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Immigrating with pets - any tips?

Immigrating with pets - any tips?

Old May 28th 2013, 5:02 am
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Default Immigrating with pets - any tips?

I'm planning on marrying my American partner and moving to America - I'll be moving from Newcastle UK to Los Angeles USA.
Currently we're still in the process of applying for the Finance Visa so we have no date set.

I need to be able to bring my cats with me (two healthy adults, who get on well together but not used to travelling or other people), but obviously I'm concerned about what is involved in flying them to their new home, how they'll cope, etc. At the moment I've done very little research into this as I'm not sure where to start.

My normal travel route is Newcastle airport, to London Heathrow, then onto Los Angeles - obviously taking into consideration waiting time between flights, clearing customs, then a 1-2 hour drive from LAX to my new home. That's around 16 hours travel time that the cats would have to tolerate too.

Does anyone have any advice on where to start my research?
Does anyone have any tips on how to reduce stress on the cats?
Does anyone have first-hand experience they could share with me?
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Old May 28th 2013, 11:28 am
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Default Re: Immigrating with pets - any tips?



This is the wiki entry for pets:
http://britishexpats.com/wiki/Bringing_Pets

This is a fairly detailed thread from last year:
http://britishexpats.com/forum/showthread.php?t=749891
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Old May 28th 2013, 5:53 pm
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Default Re: Immigrating with pets - any tips?

I'd consider not bringing them: they may not fare so well outside here as they do in the UK. Most people I know with cats keep them inside which is really cruel if they have been used to freedom. Even worse if you live in an apartment block on a high floor - how would they get out? Jump off the balcony?

Best to give them to someone else and think about a small dog which appear to be the annoying and yappy small pet of choice here in LA.
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Old May 28th 2013, 10:12 pm
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Default Re: Immigrating with pets - any tips?

Hello and welcome to BE.

I know this is in reverse of what you're planning and I'm talking dog not cat, but I just flew my dog from Denver to LHR. I did not use a pet service because the process is pretty straight forward. Of course, I will never know how she was on the plane but the staff at both ends were lovely and very kind and she has fared very well.

Would it help to drive from Newcastle to Heathrow to minimize the time your cats are not with you or do you think the extra time it would take would increase the stress?

There are lots of people on BE who have flown animals and I think we all say the same thing - it was harder for us than the animal. We never really know what they're experiencing though.
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Old May 29th 2013, 11:48 am
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Default Re: Immigrating with pets - any tips?

I've moved the posts discussing the pros and cons of indoor cats here. Please post any further discussions about the subject in the new thread. Thanks.
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Old May 29th 2013, 6:58 pm
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Default Re: Immigrating with pets - any tips?

I would definitely try to do "ground transport" for the cats in the UK and get a direct flight between LHR and LAX. It's still going to be stressful for them.

I'm not sure what the vaccination requirements are (ours are "local" furballs), up here they only have to be vaccinated against rabies so definitely check that. Also, if they're chipped, verify that they have a chip that can be read out here, otherwise I would suggest getting them re-chipped.
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Old Jun 7th 2013, 9:15 pm
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Default Re: Immigrating with pets - any tips?

I moved from London to California last year with my two cats. My husband and I wanted to fly with them in the cabin (which caused a rather large amount of controversy on here), but Lufthansa allowed us to do it, so that is what we did.

We had to fly London-Frankfurt-Los Angeles, but the cats did tremendously well. We were able to take them out of their carriers briefly in Frankfurt to allow them to stretch their legs. We did this well away from all the other passengers - before I get anyone criticizing us again.

We purposely chose the very last row on both flights, so that we minimized any passenger discomfort as much as possible. They were both troopers for the most part - one curled up and slept, but the other one would only settle down with me holding my hand in the carrier and stroking her - so it was a long 15+ hours. That being said, while I hope we NEVER have to do it again, I am happy we chose this option.

The flight attendants mentioned they usually have 3 animals or so on every flight, and weren't phased by them at all. Our fellow passengers near us fortunately were cat lovers and fussed over them quite a bit.

Lufthansa was the only airline offering this option when we looked into it. We also spoke with Virgin Atlantic and British Airways about sending them cargo, but decided against it.

