Thursday, October 27, 2011

FAQ (Traveling with cats)

For you readers out there trying to find a short list as inspiration/starting-help for your first travel with your darling feline friends, I write this post after having experienced our first travel (and stay) together. 

I will try to make this list as clear and thorough as possible, listing experience and some things to consider! I have written a post about my first experience: (Click here for the story.)

Things to consider before traveling

1a) Do my cat really need to come with me? 
If you are going on a short holiday (1-2 weeks and especially if you need to go by airplane), I would suggest that you leave your cat at home. To travel might be very stressful for your cat and not all manages well to be taken out of their usual environments/territories. So 1-2 weeks might not give them time to settle before they need to move again. 

1b) I decided not to bring them, so what are my options?
If you decide to leave the darlings at home you might have several options:

*The cats stay at home like usual: You get your amazing friends or family to look after them.
*The cats stay at home like usual: You hire a "catsitter" who come by and make sure the cats are ok.
*You leave the cats at a boarding cattery. (The most expensive)
*You board the cats at a veterinary office (The cages look small and might not be great for longer stays!)

Do an internet-search for the possibilities around your home. In Oslo for example, you can hire catsitters on Sentrum Pass. 

1b) I decide to bring them, what should I think about?
Depends on where you are going, and how! Here are some things to think about:

*Are you going abroad? Then you need to get a cat-passport. You'll need to start a rabies-vaccine regime at least 6 months before you travel. So start with that as soon as possible, talk with your vet. (If your cat passes the blood-test taken after the 120 days, you'll need to make sure your cat get a shot against rabies every year. If you forget, you will have to start it all over again.....) You will also need to check with the country you travel to, what other rules they have for bringing cats into their country. (Ticks, worm-treatments, etc.)

*Are you staying at a hotel? You'll have to find a hotel who permit guests to bring cats! Make sure they know about this before arriving. (Write an email or phone them to make sure it will not be a problem). I had to pay about 35£ (400 NOK) extra for cleaning of the room after I left, which I knew of before arriving. (Also had an agreement that I would pay for any damages made.) I have seen that many hotels mentions if they allow animals or not on their website (or on sites like: etc), but please contact them anyway!

*How will you travel, and what about carriers? There are some differences on how you choose to travel, but if you go by air there is in theory only vari-kennel who are the universally accepted carrier on all airlines. You might get accepted with another type of carrier at some airports, but then again you might very well be denied on others. So be certain you have a correct one! If you go by car you can see what type of carrier your cat likes, (to have full view, or to hide in a little "cave", etc). If by car it can be any brand of carrier. But DON'T put them in a cardbox with holes, you might get a nasty surprise when your cat bounces around in your car, pooping all over after having clawed his way through the box like it was butter! 

Watch this nice video about bringing pets on your vacation: (and explanation on rabies-vaccinations etc).

*It costs extra to bring pets! The airlines charges differently, but there is most definite a fee. So take that into consideration. (In Norway, Widerø is the cheapest airline).


Things to bring: 

- Litterbox
- Some litterpearl
- Favourite toys
- Feliway
- Nail scissors (to minimize damage they could do)
- Small scratching post (my cats loved their travel-sized one)

- Ear cleaner + cottonpads. (At least if you have Sphynx & Devon Rex ;)
- A few days rations of catfood (then buy more when you get there)
- Vari-kennel crate for transport (or a Sherpa-bag if you get your cat in the cabin).
- Drinking bowl
- Food bowl
- Floor protector

Other things I would recommend: 

- If you travel by air; MARK the carrier with your name and telephone number! (When the airline lost track of my Amadeus this was essential! Read about the experience here!)

- Bring Feliway! (To spray in the carriers before leaving, and spray several places in the hotelroom to make them feel safer! It doesn't smell anything for our human noses.)

- If your cat likes to play with water (like my Christa) put the drinking bowl in the shower to save the floor ;)

- At the airport: Get there early to prevent your cat (and you!) from getting more stressed than necessary. For example: If you are to bring a cat inside the cabin you will need to go through security with it. This means that you will have to send your normal stuff through the x-ray, then the soft-sided carrier and then you will have to carry your cat through the metal-detectors.

Do you have any questions or other advice I could add?
Please feel free to comment :D

Bon Voyage!
Safe Journey!

Some links on cat-traveling
Cat Health (How to travel)

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