The most heartbreaking part of the relocation so far was getting our beloved Coco cat to the USA. There is a lot to keep in mind when you are relocating your cat. In our case that meant from Germany to the USA. Here is a list of what we did:
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Call the airline to make sure you can take the cat!
The minute I had M's flight data, I called Delta/KLM to arrange everything for Coco's flight. They have to confirm everything. Since the trip was Nuremberg -> Amsterdam -> Atlanta -> Little Rock, there were quite a few flights that needed confirmation. I would really suggest calling them as soon as you know the date of travel and flight number(s).
Usually they ask if you want to put your cat in the cargo section, or if it is allowed in the cabin. In our case there was no other way than taking her on the coach, and I was really happy about that. Knowing Coco would be in the cargo for more than 17 hours would have broken my heart.
What's the best pet carrier?
I did a whole lot of research on this one. Since I knew M had to take Coco on the plane, there weren't many options. We decided to get the "SturdiBag Large". It is airline approved and lighter than most other carriers. This is important as well since all airlines have a weight restriction for pets traveling in the cabin. The airlines will most likely weigh your cat in the carrier at the counter, so the lighter the pet carrier, the better.
I built up the "SturdiBag" as soon as it arrived in the mail, so Coco used it as her little hideaway. She loved it from day one! For safety reasons I put a padded changing mat on the bottom and her favorite fleece blanket on top of it. M told me later she didn't pee or poop during the whole flight though. But anyways - safety first!
M had to squeeze the bag to make it fit under the seat in front of him. Coco would have had enough room anyways, but the flight attendants on all 3 flights were so nice to let him put the carrier either on a seat next to him, or aisle. So Coco and M made it across the big pond in one piece, safe and sound.
Is the cat healthy enough?
Coco had her vet appointment about 4 weeks before the trip. She needed a checkup, 3 shots, and a passport. I never knew something like this even existed! But yes, my cat is now a proud passport holder of the EU! Coco was a true rock star at the vet practice. She wasn't even complaining when her mean mama decided to get her chipped as well. Just a little "shhhhhhhhhhhhhh" and that was it!
A few more things to keep in mind:
You will have to take the cat out of the carrier while going through security check. A collar and leash came in handy in this situation. Another option would be asking for a seperate room while they check the carrier. Believe me, they will do it. No one wants a wild cat running around an airport!
You are not allowed to put the cat on any tranquilizers! If you do so, they might refuse to take the cat on board! What we were using to prepare Coco for the flight was "Dr Bach Rescue Remedy" - for pets. We put it in her water and on the morning of the flight mixed it up with some liquid cat candy.
And the most important thing: Stop feeding the cat 12 hours before takeoff! Otherwise it might vomit and choke, and we don't want that!!!
My blogging friend Juanita was by my (Facebook-)side all through the preparations and answered every question I had.