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Taking my cat from London to Maryland?

Taking my cat from London to Maryland?

Old Feb 14th 2011, 9:19 am
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Default Taking my cat from London to Maryland?

Hello everyone

Apologies if this has been asked elsewhere. The answer seems to be eluding me...

I have a bit of a dilemma: A few years ago a stray cat adopted me (rather than the other way round) and is very much part of my life. He's an adult tabby, perfectly healthy and well-adjusted. All good there...

HOwever, I've since met the man I want to spend the rest of my life with, who lives in the States. Ideally I would like to bring my cat with me when I move there later on this year (assuming all goes well with the K1 application), but am worried that the travelling experience will be too traumatic for him. I'm receiving some conflicting advice in this area, so would be very grateful for some clarity.

Has anyone had experience in this area? What would be the best way to go about this I were to take him with me?

Many thanks in advance for constructive responses, and happy Valentine's Day to you all!

Sazza xx
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Old Feb 14th 2011, 11:29 am
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Default Re: Taking my cat from London to Maryland?

Originally Posted by Sazza Rugrat View Post
Hello everyone

Apologies if this has been asked elsewhere. The answer seems to be eluding me...

I have a bit of a dilemma: A few years ago a stray cat adopted me (rather than the other way round) and is very much part of my life. He's an adult tabby, perfectly healthy and well-adjusted. All good there...

HOwever, I've since met the man I want to spend the rest of my life with, who lives in the States. Ideally I would like to bring my cat with me when I move there later on this year (assuming all goes well with the K1 application), but am worried that the travelling experience will be too traumatic for him. I'm receiving some conflicting advice in this area, so would be very grateful for some clarity.

Has anyone had experience in this area? What would be the best way to go about this I were to take him with me?

Many thanks in advance for constructive responses, and happy Valentine's Day to you all!

Sazza xx
We just shipped our cat as cargo to New York. We used Pet Air UK (www.petairuk.com) who were very good and who got her on the same flightas us. It's not cheap though. We went for their "gold" service and it came to about £900 in total, including the actual shipping, crate, paperwork etc. You might be able to do it cheaper if you D-I-Y some aspects, and I believe one or two of the US carriers let you bring a cat in a small carrier as hand baggage in the cabin. We didn't think this was practical for a transatlantic flight.

Some points to note:

You'll almost certainly need to get your cat rabies jabs. This is a state-by-state rather than federal requirement but your shipper such as Pet Air will advise what's required. We got our cat a UK pet passport to cover this requirement.

Very important: whichever shipper or airline you choose, you need to have established a business relationship with them (asking for a quote counts) at least 30 days before you and the cat fly - this is a security regulation.

Expect to spend time getting the cat through customs: in our case we had to go to the airline's cargo handlers to get the paperwork, go to US customs to have it electronically "stamped" and back to the handlers to get the cat. Two things to note: put both your names on the shipping paperwork when you make your booking - if you only put one name, ONLY that person can deal with US customs. Secondly expect to have to pay a small cash fee to the handlers (which can't be paid up front through the shippers) to release the cat. $40 in our case.

So quite an involved process but our cat too was a stray who adopted us so we couldn't leave her behind either. Good luck!
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Old Feb 14th 2011, 12:13 pm
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Default Re: Taking my cat from London to Maryland?

Originally Posted by rpjs View Post
We just shipped our cat as cargo to New York. We used Pet Air UK (www.petairuk.com) who were very good and who got her on the same flightas us. It's not cheap though. We went for their "gold" service and it came to about £900 in total, including the actual shipping, crate, paperwork etc. You might be able to do it cheaper if you D-I-Y some aspects, and I believe one or two of the US carriers let you bring a cat in a small carrier as hand baggage in the cabin. We didn't think this was practical for a transatlantic flight.

Some points to note:

You'll almost certainly need to get your cat rabies jabs. This is a state-by-state rather than federal requirement but your shipper such as Pet Air will advise what's required. We got our cat a UK pet passport to cover this requirement.

Very important: whichever shipper or airline you choose, you need to have established a business relationship with them (asking for a quote counts) at least 30 days before you and the cat fly - this is a security regulation.

Expect to spend time getting the cat through customs: in our case we had to go to the airline's cargo handlers to get the paperwork, go to US customs to have it electronically "stamped" and back to the handlers to get the cat. Two things to note: put both your names on the shipping paperwork when you make your booking - if you only put one name, ONLY that person can deal with US customs. Secondly expect to have to pay a small cash fee to the handlers (which can't be paid up front through the shippers) to release the cat. $40 in our case.

So quite an involved process but our cat too was a stray who adopted us so we couldn't leave her behind either. Good luck!
Thank you for that very detailed response and practical points - just what I needed to know!

I've looked at the Pet Air website and requested a quote.

Once again, many thanks!
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Old Feb 14th 2011, 12:46 pm
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Default Re: Taking my cat from London to Maryland?

We used Petair UK in Sept last year to transport a Cat that we had adopted from the Cats Protection league about 4 months before (her previous owner, an old lady had died). We didnt know we were going to the US when we went to get her......

We consulted with our vet and he said the long term "mental" anguish of being "returned" to the CPL after already loosing one owner would be greater than a days flying. Petair were great - we used the Silver service as we had a good relationship with our very good vet and he knew what checks/paperwork was needed in the UK so we didn't pay for the Gold.