Some recommendations, whether you send them cargo or in cabin:
-purchase leads (with harnesses) and get them used to them before travelling
-Feliway spray (sprayed on the carrier) and Rescue Remedy (pet formula - you may need to buy this imported from the US) worked REALLY well in keeping them calm.
-Carriers: The Sleepypod Air, while expensive, was a GREAT soft sided case which fit perfectly under the seats. It also kept OUT fur - something we were concerned about, given the potential impact on other passengers.
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Old Jun 9th 2013, 3:15 pm
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Default Re: Immigrating with pets - any tips?

We took Lufthansa from Geneva to Frankfurt, Frankfurt to Houston. Though one of our dogs (in the hold) died during the flight - previously discussed at length on this forum and never to be forgotten - the cats flew in the cabin with us, no problem at all. They are Siamese and noisy savages, normally rip a cat carrybag to shreds, etc., but they appeared somnolent for the whole flights - didn't want to eat, didn't want to drink, didn't need to pee. We didn't give them any tranquilizers, meds or anything. We didn't feed them before the flight. I would never have believed it was so easy to fly with cats. They didn't let out a peep and arrived ravenously hungry and eager to explore their new home. I think the altitude must slow them down or something, I had never before - and never since - seen them be so cooperative, quiet and peaceful.
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Old Jun 9th 2013, 4:41 pm
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Default Re: Immigrating with pets - any tips?

Be aware that not all airlines will carry pets in the cabin, and some will not carry pets at all during certain times of the year due to heat at the departure and arrival airports - I suggest that might be an issue at LAX depending on the time of year.
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Old Jun 9th 2013, 11:55 pm
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Default Re: Immigrating with pets - any tips?

Originally Posted by civilservant View Post
Be aware that not all airlines will carry pets in the cabin, and some will not carry pets at all during certain times of the year due to heat at the departure and arrival airports - I suggest that might be an issue at LAX depending on the time of year.
That's only for transport in the hold. Airlines that allow you to transport pets in the cabin (Lufthansa, United, KLM, Air France that I know of) transport them all year long - they don't get stuck in overheated baggage holds because they are physically with you - you carry them the whole way.
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Old Jun 11th 2013, 10:36 pm
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Default Re: Immigrating with pets - any tips?

Nine years ago we brought our cat over with us via Virgin Atlantic in cargo flying LHR to PHL. She went from being an outside cat to an indoor cat (she still managed to regularly catch birds on our balcony) and lived a very happy life until last month when she finally left us at 17 years old. If I had my time over again I would have flown her in the cabin and taken the longer transit time by using Lufthansa, KLM etc. Leaving her behind in the UK was never an option for us.
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Old Jul 24th 2013, 4:58 am
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Default Re: Immigrating with pets - any tips?

Originally Posted by Ailidh View Post
We took Lufthansa from Geneva to Frankfurt, Frankfurt to Houston. Though one of our dogs (in the hold) died during the flight - previously discussed at length on this forum and never to be forgotten - the cats flew in the cabin with us, no problem at all. They are Siamese and noisy savages, normally rip a cat carrybag to shreds, etc., but they appeared somnolent for the whole flights - didn't want to eat, didn't want to drink, didn't need to pee. We didn't give them any tranquilizers, meds or anything. We didn't feed them before the flight. I would never have believed it was so easy to fly with cats. They didn't let out a peep and arrived ravenously hungry and eager to explore their new home. I think the altitude must slow them down or something, I had never before - and never since - seen them be so cooperative, quiet and peaceful.

Hi I am so sorry to hear that your dog died! What happened? We are getting ready to fly our 3 Chihuahua's early next year and your post just made my heart drop!
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Old Jul 24th 2013, 6:44 pm
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Default Re: Immigrating with pets - any tips?

I did not think they let animals in the Cabin on International flights?
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Old Jul 24th 2013, 7:06 pm
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Default Re: Immigrating with pets - any tips?

Originally Posted by Boiler View Post
I did not think they let animals in the Cabin on International flights?
We did this one a while back - it's airline specific. KLM definitely do.
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Old Jul 24th 2013, 8:49 pm
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Default Re: Immigrating with pets - any tips?

Originally Posted by Mr Weeze View Post
We did this one a while back - it's airline specific. KLM definitely do.
Do they!!! Where did you fly to and from.
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