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moving cat internationally

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

We are in the process of planning a permanent move to Australia from the USA, and will be taking our gorgeous kitty with us. I have looked into the immigration rules etc, and have that sorted out, but have questions regarding the safety and comfort of cats traveling in the air for that length of time.

Has anyone got any experience or advice regarding travel of this distance? How did the cats cope? Were they able to eat and drink inbetween flights, or during? Just how scary is it for a cat? (Ours is timid around people and loud noises after a traumatic time at the vet getting speyed a few months ago). I've also read that giving cats drugs to relax them is not a good idea, as it can cause shock at high altitude. I'm quite concerned, but definitely will take her with us, she is part of our family.

post #2 of 8
You are right about the sedatives and airplanes. If you can, it's best if you can have her in the cabin with you. Make sure you line the bottom of her carrier with absorbant pads. You can either use the puppy pads, or baby diapers. That way, if she has an accindent in the carrier, the pad will absorb most of the moisture.
You can put a little food in the carrier with her, but more than likely she won't eat because she's stressed. For water, you should put some ice cubes in a bowl, and let them melt. That way, she has water and it can't be spilled as easily.
You can also try giving her some Dr. Bachs rescue remedy to see if it calms her down a bit. In a situation like this, I would make sure and give it to her every day for about 2 weeks before she flys. It will give it a chance to get into her system.
And of course, make sure you have all her medical records with your carry on, you have a picture of her, she has identification in or on the carrier, and all your health certificates in order
post #3 of 8
Hello NWK!

i have two large Sherpa soft cat carriers for my two kitties. These carriers are great!

It is approved by most airlines in America, and you can bring your kitties along in these, and placed them underneath the seats in front of you.

It has a two large pockets at one end, and you can place a lot of stuff there. It helps to put all the pertinent info in that pocket. i place pertinent health records, plastic bags, food, water, a clean teaspoon, baby food, collars, leash, harness, etc. in them.

Three sides of the carrier are mesh-like. The top of the carrier has a zipper as well. The kittes can enter from the top or one end of the carrier. It is lined with a fleece, on a board. One can place another thick layer of flat fleece bed on top of that as well.

In a LARGE size Sherpa carrier, there is plenty of room for the kitty to move around (turn around), move and even play with a toy or two. i found the small and medium size ones to be a tad too small.

i spent A LOT of time shopping for a really good carrier (researching via the internet, going to many different stores to make comparisons) and found this to be the BEST as a cat carrier. i hope you will check it out, okay? It is available in forest green, white and black. Both mine are black. Also, it comes with a leather tag, big enough for you to put your kitty's pix on it. i place a picture of me and my kitty baby in each of them. Also, i wrote my information on the other side of the photograph.

If you bring the cats out, do feed them a few hours ahead, so they won't throw up. Don't bring them out immediately after a meal, they might feel nauseous.

Also, it is important to let them use their litter before leaving the house. This way, they will not do their small and big businesses as much. It helps me to bring along disposable litter boxes filled with their clean litter as well. When my Daisy meows in a certain way, i knew she wanted to use the litter box, and i get it ready for her immediately.

Bring a bottle of water and their bowl. i let them drink from the bowl every now and then. i feel that putting the bowl IN the carrier is not too good an idea. Venus' tail got wet, when it was accidentally dipped in the bowl. Not good for water and kitty.

These days, i take their favorite treat along with me whenever i travel with them: chicken baby (yes, human) food and a teaspoon. i feed them using the spoon, and they thoroughly enjoy it!

i think it helps prior to traveling to long distances, to bring your kitties to places with people, for example grocery stores, parks, etc. This way, they can at least have a feel for travel and people, and would not pose as a shock.

i hope your kitties are microchipped. i always let my babies wear their collars with a tag with my name, home address and telephone on it. i guess you never know.

Happy traveling with your furbabies, NWK!

post #4 of 8
Make sure to get all the information you will need to travel. Contact the airlines and find out what you from your vet as well as any quarentine there may be after you arrive. Place a sweaty shirt of your in the carrier to make it smell more familiar to the kitty. Reserve your pets place on the plane early as some airlines restrict the numbers of pets per flight. Carry your kitty in the plane with you as it is much better for the kitty and it is less likely to escape or misshipped. Best of luck with your move!
post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 
Thanks Sandie, Gurl power and Teresa!

Your information is very helpful, anything I can do to make traveling less stressful is great. I love the sherpa carrier, it sounds perfect for domestic flights.

I have checked into travel to Australia however, and the airline we need to travel on doesn't let cats in the cabin, so she will be in the cargo hold! I know many cats travel successfully like this, but I still have questions regarding the safety and well-being while in the air. The flight from LA to Melbourne is 15 hours alone, and from there it will be another 5 or so, not considering transit times. It makes me ill to think of her in a cage all that time. She is not allowed to get out of her cage at all; due to very strict quarantine rules, she must not have the official seal broken from when she is placed in her cage by a vet, to exiting the cage once at the quarantine station.

I would love to hear from anyone who has traveled this distance with their cat.

post #6 of 8
Hi Nikki!

Here is another site for you:


It is packed with good info.

Wishing for journey mercy for you,and have a safe and pleasant flight.

post #7 of 8
I have traveled with my cats from germany, they had to stay inside the carrier for about 12 or more hours or so, they did very well. I got them a carrier that they would have a little extra room and they did fine.I put them a little food and water in the trays, not too much, but just enough where they could get their mouths a little wet if they wanted to. Also one other thing I did was i attached my name, address and phone number for both places, the destination and where I left from and phone numbers where someone could get in touch with me, like a relative that wasnt traveling with me. I used clear packaging tape to tape the information onto the handle of the carrier where it wouldnt come off. I also tied the door shut with a tie of some kind, I used twist ties, to make sure someone wouldnt open the door and let them out, while they were waiting to be put on the plane. I didnt sedate them, some people say it stresses them out more. Also put some kind of liner and comfy stuff for them to lay on.
On my cats I didnt put collars because they had never worn them and didnt want to make them more stressed out with them, but on my dog I made a little card for her collar with all the info on it and taped it on her collar if she somehow got lost. Im a worrier so I did everything I could think of to make sure they would be ok. Those puppy training pads are good to put in the carrier. I brought 3 cats and 1 dog from germany and they did fine, hope yours will make the trip ok too.
post #8 of 8

Am happy for you and your family that you made it okay... sounds like a really smooth-sailing and blessed trip.

Cheers to you!

p.s hope you will enjoy the Rhine Valley cruise and the castles!! Also, just one beer at a time ... the mugs are ENORMOUS!!!

Cheers! (with German beer, OF COURSE! TeeHee! )
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