Traveling with Pets

Miss Zoey

Zoey hiding as usual

I had a request to write up a blog about traveling with pets so here is the little wisdom I’ve acquired over the last few months. Since I am at a border post I had the option of throwing the cats in the car with me. About a week before I left I took the cats to the vet and decided that since they couldn’t deal with a 20 minute ride to the vet, a cross country car ride wasn’t going to happen. Yes, I said cats. As a few of my colleagues have pointed out the name of my blog is technically inaccurate. Last March I went to the pet store to get a cat carrier for Belize for the trip down. I did get the carrier but they were having an adoption event for a local shelter, so it came out with a cat in it. Apparently though having 2 cats in the foreign service brands you as a bona fide  “crazy cat lady.” I suppose though since  “cat” is in the name of my blog title, that probably qualifies me as a crazy cat lady regardless of the number of cats I have. I jokingly call Zoey my shame kitty since she hasn’t appeared on my blog yet and she always hides when I have company, but she is a fabulous kitty (that’s her tail peaking out from under the couch).

Back to the traveling with pets. I decided rather than drive with the cats I would ship them. My vet did not recommend drugging the kitties for travel, so prepping them for travel involved mostly shoving them in carriers and getting their “Certificate of Good Heath.” Officially they need the certificate to enter Mexico, but if anyone is driving in to Mexico I would be stunned if you or your pets actually got inspected. I think it is different if you fly. If you pet is going on a plane though, you need the certificate to get them on the plane, so in my case it wasn’t wasted effort. I flew them out American Airlines (before the incident last month). I was lucky, my father took care of them for a few weeks and then shipped them down for me once they I was settled. There is a heat restriction on flying with animals. They won’t fly them out if any part of your journey is projected to go over 85 degrees. For that reason my cats flew at night. They left Maryland at 4pm and arrived at 11pm. There was an option as well to overnight them in Dallas if it was still too hot when they arrived. Then they would have flown out early they next morning. They won’t book the flights more than 48 hours before you want them to fly because they want a reasonably accurate weather forecast. I’ve also hear continental is pretty good and has an air conditioned cargo hold for pets, but they didn’t fly into an airport near me. Overall the process was pretty smooth. They one real trick is that your certificate of good health is only good for 10 days, so you have to time it carefully to make sure it doesn’t expire before your travel.

6 Responses to “Traveling with Pets”


  • I am honored to have met the Shame Kitty — she hides for company!? She has a very cute tail.

  • I just got a Juarez assignment on Friday, can’t wait to meet everyone sometime in late April/early May. Hope to be in touch to get your impressions and advice!
    Ryan Miller
    155th A-100

  • Welcome to Team Juarez! Despite the challenges of being in Juarez it really is a great post and fantastic group of people. I’m really enjoying my tour! If there are any questions you have about Juarez feel free to shoot me an e-mail, I’m Lisa at covehurst.net. Looking forward to meeting you in a few months!

  • Thanks for the post about traveling with pets. I am currently working on coordinating vet appointments and food/litter shipments for my cat, and its nice to know other people do it too! I’m also extremely impressed that you managed to ship two cats and keep your sanity! I’d like another, but I’m not brave enough yet. 🙂

  • I think I had a it a bit easier on the shipping since it was all domestic. Good luck with the vet appointments, it is certainly a pain to try to get the timing right for international shipping but it is worth it to have the fuzz balls here! If I had been going father away I probably wouldn’t have gotten the second cat on the theory that I could stick Belize under the seat of the airplane. Next tour should be interesting since I now have 2… I’ll probably be looking for advice on the international shipping from you then! 😉

  • Crazy cat lady at two cats… uh-oh, I have three!
    Thank you for posting this advice. I’m currently awaiting my security clearances for an OMS position, but it could be pretty soon and our register moves fast. So… I’m investigating anything I can on moving large amounts of felines to points unknown.

    How are your cats doing and do you have access to all sorts of necessary kitty things (good food, litter etc…)

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