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Old 11.04.2013, 03:35
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Bringing cat from the US

I'm trying to find out for sure what I need to bring our cat to Switzerland from the US. It seems like she just needs a rabies vaccine (at least 30 days no more than 1 yr) and a certified health form, and a microchip.

It's the form I'm having trouble finding. I know it's different than what the US uses. It's called EU Form 998. The only place I can find it is at pettravel.com for a fee - can anyone tell me if this is the only way to get it?

And then I have to have it certified in several different places in the US before we leave? I'm trying to figure out how we do all of this since the form has to be signed within 10 days of travel?

Anyone that has moved cats from the US in the last 6 months, I'd love some advice! Our expected move date is sometime in May/June so I need to get this figured out soon. She is having her rabies on Sat so that part will be taken care of.

Any advice on traveling with a cat that freaks out easily would be great too - we want to take her in the cabin with us if possible but I'm worried about how to get her through security (she won't let us hold her for more than a few seconds) and how to keep her from meowing the whole time.

Are we there yet?!
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Old 11.04.2013, 08:55
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Re: Bringing cat from the US

I brought my cat almost 3 year ago. At that time I needed a health inspection by my vet, a current rabies vaccine, a new microchip with more digits, and a second health inspection by the local USDA vet for the animal export paperwork.

I flew over on British Air, they were happy to tell me what forms I would need for customs and where I could find them.

After a quick call to the USDA, they were able to confirm what BA said, as well as mentioning an extra form. They even supplied me with all the paperwork.

It's not too bad. On arrival the folks here didn't even blink. Well they did want to take him (the cat) out; but, that's just because they wanted to play with him for a bit.
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Old 11.04.2013, 09:05
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Re: Bringing cat from the US

Here's some useful threads you might want to read:

Advice on importing my cats into Switzerland

Budget for cats in Zurich

Bringing cats to Switzerland

Recent travel experience - cats from USA to Zurich

Bringing cats from U.S.

US-CH Cats on airplanes

A simple search on the site will turn up this and a lot more. Good luck on your move!
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Old 11.04.2013, 10:57
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Re: Bringing cat from the US

And whatever you do make sure that your cat is micro-chipped before the vaccination, otherwise it isn't valid and will have to be done again! This can be dangerous for your cat and any delays could also mess up your cat's travel plans.

Also make sure that the chip is one that can be read by European micro-chip readers, the US uses a different kind. If they put in a US one, you'll need to bring a compatible reader with you so Customs can check the chip. Again, if they can't your cat will not be allowed into the country and will be sent back to where it came from!
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Old 11.04.2013, 11:26
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Re: Bringing cat from the US

Don't pay for the form! That's just a scam. Here's what you need:

http://www.bvet.admin.ch/themen/0161...x.html?lang=en

As has been mentioned, the USDA Vet Office is pretty helpful. Do you have an office nearby? They should be able to give you all the forms you need, and walk you through the process.

And you can bring the cat on the plane with you--just call the airline and tell them you're bringing it (I'm not sure if they even care) and then the carrier counts as your carry-on.

If you have any more questions, feel free to PM me--I brought our cats over 6 months ago.
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Old 11.04.2013, 11:38
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Re: Bringing cat from the US

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Don't pay for the form! That's just a scam. Here's what you need:

http://www.bvet.admin.ch/themen/0161...x.html?lang=en

As has been mentioned, the USDA Vet Office is pretty helpful. Do you have an office nearby? They should be able to give you all the forms you need, and walk you through the process.

And you can bring the cat on the plane with you--just call the airline and tell them you're bringing it (I'm not sure if they even care) and then the carrier counts as your carry-on.

If you have any more questions, feel free to PM me--I brought our cats over 6 months ago.
I brought my cats 1.5 years ago, and there are some things to note:

You need the forms stamped by the USDA (there's a US form, which will be important when you return, as well as a Swiss/EU form which is important now), and they usually won't do the stamping unless your paperwork is complete (I drove from Jacksonville to Gainesville, FL, the closest USDA office at about 1:15 travel time each way, to find out I had neglected a form).

Each airline has specific requirements for small-animal carry-ons. We flew via Delta, and they required soft-sided with specific dimensions, so the carry-ons would fit under the seat below. Delta also charged $100 per animal to bring them into the cabin, and they counted as 1 carry on each.