When we opened the very well made travel box at the new house in CT she was straight out and sniffing around and to be honest (I'm sure it wasn't the best experience for her) but she didn't really seem to care and just got on with exploring the new surroundings and then settling down for some food.

It's your choice but I think its better to bring the Cat to the US instead of dropping her/him off at a rescue centre which must be traumatic for them over several days, months and perhaps years - but I'm not sure of your circumstances. We had a friend whose cat spent most of their time at the neighbours so when they emigrated they left the cat as he liked them more LOL

Re flight times - my wife (with the cat) was due to land at 8pm US time but was delayed, and this meant we had to rush around to US customs to pay the fee and then back to the cargo area (by the way its not that easy to find so give yourself plenty of time) before the 10 / 10.30 close time at the cargo area to pick the cat up. If we were doing it again we would definitely fly a lot earlier in the day. The cargo area didn't look like the kind of place that would stay open just for someone to pick up their cat and I would hate to think of the cat being there over night with potentially no food.

Last edited by NSBlake; Feb 14th 2011 at 1:55 pm. Reason: Adding re flight time
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Old Feb 14th 2011, 1:44 pm
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Default Re: Taking my cat from London to Maryland?

Another recommendation for PetAir UK - we used them to bring our cat over last year at a cost of around £650 plus vets fees for certificates (would have been about 1k if we let PetAir do all the vet certificates, we used our vet instead). I did get cheaper quotes but didn't really have much confidence in the other companies. I was terrified the whole time that he was in the air but he arrived fine, was a bit subdued for a few weeks (but he never lost his appetite so I think he was just trying to make us feel bad ).

See also this thread here:

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

Bear in mind that some airlines will not fly pets during the hottest months of the year. Bear in mind also that cats do not understand time differences and will wake you up at 2am for several months after arriving because they are determined that it's breakfast time

Even if rabies is not required for your particular state you should arrange that, and heartworm medication when you get here - even if the cat will be an indoor cat they can still get heartworm.

Last edited by NatashaB; Feb 14th 2011 at 1:46 pm.
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Old Feb 14th 2011, 4:31 pm
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Default Re: Taking my cat from London to Maryland?

If your cat is healthy and the airline and pet carrier company are reputable there's no reason to believe your cat won't make it. Ours spent eighteen hours straight in his carrier travelling from London to Seattle, Washington and while he had some cranky meows to give us when we saw him again, within a couple of days he seemed to have forgotten the entire experience, and he is clearly enjoying his new life in the states.

We used Pet Exports UK and it cost about 600 pounds all told, including shots and vet checkups - of that, we paid 340 pounds to the exporter for the cat flight and treatment. He flew in the hold on our BA flight with us. DH blogged about our arrival day and mentions the cat's condition at the start and end of the entry, and more cat stuff on the following day's entry as well.
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Old Feb 14th 2011, 6:37 pm
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Default Re: Taking my cat from London to Maryland?

Wow - thank you rpjs, NS Blake, NatashaB and Avanutria for all the helpful advice, tips and links to blogs and other threads. I feel significantly more informed!

I do have the option of leaving the cat with my parents or sister, but this is very much a last resort option and I would very much like to bring him with me. Now I have all this information I think I can do it!

Many thanks

Sazza
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Old Feb 14th 2011, 6:42 pm
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Default Re: Taking my cat from London to Maryland?

Originally Posted by Sazza Rugrat View Post
Hello everyone

Apologies if this has been asked elsewhere. The answer seems to be eluding me...

I have a bit of a dilemma: A few years ago a stray cat adopted me (rather than the other way round) and is very much part of my life. He's an adult tabby, perfectly healthy and well-adjusted. All good there...

HOwever, I've since met the man I want to spend the rest of my life with, who lives in the States. Ideally I would like to bring my cat with me when I move there later on this year (assuming all goes well with the K1 application), but am worried that the travelling experience will be too traumatic for him. I'm receiving some conflicting advice in this area, so would be very grateful for some clarity.

Has anyone had experience in this area? What would be the best way to go about this I were to take him with me?

Many thanks in advance for constructive responses, and happy Valentine's Day to you all!

Sazza xx
Your cat may be able to travel in the cabin with you. Search through Chartreuse's posts...his cat travelled in the cabin from the UK to Texas.

Last edited by Jerseygirl; Feb 14th 2011 at 7:14 pm. Reason: spelling
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Old Feb 14th 2011, 7:13 pm
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Default Re: Taking my cat from London to Maryland?

If you are going to get your cat vaccinated for rabies, I'd recommend starting the Pet Passport process.

I believe in fairy tales but if you get to the US and either a) realise your prince is actually a toad or b) realise you can't stand the US and want to go home, the last worry you want is to have to start the PETS process in the States and wait 6 months before your cat is allowed to enter the UK w/out quarantine.
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Old Feb 15th 2011, 12:12 pm
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Default Re: Taking my cat from London to Maryland?

Thanks for the tip Jerseygirl. Happy to do whatever makes the journey more pleasant for him.

Dunroving - yup, I'm very much a glass-is-half-empty person so will look into the PET Scheme too!

Many thanks

Sazza
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