Cat Travel Tips
|Cat Travel Tips! - Photo by katepc (Flickr)|
These cat travel tips relate to car and air travel. Air travel is often international travel so you have to be aware of the rules pertaining to the importation of animals into the country concerned. For me this is where is gets a bit hazy because to be honest it is complicated. This is because the rules are fragmented and hard to understand and they depend largely on which countries are rabies free and which are not. Rabies is a major factor in animal air travel because as mentioned below it is transferable from animal to human and invariably fatal. You will need to look at the whole journey. Are you traveling from or to (or in transit) a country where there is rabies and which is not a participating country of PETS (see below)?
In broad brush terms, pet travel within the European Union (EU) requires a pet passport (Pet Travel Scheme - "PETS") and for certain countries (Ireland, Sweden, Malta or the United Kingdom) a test that confirms that the rabies vaccination has been effective. This would seem to be in addition to the actual rabies vaccination. For other countries in the EU the simple fact that a rabies vaccination has been administered is sufficient. The test is "a neutralising antibody titration at least equal to 0,5 IU/ml carried out on a sample taken by an authorised veterinarian at least 30 days after vaccination and three months before being moved..." if that helps!
The pet passport is a EU document and does not relate to pets traveling from countries outside the EU except for certain non-EU countries who participate. Pet passports should be applied for well in advance and and rabies jabs administered well in advance (check with vet). I am talking 6 months and more. The purpose of PETS is to keep the member states free from rabies and other diseases. PETS applies to cats, dogs and ferrets traveling between certain countries and these animals can only travel on certain routes. These animals arriving at the UK from non PETS participating countries must be placed in quarantine for six months. There is a limit to five pets please note. These are the qualifying European Union (EU) countries and territories:
|Azores||Faroe Islands||Ireland 3||Poland|
Below are the qualifying non-EU countries and territories:
|Andorra||Fiji||Russian Federation (2)|
|Antigua & Barbuda||French Polynesia||St Helena|
|Argentina||Guam||St Kitts & Nevis|
|Aruba||Hawaii||St Pierre & Miquelon|
|Ascension Island||Hong Kong||St Vincent & The Grenadines|
|Belarus||Malaysia (3)||Trinidad and Tobago|
|Bermuda||Mauritius||United Arab Emirates (4)|
|BES Islands (Bonair, Saint Eustatius and Saba) (5)||Mayotte||USA (mainland)|
|British Virgin Islands||Monaco||Vatican|
|Canada||Montserrat||Wallis & Futuna|
|Cayman Islands||Saint Maarten (5)|
|Curacao (5)||New Caledonia|
|Falkland Islands||New Zealand|
The above come from the DEFRA website (government website so excellent authority)
The major concern would seem to be rabies. In the UK it is extinct if that is the correct word. But is the USA for example it is not. Rabies is zoonotic (transferable from animal to human) and invariably kills both animal and human, hence the strict rules on importation of animals into the UK.
You get a pet passport from your veterinarian. He or she should know what to do regarding travel in the EU. I think microchipping is obligatory under the pet passport scheme. For the technically minded this is: "For the purposes of Article 4(1), the standard electronic identification system shall be a read-only passive radio frequency identification device (‘transponder’).." if your vet is unsure about pet passports, I would contact the airline. I would do this anyway as they all have different processes.
Read this page from Defra on PETS for more detail.
Rabies - importation from outside EU
Movement between Member States (of the EU) or from a territory listed in section 2 of Part B of Annex II of animals of the species listed in part C of Annex I shall not be subject to any requirement with regard to rabies (see list below).
Section 2 of Part B of Annex II
- AD Andorra
- CH Switzerland
- HR Croatia
- IS Iceland
- LI Liechtenstein
- MC Monaco
- NO Norway
- SM San Marino
- VA Vatican City State
For those of you brave enough the rules on pet importation from outside the EU to the EU can be seen in this document: RULES!
These seem to vary from airline to airline as mentioned. The cat travel tip is common sense: contact the airline concerned. This page from About.com has a list of links to phone numbers.
Air Canada, as one example, allow pets in the cabin provided they can fit under the seat in a cat carrier (note: this I believe applies to embarkation from Canada only - see how confusing it is). There is not much space under the seat! This has to be a small cat...For Air Canada these are the in cabin specs:
Max weight: 10 kg (22 lb) (pet and carrier combined)
Height: 23 cm (9 in)
Width: 40 cm (15.5 in)
Length: 55 cm (21.5 in)
Height: 27 cm (10.5 in)
Width: 40 cm (15.5 in)
Length: 55 cm (21.5 in)
See here for more.
If they can't go under the seat they obviously go in the hold. This means a non-spill water dispenser and cat food in a nice carrier. At check-in with Air Canada in London the check-in person asks for the weights of the cat and carrier separately. A third person will take the cat and carrier to the luggage loading facility. As far as I am aware cats cannot go into the cabin from London, Heathrow.
What about car travel? Well most cat caretakers have travelled short distances with their cat and all that requires is a good cat carrier and a a bit of rescue remedy (for us!) as it is quite stressful driving with a cat as a passenger unless your cat likes it (rare).
I have travelled a long distance in my car with two cats. I went on holiday to Ireland from London! It worked out well, in fact. I even took them on the ferry and smuggled them on the boat in a large briefcase!
Anyway back to serious cat travel tips. On short distances the cat will remain in the carrier and that is all you need.
On a long trip the cat should be free to roam the car, in my opinion. This causes potential hazards (getting under your feet). But in practice a cat will quickly settle down on the back ledge at the rear of the car, on the dashboard or back seat etc.
What you need then is all the basics that are available at home: cat litter, cat food (I'd recommend a good dry food), something to clean up and perhaps some enzyme urine cleaner - sorry to be so negative. A cat first aid kit would come in handy too. Cat toys and your cat's medical records and pet passport should be brought too.
I don't think there is any requirement to stop and let the cats out for a break. I would be against this unless the cat is on a leash. Cats disturbed and confused by a new environment may panic and run. That would cause chaos.
You'll need a good one. Here is a nice selection from Amazon.com (north America market).
See also cat stroller.
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