Moving Abroad With Pets: Should You Bring Your Cat When You Move To A New Country?

Moving to a new house or apartment, especially in a new country, can be quite a stressful experience. If it’s hard on you, imagine how hard it can be on pets.

It’s a personal choice, but just the traveling alone is an unfamiliar and frightening experience for felines. So, before you even start planning on how to bring your kitty to a new country, let’s focus on the setbacks you might face.

Potential Issues With Moving Your Cat Abroad To A New Country

Unfamiliar Surroundings

Cats often don’t take well to new sounds, smells, objects and in many cases – to new people. Moving might cause your pet psychological, behavioral, and even health issues. The area you’re moving to could be filled with stray cats, dogs, coyotes, or other types of predators. Furthermore, some apartment buildings don’t allow pets. Is the new area safe? And if not, is it really worth it to risk your kitty’s health or mental state?

Transportation Costs

Apart from getting your cat to adjust to the moving part, you’ll also have to cover transportation costs. The costs vary depending on the type of transportation service – by car, by bus, by plane, or by a pet relocation service. Will your furball be traveling in a cargo hold? Will it be part of your checked baggage? Or will it be sitting next to you in a cage or a carrier?

Transportation costs may set you back a few hundred dollars or a few thousand (it varies wildly, but there can be a lot of unexpected costs), and they always pose a risk for your kitty. On top of that, not all transportation services allow pets on board. If you’re planning on flying with your cat, the airlines won’t allow you to sedate your furry pal for the trip.

Importation Of Pet Laws

Some countries, like Australia, for example, have extremely strict policies when it comes to importing pets. You’ll need to carefully research the rules and policies and in most cases you’ll need to microchip your cat, get a special health certificate, and even notarize your vet’s verdicts.

Worst case scenario, the new country may pose dangers such as fleas, rabies, Avian flu, and other types of diseases, which may affect your furball and trigger cat allergies, to say the least.

Timetable For Moving Your Kitty To A New Country

How long will the trip take? If you happen to hop onto a 12-hour flight, such a lengthy timetable will most definitely affect your kitty in various negative ways, including stress, dehydration, panic attacks, overheating, or even death.

How long will you be staying abroad? Is it for a few months? Or a year? Is it worth it to subject your precious kitty to the moving only to make it bear the trip back home? In such cases of short-lasting relocation it will be better to leave your pet with a trusted friend or with a family member instead of dragging it back and forth with you.

Indoor cats particularly don’t tend to like traveling. If you’re taking care of a feral cat and you want to bring it with you to a new country, it will be less of a hassle because the indoor kitty is used to the safer, calmer, and lazier indoor environment.

Nevertheless, even outdoor cats will have problems with moving, traveling, and getting used to their new surroundings. Apart from enduring the trip or getting familiar with the new home, there’s always the risk factor of losing your cat. Stressed out and frightened cats have a tendency to look for any chance to bolt. If it happens, for the rest of your life you’ll feel guilty and saddened by the fact that you let your kitty escape.

So Is There Hope?

Of course there is!

But you have to be very aware of the risks and obstacles you’ll face before you decide to do this.

I know multiple people who have moved with cats or dogs and in most cases, it went just fine. It sure costs a lot, but when you’re going international, you need to expect a variety of costs anyway, and keeping your precious feline pal around is easily worth the cost for many people.

If it’s an indoor kitty, most places will be just fine for it, although if you’re going somewhere much different in climate and lifestyle, it may still affect your indoor guy or gal. Things like different bugs getting into the house, heat, etc., can all play a role in making the move more difficult.

If you’re willing to move with your cat, you should carefully examine the pros and cons. If you decide that you can’t bring your pet and you can’t leave it with a friend or a family member, you always have the option of taking it to a cat shelter or putting it up for adoption.

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Emily Parker

Emily Parker is the Content Manager at Catological. She's passionate about helping cat parents love their cats better by providing the best information and recommendations about everything you'll need to know about your cat, from kitten to senior years. She believes natural, biologically-appropriate products are best...why wouldn't you provide the best for a member of your family?!

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