier train your cat! Making sure your cat is comfortable inside the carrier for longer periods of time will help prevent a freak out moment once in the airport or worse - in the plane where everyone can hear your cat meowing.
Here are some tips to help your cat get used to the carrier:
Go on small car trips to get your cat familiarized with traveling
Leave out the carrier on a daily basis so they get accustomed to having it around
Don’t use the same carrier for scary vet trips because then your cat might associate it with the vet when you travel and feel uncomfortable
Reward good behavior with yummy treats and/or feed your cat next to the open carrier
Encourage your cat to sleep in the carrier by providing a comfortable little bed
If your cat is able to comfortably sleep in the carrier and ride in it on car trips, then it’s likely your cat will be able to handle a longer plane trip.
In cases where you have to travel internationally with your cat but your cat still hates it, there are calmin sprays that you can use to help them travel.
Please avoid using sedatives when traveling with pets as it can be dangerous for their health.
Keep Calm & Travel on - It’s Just a Checklist!
Once you get passed the initial frill and fear of traveling internationally with a cat, you’ll soon realize that it’s only a checklist you need to tick items off of.
Traveling with your cat internationally is much simpler than one might think. As long as you keep your cat’s safety and comfort a priority - the rest will naturally fall in line.
Brittany and Paul are the “meowsterminds” behind the Fluffy Kitty blog, but the real ins-purr-ation comes from their adopted travel cat, Yoda, who has lived in six countries on three different continents! When we’re not off exploring, you can catch us on the blog writing about cat travel, eco-friendly cat care, and more. Follow our advenpurrs here @fluffyyoda.