Transporting Cats Around the World: A Conversation with Marcela Fae
Tell us about yourself! What do you do when you’re not traveling the world? Where are some of the places you’ve traveled with your pet?
I’m a full time travel blogger, so whenever I’m not away I’m exploring Berlin, writing on my blog and doing some photos. And I don’t travel with my pets: I move from city to city with them.
What was the process like for transporting cats? What did the destination require you to do?
From NYC to Sao Paulo was the easiest. The USA is super chill compared to Brazil and the EU. Both of them needed a vet to testify that my cats were in good shape and their vaccinations were 100% up to date. But the EU also demands a microchip, a quarantine (in your house, don’t worry) of 90 days prior to the boarding of the animals, and some more info.
What were the expenses associated with transporting your cats?
You have to think not only about the normal vet costs, but also the costs of translating some of the paperwork, the microchip, airline fees, an authorization from a government approved vet to check and approve your little ones, special exams, extra vaccinations and a special box to take them in. For three cats moving from Brazil to Germany, the total costs of everything was €3000.
What sorts of obstacles, if any, did you run into?
The German Embassy lied to us, and if it hadn’t been for an online research and the help of a professional in the area, our cats would not be with us. Because the embassy gave us completely false information – for some reason that I still don’t fully understand – our cats had to stay in Brazil almost four months longer than us. We moved to Berlin in March, and they arrived at the end of June. The embassy told us several times that quarantine was not necessary and we should not worry, but the truth was the opposite.
And also, based on a friend’s experiences, airline companies also lie about the rules and shapes and sizes of the transport box. My advice here is to get everything in an email or record somehow the conversation (so you have proof for later), and always double-check the information online or with another person working on the airline/embassy/wherever. I had one friend who missed a flight to Los Angeles because the airline said the box had to be a certain size, but when my friend checked in the numbers were completely different. And there was no place in the whole airport that could sell her a box that matched the measurements of that specific airline.
What are some tips you’d give to others interested in traveling with their pets?
Pets usually hate to travel, so make it as comfortable as you can for them. And do not give them anything to sedate them. This can do more harm than good since your pet can suffocate with its tongue, or something can happen to its heart.
Help them get used to the transport box weeks before by putting some old t-shirt inside with your smell, things like this.
Is there anything else you’d like to share about your experiences?
I know how much of a pain in the ass it is to travel with your pet to another country, but abandoning your pet is never the answer.