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Flying my Cat over - Risky?

Flying my Cat over - Risky?

Old May 5th 2011, 12:31 pm
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Default Flying my Cat over - Risky?

Hi all,

I have recently moved to California from the UK, and my girlfriend is about to head over, possibly with our cat.

She is not sure whether to bring the cat or not, and is worried (as am I) about the risks of transporting animals in a plane.

The cat is a young (1 year old approx) female moggy, and is fit and healthy as far as we know.

Please can people let me know their experiences, good and bad, and give me any advice they think is relevant.

Thanks in advance....
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Old May 5th 2011, 12:45 pm
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Default Re: Flying my Cat over - Risky?

we flew our 120lb dog over from Uk to Florida. he was scheduled to leave dec 1 -the day the snows came. he spent 3 days being shunted around then flew to Miaimi instead of Orlando. he arrived tired and dehydrated and then had to sit around in a crate for 2 hours while 'paperowrk was processed'. US speak for 'lets sit on our arses doing sod all'.

the outcome -he survived fine and within 2 days was bouncing around without a care in the world and loves the pool !


Virgin were very good, but we paid extra to use a specialist pet shipper which i highly recomend (and can send details if you DM me)

relax -kitty will be fine. I asked the girl at the shippers
'how many pets a year do you fly' a- thousands
'how many do you "lose" ' a- none

however everyones pet is 'special'
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Old May 5th 2011, 12:57 pm
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Default Re: Flying my Cat over - Risky?

That is a monster dog! What breed is he? he is beautiful.

We used PetAir UK to send our cat over here. There were a few hoops to jump through with vaccinations and fit to fly certificates but all in all it was painless and they were great (apart from for me, worrying about him). They offer either a full service where they do all the vet paperwork or a cheaper one where you get your own vets certificate (which is what we did). I did think it might be kinder to find him a new home but my stepdaughter would have been devastated if we had left him behind. He actually bounced back pretty quickly and likes his new house with a window overlooking a chipmunk's nest .

You will need a fit to fly certificate from the vets no more than 10 days prior to travel. I believe there are also some regulations about booking flights for pets a certain amount of time in advance, and you should check the laws for your state in case they require any additional vaccinations. Also bear in mind that some airlines won't fly pets during the hottest months of the year which may restrict your travel plans.

Another option is to take him on the flight as hand luggage which is cheaper than flying him in the hold, a couple of airlines allow this. Our cat was too heavy to be allowed to do this but you might feel that the cat would be happier coming on board with someone they know (not sure what the person sitting next you would think if the cat pees... or worse!).

http://britishexpats.com/forum/showt...ght=cat+flying

Here is Jack getting ready for his journey
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Old May 5th 2011, 1:00 pm
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Default Re: Flying my Cat over - Risky?

Originally Posted by Lewis81 View Post
Hi all,

I have recently moved to California from the UK, and my girlfriend is about to head over, possibly with our cat.

She is not sure whether to bring the cat or not, and is worried (as am I) about the risks of transporting animals in a plane.

The cat is a young (1 year old approx) female moggy, and is fit and healthy as far as we know.

Please can people let me know their experiences, good and bad, and give me any advice they think is relevant.

Thanks in advance....
We brought our cat over in January. She's probably around 12 or 13 (we got her as a stray) and she did fine - just hid under the bed for a day or so once we let her out of the carrier.

Most airlines won't let you carry on a cat carrier so most likely she'll have to travel as cargo. We used a specialist pet shipper (Pet Air) who took care of the details. Expensive but worth it. The exact paperwork required varies by state but for us in New York we had to provide a certificate of rabies vaccination (a standard UK pet passport was fine) and the shippers' vet certified that she was fit to travel for the airline (BA in our case). If you do-it-yourself you need to provide an IATA-approved pet carrier and vet's fitness certificate along with the rabies cert.

Whichever way you do it, you need to have entered into a "business relationship" with the shippers or airline at least 30 days before the cat flies. Just asking for quotes is sufficient, you don't need to complete the booking that early. The day before the cat flys you also need to call the receiving cargo handling facility and give them an "OK to forward" instruction.

The biggest palaver was getting her cleared through US Customs, as it involved getting the paperwork from the cargo handling facility, taking it to the other end of the airport to be processed by Customs and then back to cargo again. Expect to have to pay a small cash fee for processing to the cargo handlers ($40 in our case) and make sure that the person who takes the paperwork to Customs is the person listed on the paperwork as the importer.

