Dear Christopher Cat: We are moving to Central America in the fall with our cat, Katrina. What do we need to know?
Christopher Responds: The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture has a website to help you: www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/pet-travel.
The APHIS Pet Travel website explains the regulations governing pet travel between states and between the U.S. and other countries. It’s easy to determine what’s necessary to move Katrina to her new home; simply visit the website, choose your destination country from the drop-down menu, and click View Requirements.
The destination country determines what regulations apply to importing an animal into their country. So, just to be sure, contact the consulate of your destination country and your airline to see if any additional requirements apply.
At minimum, you’ll need to have a veterinarian conduct a physical exam and document in a health certificate that Katrina has no contagious diseases. Her rabies vaccination should be current, too.
It’s also important to accustom Katrina to traveling in her carrier. Start now by feeding her there, and add a fluffy towel or bed cushion to encourage her to sleep there.
Spray Feliway, a comforting pheromone, in her carrier, and take her for rides in the car so she learns to relax during travel.
If she has any medical conditions, your veterinarian can advise you about the additional care she’ll need while traveling