Traveling is stressful on the animals, so work out a plan with your vet for what you are going to do to minimize this stress. Whether this involves homeopathy, sedatives, or what else is up to you. Bring a water bowl and a food bowl in your carry-on luggage as well as some food (pref 2-3 days worth). Also bring an interim litter box, as it was easy to get litter, but not everyplace that sells litter also sells the boxes. This way, your cat(s) can be fed and happy, while you're able to get over the jet-lag without having to find the nearest pet supply store.
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Old 11.04.2013, 12:08
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Re: Bringing cat from the US

Good ideas from Jobsrobertsharlii, but I would add a word of caution about this one point.

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sedatives.
Just a note.. many veterinarians recommend against the use of sedatives while flying, and many airlines will not allow an animal to fly if sedated.


Speak to your vet, and as always, double check the airline's animal travel policy.
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Old 02.06.2013, 22:49
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Re: Bringing cat from the US

Trying to book our flights and get our cat here and I'm running into issues. Has anyone sent cats as cargo? United has a Pet Safe program but when I talked to the agent she said that pets have to be received in Zurich through a broker to clear customs, ACE Pet Moving - did anyone else have to do this? Is this just because she wouldn't be in cabin? Ugghh.
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Old 02.06.2013, 23:07
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Re: Bringing cat from the US

I brought my cat in the cabin with me (in a carrier), and I was able to walk with her from the flight directly to the luggage pickup area and then directly through customs, where they did a quick one-minute check of her paperwork and chip and then let me pass through.

I actually found it to be really easy to have her on the plane with me. She stayed in her soft carrier underneath the seat in front of me and didn't meow or anything. I'd just stick my hand in there every once in a while to pet her and reassure her that she's okay, give her a treat, etc. I also put a puppy training pad in the bottom of the carrier.

When I was planning my move here, I found the Swiss Federal Veterinary Office (SFVO) to be extremely helpful. I had e-mailed them to make sure I was doing everything right. Here's their contact info, in case it helps anyone else:

SWISS FEDERAL VETERINARY OFFICE (SFVO):
Schwarzenburgstrasse 155
CH -3003 Berne;
Fax nr. +41-31/324 82 56
Tel. nr. +41-31/323 85 24
Email: import.export@bvet.admin.ch
Web site: www.bvet.admin.ch
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Old 05.06.2013, 08:09
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Re: Bringing cat from the US

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Trying to book our flights and get our cat here and I'm running into issues. Has anyone sent cats as cargo? United has a Pet Safe program but when I talked to the agent she said that pets have to be received in Zurich through a broker to clear customs, ACE Pet Moving - did anyone else have to do this? Is this just because she wouldn't be in cabin? Ugghh.
When I moved here three years ago I sent my large dog (100 lbs) as cargo and didn't require a broker to clear customs!!! We flew on Delta ...

As long as there's room for the pet on the plane you should be able to take the cat in the cabin. I believe there's a restriction on how many pets are allowed in the cabin possibly.

PM me if you have any specific questions. Be happy to help
Sue
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Old 05.06.2013, 11:05
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Re: Bringing cat from the US

Quote:
Trying to book our flights and get our cat here and I'm running into issues. Has anyone sent cats as cargo? United has a Pet Safe program but when I talked to the agent she said that pets have to be received in Zurich through a broker to clear customs, ACE Pet Moving - did anyone else have to do this? Is this just because she wouldn't be in cabin? Ugghh.
Yes. We sent our cat as cargo from U.S. to Switzerland on United and ACE Pet Moving received him in Zurich. ACE was the best part of the whole experience. They were on top of things. Dealing with the airline, on the other hand, was a nightmare.

The following advice is based on my experience using Pet Safe in July 2012.
  • Make sure your paperwork is in order.
  • Do not give your cat sedatives before the flight or Pet Safe won't take her.
  • Make sure you get to the airport EARLY. In our case, the cargo drop-off was very hard to find. Once we got there, they filled out even more forms ... in triplicate ... on a Selectric typewriter ... slowly. All paperwork needs to be ready by the designated deadline or the computer will lock you out and the cat will no longer make the flight.
  • Make sure the kennel is the right size for your cat.
  • A food dish and water dish must be securely attached to the kennel. They must be accessible from the outside of the kennel. One of our dishes broke during check-in at the airport. Fortunately, we had duct tape in the car and we were able to repair it but by then my stress level had gone through the roof.
  • Double-check this info: If I remember correctly, the cat has to arrive in Zurich only on certain days (weekdays?) because a vet needs to be on duty to clear her. You might want to ask ACE this question instead of United.

