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Old 14.02.2011, 16:11
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Bringing cats from U.S.

Hello pet lovers ... I need some advice:

Our biggest predicament so far regarding moving to CH revolves around our cats. They are 14 years old and I am wondering whether to bring them or leave them with my parents, which also wouldn't be the perfect solution. We have a good vet who has taken care of many pet "exports," so I am not worried about the paperwork, but I am VERY worried about the flight, especially at their age. Has someone had experience doing this? How did the cat handle such a long flight? We know someone who did this with an older cat and he died a few days later .
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Old 14.02.2011, 16:29
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Re: Bringing cats from U.S.

Joy, I understand your worries as I am currently trying to figure out how to take my ancient mutt in the other direction.

First off, having moved my dogs around the world many times I am of the belief that my pets are always better off with me. Losing the family who love you, adjusting to a new life - especially in the twilight years - is far more stressful for our pets than 12 or so hours of flying would be. So I would try to bring your cats along, assuming the vet OKs them to travel.

How big are your cats? If each cats plus carrier are under 8 kg (airline dependent), you can take them in the cabin - so no worries about the discomfort/dangers of cargo.

If each cat plus carrier weighs more than 8kg (airline dependent), then it has to be cargo. If that is the case, I would use a professional pet shipper to plan and oversee your travel. While I have not needed a shipper recently, I've corresponded with this gentleman, and came away with a very good impression of his service:


If your cats absolutely cannot fly, perhaps crossing the pond by boat may be an option? This is what I am currently trying to coordinate:

Transatlantic travel by ship - with pets?


There are several threads about moving cats and other pets - have a bit of a search, you'll find reassurance reading other people's stories.


I hope you can bring cats with you - having your friends around makes settling into your new home so much easier. I would have been lost here without the muttley crew.

All the best.
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Old 14.02.2011, 16:34
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Re: Bringing cats from U.S.

We brought our then 11 year old cat with us from the States just about three years ago. He handled the flight like a champ...came out from the bulk luggage pick-up in the Zurich Airport happy to see us, but a little surprised at what he had just been through.

We flew direct from Washington, D.C., and didn't give the cat any tranquilizers, as we had been advised by our vet against giving our cat tranquilizers, because they wouldn't last the duration of the ~6 hour flight, and that waking up in an airplane groggy from tranquilizers would be harder on him than experiencing the flight without tranquilizers.

We did put our cat in cargo rather than carrying him onboard with us. He's a loud meow-er when it comes to travel, and we figured that our fellow passengers and flight crew would not appreciate that for the flight.

That's our story, but here are some tips:

1. Book a direct flight if it is at all possible. It is worth the extra money to avoid an extra flight leg and extra discomfort for the kitty. If you cannot fly direct, do not fly through the U.K. (they have different and specific guidelines, so it's best just to avoid that).

2. Verify the exact charges and specifications (including what types of carriers are allowed, and what is allowed in the carrier) with the airline with which you want to fly. I believe that they can only accept a certain number of pets per flight, so it's best to get your cats on the list earlier rather than later.

3. Share your flight details with your vet, so she can advise you specifically with regards to what your cats would need for that sort of arrangement.

If I can remember anything else from three years ago, I'll be sure to update.

I hope this helps. If you have any specific questions, just let me know.
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