The only caveat in terms of welfare for your cat is to consider the temperature on board the plane in the hold. It might be dangerously high in the summer, and some airlines won't carry live animals then for that reason.

Last edited by rpjs; May 5th 2011 at 1:20 pm.
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Old May 5th 2011, 1:08 pm
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Default Re: Flying my Cat over - Risky?

Natasha -our Marley is a Dogue de Bordeaux (French Mastiff ) but not a pure one. Think Hooch from Turner and Hooch he is a big softy.

we also used Pet air and i could not recommend them highly enough for what they did (at no extra charge) due to all the problems with the snow.

to the OP the others make very good points about pre flying checks etc.
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Old May 5th 2011, 2:48 pm
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Default Re: Flying my Cat over - Risky?

Since (if I understand your situation correctly) your girlfriend is just coming over to visit you it may look a little suspicious that she has the cat with her - it might raise some questions about whether she is intending to stay in the US so she should probably be extra careful about being able to show that she has strong ties to the UK and really is just visiting and that only the cat is going to stay.

btw don't forget about all of the things that you will need to do in order to bring the cat back to the UK eventually http://www.defra.gov.uk/wildlife-pets/pets/travel/pets/
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Old May 5th 2011, 3:04 pm
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Default Re: Flying my Cat over - Risky?

Originally Posted by md95065 View Post
Since (if I understand your situation correctly) your girlfriend is just coming over to visit you it may look a little suspicious that she has the cat with her - it might raise some questions about whether she is intending to stay in the US so she should probably be extra careful about being able to show that she has strong ties to the UK and really is just visiting and that only the cat is going to stay.
If that is the case then I'd recommend that the OP be named as the importer on the shipping paperwork and that the OP deals with the Customs processing. One of the things I was asked for when I did it was my status in the US, to which I pointed at my freshly-stamped immigrant visa. Fortunately the ink was dry by then!
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Old May 5th 2011, 3:20 pm
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Default Re: Flying my Cat over - Risky?

We brought over our probably-about-four year old cat from London to Seattle-Tacoma in December 2009. He was in the carrier about 18 hours, 17 of which were without us around. He was a bit unhappy when we collected him (as would be anyone, 18 hours with no loo break) but bounced back very quickly and a few days later you'd never know he'd ever been on a plane.

He loves to roll around in the dried leaves on the pebbled part of our back yard. But he's always been a bit weird.
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Old May 5th 2011, 3:22 pm
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Default Re: Flying my Cat over - Risky?

For a holiday, waste of time and effort, just leave the cat with friends.

If it's long term, well again, unless there's a visa for the girlfriend, it's a waste of time looking as it won't happen and there isn't a girlfriend visa.
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Old May 5th 2011, 3:25 pm
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Default Re: Flying my Cat over - Risky?

If this is just a visit then I second what the others have said - leave the cat at home. He will either need to have a stay in quarantine when he returns to the UK (6 months I think?) or have a pet passport which requires a few months worth of blood tests to obtain.
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Old May 5th 2011, 3:48 pm
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Default Re: Flying my Cat over - Risky?

All 4 of ours came over in cargo back in 2005.

No ill effects

Pretty simple to setup

chuffing expensive
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Old May 5th 2011, 3:57 pm
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Default Re: Flying my Cat over - Risky?

Originally Posted by Paul S View Post
All 4 of ours came over in cargo back in 2005.

No ill effects

Pretty simple to setup

chuffing expensive
tell me ! I coulda flown first class return for what Marley cost
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Old May 6th 2011, 11:38 am
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Default Re: Flying my Cat over - Risky?

We shipped our bulldog via the petpassport scheme to London.

Coming back to Florida we used jets4pets flying into Sanford and we had no issues either. Just paid the fee.

We are now looking to move back to the UK permanently and shipping our dogs again.
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Old May 6th 2011, 3:34 pm
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Default Re: Flying my Cat over - Risky?

It's risky but it can be done. What model is your cat?











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Old May 6th 2011, 3:41 pm
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Default Re: Flying my Cat over - Risky?

I found when I moved you can get 3 cats and an alsatian in one case if when you have them put down and stuffed you ask them to make the legs removal ... it really aided with packing them...
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