Quote:
Traveling is stressful on the animals, so work out a plan with your vet for what you are going to do to minimize this stress. Whether this involves homeopathy, sedatives, or what else is up to you.
Check with the airline. In July 2012, Pet Safe would not take an animal that had been sedated.

Quote:
As long as there's room for the pet on the plane you should be able to take the cat in the cabin.
When we traveled, United did not allow animals in cabin on flights to Europe. The only option was cargo.

Footnote: In May 2013 our cat traveled back to the U.S on Swiss and it was a piece of cake. No paperwork required whatsoever and no hassle. We had a health certificate and vaccination records just in case, but no one ever looked at them. I was shocked at how easy it was.
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Old 05.06.2013, 12:22
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Re: Bringing cat from the US

my advice.

Please dont pay anyone $3,000-6,000 to relocate your cat.

You can do this for a very low cost, and its empowering to learn how to do it.

I did it myself after looking at the links given above.

Good luck, dont fall to the fear, rise above it.

Tip: Choose direct flights where possible
Tip: Secure space early, some flights have cargo lockout dates, also certain airlines have ''pet'' seats reserved. I know Swiss air had certain seats for under the seat storage. We just placed both dog and cat in the cargo hold.
Tip: Keep your little friend safe, stuff does move in the cargo hold
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Old 05.06.2013, 12:57
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Re: Bringing cat from the US

Back in July 2012 we did not have to pay separately for ACE's services. It was included in the price United/PetSafe quoted us for transporting the cat from the U.S. to Zurich. The bill from United/PetSafe was around $560.

In May 2013, the cost to ship the cat in cargo from Zurich to the U.S. via Swiss was less than CHF 400.

We were so pleased with ACE that we originally contacted them for the return trip to the U.S. They quoted us CHF 1500. It seemed a bit steep so decided not to use them. As nice and efficient as the people at ACE are, it would have been a huge waste of money to use them because the whole process was so easy with Swiss.
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Old 10.06.2013, 14:13
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Re: Bringing cat from the US

I brought my three cats over in December with british airways.

I needed to get my cats microchipped and an updated rabies shot. This cost about $800 for all three of my cats.
I than needed to buy these massive carriers because they can not go on the plane with you.
It cost about $1800 for the three of my cats to be flown over.
Just so you know, you won't get them when you land. They need to be kept with british airways (for some reason?) over night and than you have to go to the loading warehouse for your airline the next day ($20CHF) to pick up your cat.

Even though it cost me almost 3000 to bring my cats here, I wouldn't think twice about it even knowing I will have to pay the same fees in 2 years.
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Old 10.06.2013, 15:56
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Re: Bringing cat from the US

We are bringing our cat July 1, and booked flights with Condor. She can come in the cabin with that airline, and the ticket prices were OK, too. We paid about $50 per person for extra legroom as it is a budget airline. We booked online, then called them to add the cat. We then had to call Swiss separately to book her onto the transfer flight in Frankfurt, again in the cabin. Total cost about $200 for the cat.
We had a hard time finding an airline that was affordable for both us and the cat. British airways wanted her in the hold and a minimum 4 hour layover in London, but then the vet office in Zurich is only open until 3 pm, so that did not work, would then have to stay overnight in Zurich. Much easier to find an airline that will let you take her in the cabin, and no need to buy a huge crate.
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Old 10.06.2013, 16:43
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Re: Bringing cat from the US

Thanks everyone!!!

We've decided to take her in the cabin -on United. I'll post about the ordeal, I mean wonderfully easy experience after we arrive!!
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Old 27.06.2013, 11:51
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Re: Bringing cat from the US

Wow. Way easier than I expected. We have TSA Pre so security leaving the US took less than 5 minutes. She did great. Only me owed a few times. Basically just slept the whole time. Clearing customs was also a breeze. I gave him the papers, he scanned for her chip and we were on our way -no cost even! And now she's doing great.
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Old 27.06.2013, 13:18
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Re: Bringing cat from the US

Great news and great pic bearbadger. It certainly looks like she's at home here. Hope you all enjoy your new life in Switzerland.
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